STEP TEN: We Act to Manifest Impact – In Conversation with Thomas Bærnholdt


STEP TEN: We Act to Manifest Impact – In Conversation with Thomas Bærnholdt

In a series of conversations with fellow transformers, leaders and influencers, we want to introduce you to the Ten Steps of Transformation. You’re getting a sneak peek into how The Heart Revolution can be your companion through transformation: helping you transforming your work and organization, by transforming yourself. You can always start with the latest,  or catch-up from Step One.


For “Step Ten: We Act to Manifest Impact”, I’m joined by Thomas Bærnholdt, CEO and founder of creative digital agency, Bærnholdt, that helps businesses launch and grow by creating modern websites, generate leads and digitize workflows – including karen.tobiasen.com and breathingbusiness.com!

Step Ten: We Act to Manifest Impact

What is Step Ten?

Despite understanding what stakeholders want and seeing how to turn business challenges into opportunities, it might still be difficult for us to act on the insight. Many transformations fail when it comes to consistently making it happen. They never manifest the impact they set out for.

Successful transformations require that we constantly listen and integrate the interest of all stakeholders balancing multiple needs and perspectives. As unpleasant as it might feel, healthy tension in life and business keeps us in balance. Doing that and speaking up if we notice imbalances that are holding us back brings enormous value to the company.

Consistency in our actions with sufficient consequences when we are not progressing as planned reduces the risk of returning to old mindsets and behaviors.

Do you sometimes avoid conflict, seeking harmony rather than healthy tension?


Out of all the people I have had the pleasure of conversing with in this Ten Steps of Transformation series; Thomas is the one that I have known for the shortest amount of time. And that just further confirms for me that transformation does not have to take a long time. In just the four, five months that I have worked with Thomas – I have witnessed both profound transformation in himself, his leadership, and in our relationship.


That said, Thomas is also someone that takes his own transformation and development very seriously. Despite not knowing the full extent of this side of him before we entered in to the working relationship that we had with The Heart Revolution book and universe, it didn’t take long before it became quite clear that I had met yet another co-transformer and Heart Revolutionist.


From the get-go, Thomas had his learning antennas up and out, absorbing the possibilities of what a loving mindset can do for people, leaders, businesses – and continues to explore what more can be discovered in opportunities. He captures his experience of the journey as:

“Open, honest, exploring… eye-opening!
Both in terms of myself and how to do business.”

As is also said in the book – transformation may be simple, but it is not easy. And that is also something that we acknowledge in the discussion: that transformation and learning requires courage. For Thomas, he is learning to both deeply listen, and to speak up – requiring courage to step beyond the comfort zone and thereby also calling for the loving mindset to be exercised. After all, the word courage is derived from the French word for “heart”!


And the abilities to deeply listen and speak up, as well as holding a loving intention are critical components that go into the practice of Courageous Conversations. A practice that Thomas and I have used numerous times throughout our relationship. Thomas sums up our numerous courageous conversations well when he describes them:

“Difficult, tough… with a mutual desire to develop ourselves, each other, and the relationship.”

I appreciate his honesty in also acknowledging that courageous conversations do not always feel good or comfortable. And that’s why it’s so important to also keep the shared intention in mind. Thomas goes as far as to question whether we even want to be in relationships, also with clients, where courage is not invited, accepted, or encouraged? Shouldn’t courage be in the base of every relationship – also to enable us to progress through blockers and find new ways forward?



Afterall, there are few things in life more certain than the fact that we will continue to face dilemmas and tensions as move through life and progress our businesses. So the capacity to address these tensions and find ways forward is critical, and also something that can really be a differentiator as individuals and organizations in moving from wasting energy locked up in unresolved tensions to creating value-adding progress.


Thomas shares a wonderful example that exemplifies this. In a recent encounter, a client had communicated in ways that felt out of line towards someone in the Bærnholdt team. Previously, Thomas said he would have let it slide having grown up with the saying that many of us are familiar with: ‘the customer is always right.’ That may have felt more comfortable at the time but would also set a precedent of the tone being acceptable going forward in the relationship as well. Instead, Thomas chose to speak up to the client addressing the matter and making it clear that a different tone would be mutually beneficial for the working relationship. Thomas felt he was standing much more true to himself and for his team, and it also strengthened the respect in the relationship with the client.


This was just one example, but it is far from the only time Thomas has felt the benefits of welcoming healthy tensions and courageous conversations into also his business. As he says:

“I don’t have any bad experience with it. They admire and respect when I do this.”


As a client to Thomas myself, I can definitely testify to that. We met in a mutual desire to transform and grow into better versions of ourselves and better business owners, and together progressed on the journey.


That also speaks into the last point we cover in the conversation: transforming together. When asked about the advice Thomas would like to share for anyone on, or starting a transformation journey, he speaks of the importance of not trying to do it alone. Rather, find a buddy along the way that does not necessarily have to realize that they are a ‘transformation buddy’, but just someone that you can talk to along the way, and bounce ideas with.


As Thomas reminds us:

“You’re not on this journey alone.”

An important reminder. One that I sometimes myself forget. Which makes me even luckier for having transformation buddies like Thomas alongside me helping each other grow. But in the fun and exciting times, and also in times that feel uncomfortable or tense.


What are the courageous conversations that are calling on you?


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You can also read more about the full Ten Steps of Transformation in The Heart Revolution book. Order you copy here

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