Technically, it’s over.
Our in-person adventure with Mari Smith and a dozen other talented, extraordinary professionals from around the globe has officially come to its bittersweet end.
After two-and-a-half days of inspired bliss (which is such a funny thing to call something that was supposed to be a “business retreat,” but it’s true!), I find myself in my hotel room, Allen sleeping soundly beside me, wondering how I could ever possibly communicate this profound blessing I just experienced, and knowing I have to find a way.
So here I am, raw as a human can be, writing to YOU, and trusting you will get what you need out of my time and energy this morning to move forward with your own dreams, vision, and ventures.
First, you must know this:
Mari Smith is the real deal. She is a luminous being, perfectly imperfect, doing everything she can to use her brilliant mind and sparkling talents to connect with the best of YOU, and to have a positive impact on the world and its rapidly transforming trajectory. Mari SHOWERED US with generosity, insight, and spirit from the moment we crossed the threshold of her lovely home. She welcomed our diverse #MWM20 VIP posse into her home with such grace, ease, style and elegance, I entirely skipped any and all habitual feelings of unworthiness, overwhelm, and discomfort and let myself accept things as they came without skepticism or judgment. I let myself TRUST the process, without over-analyzing and questioning, and allow the hours and days to unfold as they would.
This turned out to be a very lucky thing, because I thought our time together was going to be much, much different. I thought we’d arrive, plug our devices into their sockets, and spend hours upon hours whizzing through Facebook ninja apps, super-hip Twitter tips, and all the bells and whistles of the skyrocketing social newbie, Google+. I thought my brain would hurt, and my frontal lobe would literally short circuit from all the tech speak and online resources flying around the room. I thought I’d be bombarded by so much information, so many “MUST DO IT NOW!” ideas that I’d literally explode into a gagillion little pieces, or collapse into a crispy coma puddle hours before my return flight to New Hampshire.
Oh, how funny it is now to know how wrong I was!
Instead, what unfolded each moment, each hour, was an easy, warm alternate universe of what business and life could – and dare I say, should – be.
It all began Thursday night…
Mari invited us to her gorgeous home in Escondido, CA. Spectacular views. Exquisite decor. Inspiring messages everywhere I looked. Some folks were already there and the others trickled in as Allen and I shook hands and met these familiar strangers, these online friends and connections who we’ve had exchanges with in little text blasts on Facebook and Twitter, even a few phone conferences, and yet knew so little.
Sure, we knew the names of the companies they owned. We knew the bios they shared on their social channels. We knew some of the articles that caught their attention, and the questions they had because we had all been posting and commenting in our private VIP Facebook Group. But, as we all know, the smoke-and-mirrors factor in the online realm is pretty darn high, and the REALITY of a person’s personality and energy can be entirely different than what you expect from his or her online persona.
Soon after everyone arrived, it was time to jump into our cars and drive to Cordiano Winery, where Mari had made reservations for us with the revolutionary thought that we could actually launch a Social Media Retreat by actually SOCIALIZING. (!!! Imagine that!!!) The mood was light and the evening was divine. Perfect temperature, Buzz Lightyear views (“To infinity and beyond!”), and a sybaritic feast for all the senses.
It was here I started noticing something was missing. This was a business retreat, right? And yet there was a conspicuous lack of traditional, party-line NETWORKING. No finely-tuned elevator pitches. No desperate bragalogue slinging. No resume recitations or ego-driven conversation stealing.
Instead, here we all were, sitting at the crest of paradise with Mari, one of the world’s foremost and celebrated experts on social media, Facebook, Twitter, and relationship marketing (in fact, her latest publishing triumph, The New Relationship Marketing, is being released September 13th!), just BEING, agenda-free, in the moment, relaxed, open, happy, and grateful for the evening. Conversations flowed. Connections began to deepen without effort. People weaved in and out of casual pow-wows and intimate exchanges. A few videos were taken, and lots of pictures, too.
By the time the sun said its goodbyes behind the mountains, the tone for the rest for the next two days had been set. Although I never would have believed it at the time, the rest of our odyssey together continued in this same extraordinary, breezy, delight-filled manner…
…and yet it was by far the highest value *working* we have ever done FOR and IN our business.
“But How Can That Be?!!”
