Charleston, North Carolina was host city to our fifth Million Dollar Badass retreat last week, and it was without a doubt the most epic event we’ve held to date. The women who attended flew in from all over the world (one of our members joined from Mongolia and another from Puerto Rico) with high expectations, and I wasn’t interested in disappointing them.
As inspiring and impactful as past MDB retreats have been, filled with strategy, tools for leveraging, and connection—the intentionality with which we met for this specific retreat was heightened. I’d recently read Priya Parker’s “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters,” and I had my entire team read the book, too, after being FLOORED by what I learned.
The way we gather matters. Gathering—the conscious bringing together of people for a reason—shapes the way we think, feel, and make sense of our world. Why? Because of what happens when people come together, exchange information, inspire one another, and test out new ways of being together. And yet most of us spend very little time thinking about the actual ways in which we gather. —The Art of Gathering
It’s not enough to simply bring a group together and teach strategies, share information, and have fun activities, stellar speakers, and delicious food: there has to be an overall guiding principal and a reason to gather from which every decision for the event is made. Suddenly, making event planning decisions becomes much simpler. With every crossroad we came to we asked ourselves: Does it contribute to our intent for the event?
Yes? HELL YES, DO IT.
No? Bye, sis.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We’ve always had themes for our retreats—from “Becoming a Brand Queen” to “Reaching the Tipping Point”, the theme has provided the structure to guide our content for every event we've run. But this time, we decided to create a purpose for the entire damn Charleston experience—from the time the first email went out to the moment the last guest got back home.
Before your event starts, it has begun. —The Art of Gathering
In order to uncover the purpose for our May MDB retreat, I wanted a bird’s eye view of the mastermind in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the event. I came up with my own ideas about what this retreat’s purpose would be, and then my team and I met up for (several) pre-retreat meetings, starting months before the actual event. (In fact, we held a meeting about our upcoming September retreat the day we all returned home from Charleston. #YallGetReady #WeGonnaOutDoOurselves) Considering I’m not the only one who interacts face-to-face with our Million Dollar Badass members, input from my coaches (who work intimately with my clients) as well as my operations team (who field the inboxes and see every single post in our Facebook group) is necessary.
From all of the intentional pre-work, the guiding purpose for our retreat solidified into: “Becoming a Million Dollar Leader”
Here are just a few of the high points of how we integrated our purpose and wove it into every aspect of the event:
We kicked things off with a Pricing Salon & #BeforeILetGoChallenge dance party.
How you host your guests will shape how they show up for the entire event, which means the welcome is one of the most important elements to nail. Because even our most wildly successful members have cringed when it comes to pricing—women are known to undervalue their services—we chose to use a Pricing Salon as a way to transition into the event. Pricing always brings up our shit, and starting with an honest conversation around how we value our services (and ourselves) created an opportunity for each member to step into an awareness of what she is missing by undervaluing herself (and, you know, not fully stepping into her potential as a leader in her industry).
From that space of “bringing up all the shit”, we created an opportunity to shake it off with a dance party to end all dance parties—Beyonce style.
Lucky for us, one of our members is an internationally known choreographer, and she expertly taught us a few eight counts of a dance that was just challenging enough to force us to bring out our inner Beyonce’s.
And we have the video proof to remember it by:
Coaching + Beach Resort
I choose to invite my members to convene in person because community is one of our core values at Hello Seven.
Powerful women surround themselves with powerful women. And powerful women who sip rose beachside? Well, that’s just a sea of powerful women. (Yes, it may have been after a few cans of rose that pun was coined.)
After a morning of traditional “business retreat” round table style lectures, exercises, and strategies, we piled into a blimo (bus limo) and headed to Wild Dunes Beach Resort on Isle of Palms.
Do not undervalue time and energy devoted towards activities that are designed to lower your stress levels and cultivate creative space. One of our members commented that standing at the water’s edge, the waves lapping over her feet, was one of the most powerful moments for her.
For her to consider that it’s actually possible for her nervous system to be calm as she purposefully takes her business to its next level felt other worldly.
Other members commented that it was sitting in the sun next to new business besties, “talking shop” and sharing advice and experience, that was most impactful. Time away from kids, time away from the everyday grind, time spent with women who actually GET what she’s working toward—that is how creative space can up-level your experience.
Of course the retreat had plenty of time spent at round tables, digging into frustrations, sticking points, alternate approaches, and, my favorite: planning sessions.
However, our purpose—allowing each member to fully embody what it means to be a Million Dollar Badass and Leader allowed us to host an event that left our members saying things like:
“The epic MDB retreat reminded me of who I am…and who I am not.”
“The retreat was so amazing. The best part was getting to meet all of you in person. I can’t believe how I hit the internet lottery and found you all.”
“First of all, the retreat was 10 times more than I thought it would be. From the fact that they brought in beautiful furniture in their brand colors and set up in little conversational places… the flowers, the beach, the food, the decor. Absolutely amazing. Rachel and her team—over and above blew it out of the ballpark. It’s easy—when we get caught up in the day to day of our businesses—to forget how far we’ve come. I went from making $8/hr to $5900/hr. I have to give myself credit for making the leap. And it’s not just Rachel and her team—it’s the opportunity to be around all these other women. It was just as magical to be around other powerful women. I saw the power all around me—in how they’re showing up in their lives and showing the way.”
“Ladies! I absolutely felt honoured and inspired and in awe this past week. I cannot speak enough to the power of community. I have felt lonely and alone in my entrepreneurial journey for YEARS. No longer. I have a sisterhood that is filled with amazing women speaking and sharing their light. Thank you.“
Let’s not discount retreats as simply vacations. That’s doing the power we can uncover in ourselves and in each other a huge disservice.
p.s. Million Dollar Made, my luxe leadership retreat on deck for May 2020, is now open for you to save your en suite spot. You too can surround yourself with a sea of powerful women, French chateau style. (And score a bonus VIP day with me in Paris if you commit by May 30th.)