Mari Smith Is Responsible for This Girthy Blog Post

by Lani Voivod | @LaniVoivod

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.

According to Hill, “The Master Mind” is a “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

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.

Know you’re not alone. You have gifts to share. You have people to meet. You have places to go.

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. ;)

  • http://www.slice-works.com krabil57

    Lani, very nice job. Spoken from the heart.

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    Lani, your beautiful post really touched my heart. You’ve done a stellar job of capturing the essence of our special VIP retreat. There was so much more happening on an energetic level throughout our entire 2.5 days together – I could feel it for some time leading up to the event, and I still feel it now. I know that each of us is committed to sharing our light, truth, and gifts in even more magnificent ways as a result of connecting and collaborating together. It’s truly a joy to share this magical journey with you! :) xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/LeslieSturgeon Leslie Davis Sturgeon

    Mari – it was because of Lani and Allen that I was first introduced to your brilliance. You inspire me on so many levels! And clearly you had a lasting impact on my friends these past few days. I cannot wait to see them and absorb all that they have learned from being in your presence. They were the reason I took the leap into social media and all of you with your wealth of knowledge continue to help me navigate the confusing “waters.” THANK YOU all so very much for being on the top of your game so that we can grow to do the same! Lani and Allen, love you and can’t wait to see you!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Kathi – what a pleasure to have met you in person this weekend, too! :)

  • Anonymous

    Oh Mari, I feel it too, and so does Allen. What a special gift you gave to us all. I told you last night, as we were all bidding our farewells, that I could never thank you enough for this experience. This blog post was the best I could manage. Though I feel like a version of the little drummer boy, I feel like you get my thrum-thra-thrum-thrum. Thank you for that. :)

  • Anonymous

    Leslie, thank you for so much for all your love and support, here and always! Oh, you better believe we’ve got tons of things to share with you. You’re one of our fave collaborators, and a shining light of leadership and courageous creativity all on your own. We’re going to have some fun when we get back, Leslie. I can’t wait to explore the possibilities!!! xoxoxo

  • http://www.mirroryourself.nl Juan Felix

    Hello Lani, thank you so much for sharing in great detail and beautifully written words your experience during this fabulous weekend with Mari and all the other VIP’s. I really feel what you mean. That’s the power of great words. They touch my heart. Hopefully I can be part of such a big experience too, one day. Who know’s… 

  • Anonymous

    WOW.. Lani, I must say you have given me the gift of being there!  I am humbled by the sheer depth of emotion you so beautifully crafted into this post. I am joyous at knowing that I am correct in respect to the marvellous mentor that is Mari Smith.
     I asked to be allowed to go along in spirit and you accepted me with open arms. You have captured the essence of the retreat and showered it on me the reader… Thank You Lani.. and as always Thank you Mari for all you do, give and be.. 
    I could feel the energy from here.. How TROOL-Y inspiring to be at the forefront of this New Business Model.. 
    Namaste,
    (Elaine)

  • Julia Senesac

    Wonderful post Lani. You have so well captured the spirit our meeting. What a blessing to have been a part. Thank you for this gift and the gift of yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julia.senesac Julia Senesac

    Wonderful post Lani. You have so well captured the spirit our meeting.
    What a blessing to have been a part. Thank you for this gift and the
    gift of yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julia.senesac Julia Senesac

    Wonderful post Lani. You have so well captured the spirit our meeting.
    What a blessing to have been a part. Thank you for this gift and the
    gift of yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julia.senesac Julia Senesac

    Wonderful post Lani. You have so well captured the spirit our meeting.
    What a blessing to have been a part. Thank you for this gift and the
    gift of yourself.

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  • Holly Davis

    Yet another incredible burst of inspiration from you. Let’s reconnect soon!

  • Susan Majoy

     ?Lani, absolutely beautiful blog post. You truly captured the experience you all shared so wonderfully. I so enjoyed every minute with you, Allen and all the VIPs. Each and everyone of you are amazing souls who have already inspired me and touched my heart with your kindness. I feel blessed to have been able to be a part of your Retreat. I am also the luckiest girl in the world with a dream job and dream Boss! Thank you Mari, for all you do and are, you continue to inspire and change people’s lives daily!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Susan! I truly you! You shine brightly, and I find myself smiling each time your name or picture flits across my screen. What a delight you are, my friend. Thank you again for all you did for us, and for all you do for Mari. You’re awesome!!!

  • Anonymous

    Sooooo, are you coming out of Mommy Land, Holly?! I’d LOVE to *do* lunch (or breakfast, or walking, or whatever!) and catch up. Let’s make it happen in September… xoxoxo :)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Julia! Like you said: *Dwell in Possibility*!!!

  • Anonymous

    Elaine, I felt you there – you were definitely there in spirit, for sure! Yes, how TROOL-Y inspiring, indeed. THANK YOU so much for your kind words. I’m so grateful YOU read them, and they meant something to you. That makes it all worth it. Now I don’t feel bad about staying in the hotel room until 4pm when I could have been out playing in San Diego! :)

  • Anonymous

    Juan, I honestly believe you would THRIVE in an environment like Mari created. Thanks so much for chiming in. Your feedback means a lot to me. Happy socializing!

  • http://www.dressiton.com cheap wedding dresses

    Congratulations for making the summit. I bet this such a wonderful feeling to all the participants, specially to you guys. With all the effort and sweats you have shed…thanks for the sharing.

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