Solve Your Clients’ Problems by Getting Surreal

by Cynthia Morris

When I first heard of the surrealists, I loved their creative use of juxtaposition. Known for pairing disparate elements and showcasing items out of context, the surrealist movement pushed art from known, accepted expectations to new approaches and ways of thinking. The surrealists sought to free people from stodgy thinking and restrictive customs.

Coaching appealed to me for its similar mission to liberate people’s fullest potential. The surrealists also have a lesson for coaches in business – the art of juxtaposing different elements to create something new. Coaches pair their expertise, for example with finances, parenting or creativity, with coaching concepts to generate new solutions for old problems.

Bringing my interests together in new ways to solve the problems my clients face has kept my creativity vibrant and has helped differentiate my business. Art, writing, travel and coaching all find a home in the products and workshops I create for my audience. Like the surrealists, I seek to foster new perspectives and ways of being. The products and services that are the most successful are ones that solve problems for my audience. As a fairly typical member of my audience, I have found that most of the problems I face are shared by my audience. I’ve written books and e-books to help writers find time to write, to find their own creative rhythms and to complete projects easily.

My most recent e-book, The Graceful Return, sprang from an unexpected problem that arose from an adventure I had embarked on. In May, 2008, I left my life in Boulder and embarked on a life as self-named Creative Nomad in Europe. At the time I didn’t know that I would live in Europe for a year, making over 35 trips, falling in love, running my business, and blogging about it at

Fast forward a year later to my return to Denver, Colorado. I discovered that the return wasn’t nearly as exciting as the departure or the adventure. I experienced a common trend for travelers: friends showed little or no interest in my epic quest. I felt intense disorientation as well as a deep urge to understand and share my experience.

I published an article addressing the issues inherent in a return from a long journey. I soon saw that one article wasn’t enough; my audience responded well to the topic and I had more to say about it. My research showed that there was little available to help travelers return from extended journeys.

I wrote The Graceful Return: Relish Your Journey After You’ve Come Home and published it in September 2009 (ironically, on the day I took another leap to Europe for a five-week trip). It’s a unique book that has sold well and attracted the interest of international organizations. But here’s my secret, and one that may help you create your own products:

I wrote The Graceful Return for myself. And because of my work as a coach and a teacher, I am inclined to share what I learn to help others grow and transform. I combined three elements I am passionate about—travel + coaching + art—to create something unique and valuable to my audience.

How could you take the lead from the surrealists and find fresh solutions from unlikely juxtapositions of your passions? What have you lived or learned that is relevant to your audience?

Look over past experiences, deep lessons or profound insights. See how you can pair your coaching wisdom with your life experience to write articles or blog posts. You may even create products or courses that will help guide your audience’s learning.


Cynthia Morris, CPCC, continues to live adventures and write about them so writers, artists and entrepreneurs can be inspired to their creative juju. She blogs; produces Juju Infusion, a web TV show; and writes Impulses, a bi-weekly newsletter. Cynthia’s work and products can be found at

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