When things go wrong, are we learning the lessons?
Who starts an international women's group totally unintentionally?
Me. That would be me.
When I follow where spirit leads, the results are without fail more than I could imagine. I share the super hero origin story of Ladies’ Power Lunch (LPL) often, so sing along if you have heard it before: Many years ago I invited six of my friends, all women in business, to get together for lunch. We had little in common, but none of that mattered, because when women get together with positive purpose, amazing things happen.
Everyone came to the table with an intention to be supportive; Not because they were thinking of what they could get, but just because they wanted to help. At the end of lunch everyone left with something she needed, and the LPL group was born. The energy associated with our incorporation was truly aligned.
Our LPL group offerings include: networking/collaboration meetings, collaboration summits and retreats for our members. I am at my very highest vibration while delivering retreats and summits. I’ve organized and hosted events for almost two decades. I am a certified transformational coach and retreat leader. For heaven’s sake, I even teach our clients how to have successful collaborative events! So how did I, for the first time in years, have an event that failed to live up to my expectations?
One of my trusted mentors Darla LeDoux shares, in service of growth, about what she learned the time when she lost $50,000 on an event. These are all sourced experiences, and so in service of growth I will share my story too; not to rehash, but to reinforce what Darla teaches: Everything is a valuable sourced experience.
From the very beginning of planning this particular event, there were so many glitches; and yes, at the end I also had financial losses. What an outstanding opportunity to remind me and all of us about the very thing I teach our LPL clients: The five steps to having a brilliant collaboration event, or a collaboration of any kind, (I mean, isn’t all of life collaboration?)
1) Ask: Step one of the collaboration pillars that I share with my clients is: Ask. In integrates contemplation, clarity and spaciousness. Asking means that we tune in to our inner guidance and into the spirit of the event that wants to be called forward.
Let me give you a little behind the scenes tour of what happens with my summits. Usually the theme for our summits comes to me in communion with spirit. (There was a time when saying something like that out loud would never happen. Now, I’m still hesitant but much more open to sharing.) Usually meditation supports every step of my event planning and delivery. For the event in question however, I did things differently.
Instead of trusting intuition on the content of summit, we polled our members. Based on the topic they suggested, we scurried around getting experts to participate. There is nothing wrong with polling your attendees; it’s the doing that in exclusion of connecting with source that proved to be a problem for me.
What this event reminded me? If you are leading events, trust yourself. There is always an opportunity to go within and to have guidance from source, inner spirit… however you refer to your connection with all that is. Go within for guidance and trust that guidance.
2) Alignment: Step two focuses on alignment: alignment of energy, values and communication. This means, making sure all the partners, staff, contractors, apps and resources supporting your event have similar values and goals, correspond energetically with your vision of the event, and that there is aligned communication.
Prior to beginning planning, my intuitive guidance suggested that we should approach this summit differently. My primary collaboration partner even reinforced the direction intuition was pointing. With my member poll in hand, I cajoled her and convinced, I pushed through. I brought my “just do it,” energy and my old agreements of what was expected of me, instead of going in the direction that source guided. I agreed to things and formed partnerships that were absolutely not in alignment, because I was not trusting source and flow.
One more note on alignment: I didn’t use my human design decision making strategy. If you know your human design, lean into practicing correct decision making when hosting your retreats and events. Looking back, I recognize that as I got caught up in the business of planning my event, I became busy and less inclined to stick to my practices that keep me grounded, connected and positive.
What this event reminded me? Always focus on the energy first. Focus on shoring up your connection and alignment with source above all things.
3) All In: Step three focuses on commitment, cooperation and detachment. This step invites you to be all in and invites your partners and all hands to be all in as well. And it also invites detachment from outcome.
Usually with our summits, there is an energetic exchange between the event and the presenters. Based on this exchange, our presenters are committed to supporting filling the event effortlessly. This event was different. There was no energetic exchange; we struggled to fill about half as many seats as we usually would. We even lost our chosen retreat house and had to find another location! This should have been the writing on the wall.
What this event reminded me? My energy going into the summit was stress filled. Stress is worry about the future. Being able to detach from outcome can be very supportive of this step. Being all in, means bringing high vibrating energy to your collaboration. Usually, my event energy is light and fluffy. On this occasion my planning energy was worried, low and heavy. Pay close attention to the energy that you are bringing to hosting your event or retreat.
4) Assignment: This step focuses on brilliance, genius and special talents. I always remind our clients to focus on the thing that is in your area of brilliance, and let your collaboration partner do what she is great at.
On the weekend leading up to summit I usually focus on raising my vibration. That was not to be. I was instead focused on resolving the tech (not my brilliance, not even close!) which continued to be an issue for the entire event.
What this event reminded me? Get down to basics. What are you great at? What is your brilliance? If you can, stay focused on ONLY that while your collaboration partner does the same. And if there are areas that fall outside your collective genius, then, lean into step five.
5) Apps/ Resources: This step invites us to focus on technology, delegation and support. The reminder is that we shouldn’t expect to do everything ourselves and we shouldn’t burden our collaboration partner either. Cataloging the specialized personnel and non human resources needed for your event is critical. Then go back through steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 before committing to including any application or resource, human or otherwise, in your beautiful event. This is the recipe for success.
What this event reminded me? As a recovering “DO IT ALL,” I can be tempted to try to learn everything and do everything in order to make sure my event is perfection. What I know for sure is that when choosing my support, applications and team, if I focus on Asking, Alignment, All In and Assignment, the outcome is so much better.
And one more thing, because with me there is always one more thing: Trust that even if you have an event that is less than what you want it to be, there is always an opportunity to learn, to have a more robust human experience, and always in your vicinity are the tools to make lemonade from these lemons.
And so it is.