2020 was going to be my year.
Last year, I had my second set of twins and spent the majority of the year trying to adjust to an insanely chaotic new normal. I worked to rebuild my mental, physical, and emotional health, and find some semblance of harmony in my additional responsibilities. My husband and I had just moved into our first home and were transitioning to a new place with new friends and neighbors. Plus, if that weren’t enough, I decided to start a business.
So when 2020 started, I was eager to get back to myself, to reignite my passion for some of the things that I’d tabled for the past year and a half. That included writing projects, my (brand-spankin’-new) business, and training for another half-marathon. I wanted to regain my strength, to say a resounding YES to more experiences that would advance and stretch me personally and professionally.
So when 2020 began, my schedule started filling up fast: conferences, craft fairs, conventions, international travel. I was saying YES a lot, and I was SO excited.
Then, COVID-19 happened.
Within the course of a just weeks, even days, the world changed. There are so many out there suffering, and for them, I pray and seek to help.
In the midst of heartbreak over my own thwarted plans, I happened upon a post on social media that basically said: “Now is not the time to get what you want.”
It really struck me. ALL of us are experiencing loss right now — of plans, health, business, social connection, routine — whatever it is, and it sucks. Truly. But in order to unite for the common good and SAVE LIVES, we have to give up things right now, and selflessly focus on the well-being of others. That means STAYING HOME, staying away from others, and keeping ourselves healthy. I know in one way or another, we are all suffering, but as we all work to prevent the violent spread of this thing, we will be stronger together. We will get through this. We will see that the sacrifices were WORTH it.
Like most of us, I’ve had to adjust what my life looks like this year. No international travel (at least for the near future), no in-person conventions, no fairs. Distancing, extra caution.
But isn’t it great that we live in 2020 with an abundance of life-altering technology? We can still connect with each other while staying home and staying safe.
One of the events I was most excited to attend this year was the Mama Spring Break retreat hosted by The Mama Ladder. Its co-founder Crystalee is an incredibly inspiring mamapreneur (and Talking Shop alumna!) and the event, held on a ranch in Arizona, was sure to be a highlight of my year.
But as health concerns escalated and the conference went virtual (which I know was an incredibly difficult decision for Crystalee, who put SO much work into creating a fabulous in-person event), event staff and attendees adapted to a new online gathering place.
And quickly into the three-day, Zoom-centered event, you know what I discovered? Even though things hadn’t turned out like we all expected (or wanted), we were all going to walk away from the retreat stronger and more well-equipped to face the unique challenges in our own business. How?
Well, just as we learned to pivot in format, we were learning how to pivot the way our businesses were running in the current uncertain global environment.
Sure, had we been together in-person, it would have been a great event. Lots of hugging, crying, learning, and growing. We all would have walked away with more tools and a lots of inspiration. But as we connected virtually, we were now able to look at our businesses challenges and dreams in the light of COVID-19, and how we might help each other to build better and stronger businesses despite current conditions. And because of that, I believe we all gained SO MUCH MORE from the retreat than we would have otherwise.
Here are a few other gold nuggets I gained from Mama Spring Break.
Create Your Own Ladder.
I love The Mama Ladder‘s imagery and vision using ladders, because so often as goal-oriented individuals, we fight to climb corporate ladders and achieve traditional success. But as mothers, wives, sisters, and strong females, we can create the path that works for us. Our success doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. Our ladders can be custom-fit to our lives, goals, and family, while still helping us achieve success and growth.
Women Need Women.
I hate the idea that’s often perpetuated in society, of women stepping on other women to get what they want. Competition, comparison, and cattiness really have no place in our society, because as women, we need each other. Gathering with this special group of women taught me so much. Our unique skillsets and ideas were shared and championed in the spirit of support and collaboration. This kind of female-filled community will not only help our businesses thrive, but us as well.
It’s Okay to Be Ambitious.
I think as women, we tend to default toward self-deprecation and humility when talking about or even promoting our businesses. We say things like, “Oh, it’s just a little side-business…” or “It’s not really much…” but there is truly nothing wrong with desiring and striving for success in our professional lives. Wanting to provide for our families is admirable. Wanting to share our vision and products to make the world a better place is admirable. We shouldn’t be ashamed or shy about that. (And just because there is a a quarantine doesn’t mean people have stopped spending money, FYI. There are still tons of people who are looking for things to make themselves — or others — happy and who want to support small businesses with values they believe in.)
Hustle and F.U.
Don’t worry, I’m not promoting sailor’s mouth. The F.U. I’m referring to is Follow Up, a great reminder given to us during our Keynote Speech by Lori Caden of Belly Bandit. In our businesses, we need to have thick skin, put in that hard work, and keep following up to get what we want. For shy, lil’ ol’ me, this was a good reminder. Keep pushing, keep working! Nothing that’s good comes easy.
Finally, enjoy these custom inside-joke pencils I made for Longhand Pencils based off of our group’s favorite moments from the retreat! (Side note: if you need any custom pencils for your biz or event, reach out to me! I’d love to collab.)