Full disclosure: I am a self-help junkie. I read nonfiction almost exclusively, I follow self-help gurus online, and I consume videos, documentaries, and podcasts all with the same goal of self-improvement. I make it a priority to fill my time with this type of content for life-long learning.
But I have never invested in anything like a conference before. Mainly because I didn’t believe there was anything more I could get from them. But that changed with my decision to start being more intentional. And Rachel Hollis got me over that hurdle with my initial investment in her life coaching (#goalgetter) program .
Until now I have never found a woman in the self-development space I truly connected with. Why? Because all the women I have discovered come at the space in a way that instantly makes me feel like I don’t belong somehow. Many follow a religious route, credit their husband supporting them while they pursue their dream (and that seems to abdicate a ton of responsibility of achieving their goals on their own). Some stand on an MLM platform, they had some kind of quirky gimmick, are ruthless, or many stand on a platform of owning their plus-sized bodies as their only empowering message to the world. Nothing really fit and I felt like these women wanted me in one of those boxes where the men in the space didn’t.
Rachel was the first woman I have ever heard address having value outside of being a wife, mother, sister, or daughter, and stopped talking about jean size. She stressed doing hard work to achieve your goals yourself and asking for help when you need it. There was no gimmick. And she called out many destructive behaviors women have. I finally didn’t feel like a part of me wasn’t acknowledged due to self-help for women only focusing on society’s typical tropes for what a women ‘should’ be.
As the conference got closer I got more and more discouraged as I saw women in her private online #MADEFORMORE Facebook group devolve into destructive behaviors. One after another women were oversharing pitty-parties for attention (then throwing a fit about how the post was deleted), going on ‘journeys’ to lose 8 or less lbs, b*tching about choosing to stay in toxic relationships, and leaning into tons of traditional stereotypes and self-sabotaging behavior that hold women back.
Are these the kind of women I want to go to a self-development conference with?!? These are the types of behavior I am trying to rise above. This isn’t what ‘Made for More’ means to me and I was strting to get worried I would be let down by this experience.
A couple of weeks before the conference the Hollis Co. sent out information for a #goalgetter meetup two days prior to the event. It was fun meeting up with lots of other women but to my surprise not many of them were actually attending the conference. We had drinks and hors d’oeuvres and we got a cute group pic.
Wednesday night we had the opportunity to do early registration. Everything was setup so cute. There was all kinds of photo ops, a pop-up store, and the registration process was super quick and really organized. I had a general admission level ticket but I felt like a V.I.P. with all the attention to detail.
RISE Weekend: June 13, 2019
Health and Wellness Day
The next day I picked up two wonderful ladies that I got to know online and we drove in to the conference. We had fun with the photo ops and I geeked out that one of the photo ops was made with pencils.
When then all took our seats and got grooving with Tanita Fadyeyola. We were introduced to our emcee Chris Chandler and he is a delightful ball of energy! He is a Soul Cycle instructor and his charm and warmth lit up the room. He is self described as a gay man who was raised in the church so he is spirited and sassy!
Then Rachel Hollis took the stage and we did a short workout and we learned about our health. What I love so much about her approach is it is based on habit not on fad diets or measuring success in weight. We did work in our workbooks and I felt really empowered by the ideas she presented.
We then learned about tapping from Alex Ortner. I have never done this before but we put it into action right there and my headache I had when we started went away! He showed us testimonials of how the process has even helped Veterans and I am going to try to implement this into a regular practice.
After lunch we heard from Nick Santonastasso and we laughed and cried. He has lived more life at his young age than anyone I know and he led us in a gratitude practice that brought me to tears.
Rachel again dived deep in health and did an amazing guided meditation. One of the highlights of the afternoon was getting to see Rachel Hollis work with one woman directly. It was so inspiring. The day ended about a half hour late and we were not able to get through everything in the workbook. I was so inspired it seems surreal that I have two more days of this. This one day alone was worth the value of being here and the below video from near the end of the day will be a constant reminder for me to keep going. Such a great reminder to keep going.
RISE Weekend: June 14th, 2019
We started the day again with Tanita Fadyeyola helping us get warmed up. That woman is fierce and I just want to be in every class she teaches. None of it felt like work. It all felt like fun even though we were raising our heart rates. We then met Brit Barron (Beans) the emcee for the day and her warmth made me feel so welcome (I basically want to be her best friend). Beans really had her work cut out for her because she had to help transition us between some pretty difficult topics discussed and she made it look easy.
Rachel Hollis hit the stage and we dug deep into issues in our live’s that trigger negative reactions. After that we heard from Dave Hollis and we heard about their favorite charity National Angels that supports children in foster care.
Then Jen Hatmaker took the stage. Honestly I was a bit skeptical because she approaches her work from a deeply Christian perspective and the last thing I wanted to hear was tropes about women being cheered on in traditional gender stereotypes disguised as empowerment. But she was amazing. She encouraged us to chase all of our dreams and crack that glass ceiling for all of us. She reminded us it isn’t a competition and to support every sister trying to RISE.
Then it was time for the exercise I had been hoping to take part in since seeing the Made for More documentary. We did “Stand Up for Your Sister.” Each of us checked boxes that applied to us and then passed the papers around till our’s was lost in a sea of paper. We then held a paper filled out by one of our sisters. One by one the topics were listed out and we were asked to stand up for the woman who filled out the paper.
