I spent last weekend in Boulder, Colorado, at the first-ever Emerging Women Live event, which drew almost 400 entrepreneurs, leaders, and artists from around the world to meet, greet, inspire, rewire, strategize, organize, and generally celebrate the power and potential of women. Founded by the wonderful Chantal Pierrat, the organization’s mission is “to support and inspire women to express themselves authentically through the work that they do.”
And boy, did they ever.
So many of the talks I heard and the women I spoke with had an impact on me. Here are some of my favorites:
“I made a stubborn decision to choose creativity over fear.”
I loved Eat, Pray, Love and I was excited to hear Liz Gilbert speak, but I got way more than I expected. Her talk about her writing and her relationships was so uninhibited and accessible. She believes in magic (“the Hogwarts kind”) and how it can guide us on our path—the path we need to choose, not the one we’re supposed to choose. If an idea gives you goose bumps, let that be a sign. And that’s where I am in my life—learning to follow my intuition (the magic) and know what’s really right for me, not my idea of me. Liz didn’t focus on the negative, and that’s a huge lesson my work with Dr. Joe Dispenza has taught me as well.
Dr. Brené Brown
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
“Authentic” was a word I heard a lot last weekend, and you can’t get more authentic than Brené. Her teaching about vulnerability deserves all the accolades it receives, and it’s no surprise that her first TED talk has had over 11 million views. She gets it! She affirms what I’ve always believed—that the longer we suppress our negative thoughts, the more isolated and dysfunctional our lives become. We’re consumed with people’s opinions of us. Brené said, “Life is about daring greatly, about being in the arena.” When people criticize us for expressing our vulnerability, they aren’t in the arena. So I say, if you’re not in the arena, then STFU! Brené signed my copy of her new book (Daring Greatly) with a great big heart, just like hers.
“Take pain and turn it into motivation.”
Eve is a gifted storyteller, and what stories she has to tell! She turned her childhood abuse into inspiration for the Vagina Monologues and her cancer into a spiritual transformation. She has taken all she’s learned and used it to help women around the world, most recently in the Congo through The City of Joy. It’s hard not to admire her and want to help in any way that I can. If anyone is able get one billion women and men to dance to stop violence against women, it’s Eve.
“Your ‘backstage’ never lies. Pay attention to what you are drawn to.”
I love this woman! I love her energy, her amazing sense of humor, and her business sense. She gave up a successful career as a folk musician to become a business coach, because she loved the work. And she’s not ashamed! As she put it, “I went from being a rock star on the stage to helping people be rock stars in their lives and businesses!” From art to business on purpose—how often do you hear that? And it’s something I aspire to do in reverse—I have a business background and I want to be more creative. Christine has it all. I’m looking forward to taking her Uplevel You mastery program.
“What would your life look like if relationships came first?”
Speaking of rock stars, Alanis was another woman who rocked my weekend. She has clearly been working hard on herself and was full of lively and eclectic insights. But for her, it all comes down to relationships—not just with her husband and son and ex-boyfriends, but with the power and relevance of every single human being we encounter in our daily lives. Without them, we can’t exist or grow. Next on my to-do list is downloading Alanis Live at Montreux.
“Harness your story and own your truth, then share what you learned.”
What an inspiring young woman! Erin was a college student in 2001 when she started Girls Fight Back after her sorority sister was murdered. Erin’s organization continues to empower young women all over the world by teaching them self-defense. One of her favorite parts of this work has been helping people speak their truth and, as a result, she launched a whole new business—Evoso—to coach TED speakers and guide other thought leaders. Erin embodies her conviction that “Thought leadership is giving a gift.”
Tara Sophia Mohr
“Your calling is how you bring light and love into the world.”
Tara was another coach who had a unique perspective on business. She encourages women to “play bigger,” as opposed to playing small. I was really drawn to what she had to say about how we address our fears. She explored and expanded on the two Hebrew words for “fear” that Alan Lew discusses in his book, Be Still and Get Going: pachad (dread) and yirah (sacred). Dread is ego-based; sacred fear is what we feel when the ego is transcended. Powerful stuff, right? Tara closed the talk with an amazing poem called “Things We Don’t Know Yet.”
“Rock your own foundation before it rocks you.”
Nancy is not just the event director for one of my favorite media companies—Hay House—she’s the author of Writing for My Life. She used poetry to help herself navigate and recover from a complicated and heartbreaking divorce and then shared what she’d learned with all of us. As she described it, these were “the stepping-stones along my path of love, loss, grief, searching, awakening, freedom, becoming whole, and owning my voice.”
“Marketing is an enticing invitation to connect.”
Jennifer has a gift for making business planning fun by drawing on the right side of the brain. She climbed to the top of the corporate ladder and then took a flying leap off into the unknown and landed in a place of imagination, intuition, fun, and compassion. I’m working on merging my business self and my creative self, so I was drawn to many of the things she had to say about how business could be a thing of whimsy and joy, not just spreadsheets and email. I’m looking forward to putting into practice what she teaches in The Right Brain Business Plan.
“The body is the organ of egoless wisdom.”
Tami was one of the people I was most looking forward to hearing. Not only is she a senior meditation teacher for the Dharma Ocean Foundation but she’s the founder of Sounds True, a multimedia publishing company dedicated to disseminating spiritual wisdom. I’ve been listening to their CDs and podcasts for years. Tami lives my mantra of not having a plan, not knowing where my business will lead me. She encouraged us to trust that everything will turn out the way we need it to. As Tami put it, “It’s all workable.”
There were many other speakers and workshop leaders I didn’t get a chance to hear who I’m looking forward to next time!
The lesson I took from Emerging Women Live was about learning to speak our truths and becoming individuals who have a positive impact on all levels of relationship—from family to work to the world. Rewire Me is part of my truth, and as we grow it’s a gift I am honored to share with you, the Rewire Me community.
Photos courtesy of Emerging Women.