“How can we go to this? Women just like us! This needs to happen!!!”
That was the commentary I sent, along with the link to register for Emerging Women Live 2014, to my buddy Nat on April 5th last year.
Little did I know, this was the start of a journey that would change everything...
(This is a picture taken on my iPhone, when Nat and I accosted Danielle LaPorte in the lobby at EWLive14 to tell her that we came all the way from Vancouver - where she also lives - to see her in New York City.)
And I almost didn’t buy my ticket.
In the months leading up to the Early Bird registration deadline, I went through a huge personal shift.
That July, I walked away from a toxic business partnership that was supposed to have been my solid plan after leaving my 6-figure corporate job in December 2013. I had no income and only a seedling idea for a business called "Secondhand Therapy."
Paying for my ticket to Emerging Women Live was terrifying. I had to take money out of my retirement savings to pay for it. I kept worrying that I couldn’t afford the conference and the trip.
Thankfully, I listened to that tiny whisper inside of me that said I should just go.
My weekend MBA in NYC.
It is almost impossible to capture the lightening bolt that hit my soul during the four days I immersed myself in the Emerging Women Live experience. I have since joked that I learned enough to qualify for an MBA during that long weekend.
I sat on the edge of my seat as Brené Brown said the world needed more “badassery” and challenged us to discover what we needed to give ourselves permission to do and be.
Right then and there, I gave myself permission to be "little kid" excited, make new friends and play Show & Tell with other entrepreneurs. I still write myself new permission slips when I am scared.
Over the next few days, I was overwhelmed by the wisdom from women who had learned from their battle scars.
I learned how to “snatch back my dignity” (Wokie Nwabueze), to create my own “I have to’s” list (Arianna Huffington), to play bigger and “share what I already know” (Tara Mohr), to “know the season I am in” (Kris Carr), and to trust that the NO’s I say will be the key to my success (the inimitable Danielle LaPorte).
In the midst of all this was this woman, Chantal Pierrat. As Chantal introduced various speakers, she shared parts of her own story. I was in awe of how she created this Emerging Women Live experience through her passion, determination and her belief that we must surround ourselves with incredible women.
The new friends.
Although I came to NYC with my dear friend Nat, I was excited about the opportunity to meet new women who were on similar journeys.
During the Power Circles that kicked off the conference, I met Katy, who just two weeks ago told me that it was time to enjoy a new phase in my business because of what I had accomplished. She insisted that I pitch this blog idea to the Emerging Women team - and it worked!
I also met Chelsea, who was also on the verge of “going live” with her business. We had regular check-in calls after the conference to encourage each other to take brave steps.
During dinner on Friday, I met Dawn. I ended up having to take my glasses off because I was sobbing as Dawn shared how her husband had passed away a month prior, and her brave next step was to head to this conference. For the record, I don’t cry in public, but this weekend changed that permanently.
Dawn is a kindred spirit who has brought me light and encouragement and joy in the most unexpected ways. I feel as if we have known each other for decades.
And there were so many other smaller interactions with like-minded women who left their fingerprints on my life...
Simply put: I became a woman who stepped fully into her calling.
Within weeks of the conference, I was published in both The Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, a self-improvement blog with 1.5 million followers.
I went on to secure several speaking engagements, appear on a couple of podcasts, become an official blogger for my local TEDx event, contribute to the Tiny Buddha book being published by Harper Collins in Spring 2016, and write bi-weekly for Vancouver’s largest blog, Vancity Buzz.
I built and launched my own website, and hustled to complete an 8 module “Introducing You” eCourse. I developed a workshop called “The Seduction of Stress," which I presented to 200 women this past May, and was recently booked to transform the presentation into a full day workshop this coming October.
My email list had 60 people on it when I showed up at Emerging Women Live 2014. It now has over 1600 subscribers on it, without having to spend any money on advertising.
None of this was due to extraordinary talent or connections or luck. It was a direct result of putting into action everything I learned at the Emerging Women Live conference.
I decided to be brave and hustle and pitch and trust and relax, and most importantly be the woman I want to be.
“What if we had not gone to EWLive14? It scares me to think of how small our lives would be,” I recently observed during happy hour with my buddy Nat.
It is frightening to think how close I came to deciding I couldn’t afford to attend.
I would be a shadow of myself if it weren’t for those four days.
I wouldn’t have known what I was capable of. I wouldn’t have connected with the women who are now my biggest cheerleaders.
Am I going to Emerging Women Live 2015? You bet!
I couldn’t risk missing out on another life-changing weekend.
How about you? What impact did EWLive have on your life? Please share with us in the comments below…