My Experience at Ember Retreat

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If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I was in Palm Springs last week speaking at Ember Retreat.

I was so honored and excited to get to present to a room full of ambitious and committed to growing hair stylists.

What I didn't expect was to walk away with so many soulful connections, new knowledge, and personal growth as well.

Day 1

Not gonna lie, I was in full anxiety mode when I arrived.

Luckily, every detail of the retreat was carefully and intentionally laid out. It reminded me of my salon and how I took care to create a space where you felt like you were home.

I came to this retreat alone, which is something that definitely isn't natural for me, but I am committing keep doing because of a greater purpose. So as I nervously walked up, to the icebreaker cocktail hour, I beelined it for the bar to get me some liquid courage.

Image by Grow Lovely Photography

Image by Grow Lovely Photography

Then I pushed past the discomfort to start chatting with strangers. Little did I know some of the amazing friendships that would come out of this weekend!

It didn't take long to start connecting with other stylists. Within minutes, I felt comfortable and ready to dive into the weekend ( it may have been the tequilla too ;-) )

Jamie and Piper really knew what they were doing with that icebreaker event!

We had a workshop under the stars that first night. (Outside! At night! In October! That’s a huge change from Calgary. I wish I could go back!) It was the perfect way to start the retreat.

Ember Retreat by Grow Lovely Photography

Day 2

This was the day I’d be speaking, and the whole morning I had those pre-speaking gig nerves in the back of my mind. Thankfully,  I was able to be present and soak up the valuable information from the speakers and workshops.

We started our first morning with a visual branding workshop with Piper De Young.

Holy cow. I learned so much and I am so excited to start implementing what she spoke about into my business! First thing in the morning and I was already getting so many awesome ideas for my biz.

After that, we were treated to a talk from Jamie Dana on standing out on Instagram. I’m lucky to have Jamie as a close friend and although I may be biased, this girl has got some serious talent and wisdom when it comes to setting yourself apart. I learned so much from her.

My Talk: Work Smarter, Not Harder

We were served lunch, which I couldn't eat because I was so excited/nervous for my talk.

You know those last minutes thoughts of “Omg does what I’m talking about even make any sense? Is anyone gonna get anything out of this?!?” That was my brain for that entire hour. Which was kind of a bummer, because it looked delicious!

Image by Grow Lovely Photography

Image by Grow Lovely Photography

After lunch, I was up. Even though I was terrified, I knew once I was up there speaking that would all go away. It always does. The anticipation is always worse a million times worse than the actual talk.

My talk was titled “How to Work Smarter, Not Harder, How I Tripled my Income in One Year.” I don't want to give it all away right now because I would really like to share the whole talk with you all soon. But here are some of the key points that I touched on:

  • How I built a business where I can work less and make more

  • Setting healthy boundaries with myself, my work and my clients

  • Learning how to clearly communicate expectations and obligations

  • Dealing with feeling like a fraud and an imposter

That last one, imposter syndrome, is a biggie. It seemed to be the point that hit a nerve with almost everyone in the room.

You know those times when you feel like someone somewhere is gonna expose you for the unqualified mess that you are, and confirm that you really don't know anything and therefore shouldn’t be going after your dreams?

Yeah, those feelings are legit and it doesn't matter how far along in your career you get. Those feelings still pop up, especially in seasons of growth.

I had no idea that that would be a such a huge take-home point for so many of the attendees.

Part of imposter syndrome is feeling like you’re alone in those thoughts, but it’s not true. I was reminded of this when I realized that the talk I prepared to for others ended up helping me. Having that affirmation that others have felt those same feelings and understood was huge.

I have to say thank you to each and every one of you that were there for being such a fantastic group of people to speak to.

That afternoon, Jamie taught us how to take the perfect Instagram photo. We even got to go out and practice, while being surprised by Biolage (who sponsored the retreat) with a smoothie bar. HELLO! So yummy!

That night, we finished day 2  under the stars with a mind-blowing presentation from Dianna. Wow, what an amazing lady doing amazing things in this world.

She shared about Shear Love International, an amazing organization that teaches hair skills to those in poverty, sex trade, and trafficking so they can improve their lives and employment situations. If you have a minute, make sure you check this organization out!

Day 3

The retreat finished on a high note with a talk from the incomparable Ash Fortis.

Wow. Just...wow. What a powerful message. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.

I don't want to share Ash’s story for her, but if you ever get the chance to connect with her, you will find out she one of the most genuine and caring people ever. She shared openly and honestly with us, being truly vulnerable and raw about her personal experiences that have brought her to where she is today.

So as you can see, Jamie and Piper put on one amazing event. I don't think any of us left the same. It was so much more that I expected and even more than I can convey through this post.

All in all if you get the chance to go to EMBER RETREAT in the future you def should. It's so much more than just a business retreat. It’s a community!

Image by Grow Lovely Photography

Image by Grow Lovely Photography