Summit day, 2015.
6:30 am: I’m up. Running through my presentation one more time. Getting dressed and caffeinated.
8:00 am: pick up my Lady Project bestie and head to the event. Ro McGettigan introduced me to Sierra and The Lady Project at its infancy and has been my date to most events ever since. Now, she’s a board member and I’m hosting a workshop at the Summit. Amazing.
8:30 am: Arrived at the Vets. Walked into the organized chaos that was a few hundred women and a limited number of pastries and coffee (picture the friendly Hunger Games). Run into a few amazing women I’ve met at past events and meet a few new ones while we’re jockeying for donuts.
9:00 am: Keynote. Set the tone for the event: openness, love, and encouragement. For ourselves and each other. I love this sh*t. But I’m really thinking about my upcoming workshop where I’ll be “on stage.” In my head I’m reviewing the slides again and again, trying to think if I’ve missed anything.
I0:15 am: I skip out on the first round of workshops to be by myself in the bathroom. I know, gross. I can’t believe how nervous I am! But I’m also not letting fear paralyze me. I’m still going to do this!
11:00 am: It’s time. I’m setting up my computer, getting out my notes, and watching the room fill up. Encouraging. That’s the word they said to focus on today. It’s working.
For the next 45 minutes, I was focused. Slide after slide I went through the information I knew so well. It was my story, so of course I knew it. And I was having so much fun telling it.
This is the part of the summit that’s really transformative: I got to tell my story about being fired for the first time. I got to be really truthful and raw and knew that my audience would get it. I got to be heard and serve others at the same time. The summit creates the space for all of that. You can almost feel the opening up and growth that’s transpiring in those moments.
11:50 am: I wrapped up my workshop. The attendees leave with a guide for finding and pursuing meaningful work and relationships in their lives. But not all the attendees are leaving. There are 5 women lingering around waiting to speak with me. As I meet each one, I hear their stories. Bad jobs, horrible bosses, spouses who don’t support them, and a lack of confidence in their ability to create something better.
The gift of hearing their stories and connecting had made all of my angst about presenting completely worth it! The beauty of their stories was not in their struggles or current obstacles, but in their willingness to be vulnerable, to connect, and to grow.
12:00 pm: After hugs and contact info were exchanged, we each had to move on to the next workshops we were scheduled for. As I walked down the corridor and up the stairs to next group of women currently in the midst of transformation, I felt different. Different than I had that morning. Different than I had even an hour ago. It’s because I was different. I had shared pieces of myself with others, and in returned I received pieces of other people. I had connected with other souls. I was home with this group of ladies.
These are the moments that literally change the fabric of your being. The moments that we all want, but don’t know how to find. These are the moments that make the Summit amazing.