In November of 2008, Allen and I wrote an article called “The Billionaire’s Secret Weapon…Plus 7 Ways to Make That Secret Weapon Work for You.” That article is all about the power and incomparable value of MASTERMINDING in a high-quality mastermind group or program.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a mastermind group is what Andrew Carnegie hailed as “The Driving Force” of his secret formula of success, immortalized in Napoleon Hill’s classic business success anthem Think and Grow Rich.
Our time at Mari’s was the ideal of “The Master Mind” in full, glorious blossom. Over the course of two-and-a-half days, our group tossed into the creative cauldron lifetimes of varied perspectives, talents, and experiences. Our new friends traveled from Canada, Australia, Florida, Colorado, Tennessee, Mexico, Maryland, New York, various points in California, and we ourselves flew 3,000+ miles from New Hampshire.
From this mix of geography, this cacophony of demographics and psychographics, of potential and possibilities, I have become certain of one thing:
Being in the company of passionate, purpose-driven human beings from radically diverse backgrounds in a stimulating and open environment changes you, on a core level, for the better.
It is this feeling, this certainty, this CHANGE that I’m trying to capture and share with YOU, right now. This is where the answers are. This is how things will transform for you. This is the magic bullet, the secret sauce, the ANSWER, if you will. We all look for it at some point in our lives. Many of us give up. Whether you’ve given up or you’re still looking, KNOW, like I do today, there’s true-blue HOPE, and that HOPE comes in the form of a high-quality, vision-led mastermind group.
Because life and memories are what they are, the divine details of Friday and Saturday are already fading. (Which is why we created little *vibe* videos – Day 0, Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 coming soon – of each of the days, because we know the experience, no matter how awesome and powerful, is still and always a fleeting blip in time, and we want to remember it as best we can!)
Thanks to Mari, we were incredibly fortunate to have Social Media Examiner‘s founder Michael Stelzner hang out with us and talk about his experiences launching and growing one of the most popular social media websites in the world, as well as his wildly popular Facebook, Blogging, and Social Media Success Summits. We had collaborative sessions, led and enjoyed presentations, shared resources, ate delicious meals, and shot countless photos, messages, tweets, and missives over our social channels.
On Friday night, Mari gave us the gift of an evening with Esperanza Universal, Spiritual Teacher, CEO and Co-creator of the S.O.U.L. (Systems of Universal Law) Institute. Esperanza led us through an intense and soul-shifting meditation that changed many of our lives in deep and profound ways.
Saturday, Mari delivered to us a whole new universe of information, expansion, and adventure. Ashley Mahaffey, Fitness Strategy Expert, mother of two, and two-time finisher of the Ironman Triathlon, came in to talk to us about The Champion Mindset. More presentations, learning, sharing, exchanging ideas and strategies, and soon it was time to spruce up for our incredible photo shoots with CeCe Canton, photographer extraordinaire. CeCe’s last photos were of us all piling into the biggest, most luxurious stretch limousine I’ve ever seen, let alone traveled in! It served as the perfect place for our champagne toasts, and brought us through the rolling hills and ocean views of Escondido, right to the front doors of The Beach House in Cardiff by the Sea, where we all wined, dined, and connected in high style and higher spirits.
“It All Sounds Lovely…But Why Write This Girthy Blog Post?”
If you’re still reading, you’re thinking. You’re curious about something. Perhaps you’re searching, or perhaps you’ve already found what you need and want to reinforce it through another’s experience. However this finds you, wherever this finds you, on your mobile device or iPad, your laptop or your desktop, via tweeted link, Facebook post, RSS Feed, email, LinkedIn, Google+, personal message, or some other social avenue, know it was meant to find you.
Know that it was written with the expressed INTENTION to find you.
Know that this is the new world of connection and possibilities, where minds are expanding, thoughts are accelerating, and games are shifting, in a big, BIG way.
Know there are people who can and will support you and your boldest, brightest dreams and potential.
You have work to do.
Know that it’s within your power to embrace the new and existing tools and opportunities around you, and fulfill your life’s purpose, no matter what you think it is, and no matter what it becomes as you follow its lead.
Know all this, and know it’s no accident you decided to read this blog post to the end. After all, it was written for YOU.
So please, if you got something positive out of this post, no matter how big or small, pop on over to Mari Smith’s Facebook Page and thank her. She’s the reason I wrote it. She’s the reason you’re reading it today.
This is how it works.
Neat, isn’t it?
P.S. By all means, pop over to our Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page and share your thoughts on our Wall. These days, you never know how powerful one simple connection can be.