The noise the auditorium made sounded like an army. I personally was shocked by how many women stood up for being raped, sexually abused, physical abuse, verbally and mentally abused, who had sex in an attempt to get love, and who had been cheated on. It was overwhelming. I saw these as issues ad being done to them (and more likely than not by men) and realized it was so much more widespread than any statistic on these issues I have ever seen. These topics aren’t being discussed with both men and women with the importance they deserve and it shattered my hear into pieces right there.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and I am so glad I brought tissues. When you see that you are not alone and that other women have gone through what you have gone through you realize the power of the words me too.
After lunch we got to hear from Trent Shelton. I love his motivational videos online and he absolutely brought the heat in person! He touch on many topics in his new book “The Greatest You: Face Reality, Release Negativity, and Live Your Purpose” and one of his biggest points I had to hear was about burning bridges. I highly recommend you follow him and check out his book. He ended with a spoken word piece that just hits you right in the soul.
We ended the day with Rachel Hollis talking about failure and how it is integral to success and not to fear it. She then ended the day reading us “Rosie Revere, Engineer” which is about a girl who creates things in secret and then gives them as gifts. Then one day someone laughs at her gift and she stops creating. The story goes on with her learning failure is part of the journey to success. I was a sobbing mess at the lesson it so eloquently explained.
RISE Weekend: June 15th, 2019
I woke it emotionally, spiritually, and physically drained. While many were extremely energized for today I realized that I am growing and am internally processing everything in my own way.
We started off the morning grooving again with Tanita and the day was kicked off by Beans. We then hear from Dave Hollis all about what will throw us off course from pursuing our dreams. It was really sobering but also helpful to hear how the closest people in our lives could potentially be the people who stop us from pursuing or dreams. This one really hit home for me.
Rachel and Dave then announced new projects coming up for the Hollis Co. and the crowd went wild! They showed us a couple of designs for the upcoming Start Today journals, they announced the upcoming RISE Business conference coming in November 2019, and they announced the creation of a new RISE ap that will help with accountability and have 30 minute workouts you can do at home without and workout equipment needed. And oh am I here for that!
We then got down to real tactical stuff on how to set a goal and actually achieve it. It was fascinating to see what she writes down in her Start Today Journal everyday. I am particularly excited for her to have 20 thriving mission based hires for the Hollis Co. and hopefully someday be a brand name at Target.
The “How She Built This” panel featuring Mally Roncal, Lisa Bilyeu, and Luz Maria Doris was the only true business focused part of the conference and believe me you didn’t have to have to care anything about business and you would have gotten a ton out of it. I particularly liked hear about why these women shouldn’t be where they are today. Stories of how they were not good enough, have failed, or bet it all just on the hopes it would work. Even Mally Roncal admitted to the fact that she doesn’t even have a cosmetology license.
I was particularly fascinated by the moments of high risk that could have made or ended their companies. Both Mally and Lisa mortgaged their houses in hopes their dream would work out. And Lisa told an amazing story about how a mixed of flavor batch that would have cost them everything became a ‘prototype’ flavors that sold out overnight. They showed real resourcefulness and they were completely honest about the parts that fell into their lap and the parts they gave their all to.
The final words of encouragement I don’t even remember. I was so overwhelmed by all of it, so excited for my future, and my brain was buzzing with all the plans I have to do. We ended the day with a final of drumming and singing and flags with our own personal mantras waving in the air. It was really beautiful and I could see the feeling of sheer accomplishment on Rachel’s face and I was so proud of everything she and her team had done. The only thing left to do was seal it all in with a celebration.
I went out to dinner with a bunch of amazing women and we represented every walk of life, lifestyle, and corner of the continent (yep, we had a Canadian!). I then got on my costume for the dance party. The dance party was themed Shero and you were to dress as your favorite female hero. I represented dressed as my grandma but man were there some amazing costumes! I greatly appreciated the gaggle of Ruth Bader Ginsbergs!
So what did I learn?
I learned real action steps and techniques that are going to help me be the best version of myself. I was reaffirmed that health is holistic and not about a jean size or looking a certain way. I also got some hard truths about what will be in my way as well as had some real moments of never before realized self-honesty, sadness for all we have been through, and pure joy. I was also reaffirmed by the messaging and by my experience that this was a safe apace where I was welcomed and accepted by all the women there. That has never happened in my life before and I will take that with me forever. So often in life we instantly focus on the differences and I think women are are particularity trained to do this and create competitions and divides. Every woman’s story was reflective of mine and there was no judgement and no competition.
I also saw leadership by example. Dave Hollis came out and took tons of selfies with people and he was always swamped but he did it anyways. I also saw a stage that every single day had intentional diversity on it with people who were differently abled, different skin colors, different first languages and beliefs, different sexual orientation, and a bunch of women. It was amazing seeing that being so mindfully done. They truly walked their beliefs instead of preaching them and that was not lost on me.
Would I recommend going?
Absolutely! I think we all need to truly have others push us outside our comfort zone if we truly want to grow. I have always tried to be the type of person who focuses on growth but it is impossible to do it all yourself. There is power in numbers and in saturating yourself in collective knowledge and ideas you would never reach on your own no matter how many self-help books you read.
I also got more out of these three days that probably any other learning experience of this kind in my life. I find that learning at conferences around business or industry can be hit or miss because they are always industry standard ideas that cater to exact levels of learned knowledge. Also, with religious-based gatherings you have to take word for word as gospel and taking what you need and leaving what you don’t is akin to blasphemy. Where here we were all able to take what we needed and the learning wasn’t at any exact level. Instead it was for all women and a stay at home mom could find value and so could a CEO.
So ladies I implore you to not only read “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl Stop Apologizing” but also invest in yourself and try to attend an upcoming RISE weekend. Because when you invest in yourself you are lifting up everyone around you and investing in them too.