A few weeks ago I attended Revolution Why, a conference for millennials looking to challenge the status quo.
While I had an idea of what we would do during the weekend (camp fires, hiking, yoga and vision-boarding,) I had no idea what to except in terms of how the weekend would impact me.
I arrived excited and eager to connect with the 11 new strangers in front of me.
I quickly remembered just how much I love building relationships with others. Experiences like this light me up.
Revolution Why made me realize one of the reasons why I am so happy in this new entrepreneurial life that I’m building: it enables me to connect, and create, with others.
One of the things that made Rev Why so special was that each attendee had the opportunity to lead the group in a skill-share activity.
Throughout the weekend, we:
- made vision boards
- created personal manifestos
- did co-counseling
- listened to each other
- discussed our self-talk patterns
- discovered our personal relationships with money
As a result of these activities, I learned how to listen (like, truly listen) for the first time in my life.
Enter lesson 1: listening requires your full attention.
When you’re having a conversation and find yourself crafting your next response in your head, you aren’t fully listening to the person you’re speaking to.
I don’t think we emphasize how hard it is to listen fully.
Real listening requires you to say present, open and receptive – three things that human beings struggle with immensely.
Listening requires you to quiet your mind and open your heart to someone else to make them feel heard.
At the end of the weekend, a friend shared with me that I was a great listener. I attribute that to the fact that I stayed present throughout the weekend.
Enter lesson 2: being present in your surroundings takes practice.
While I knew that I had a lot of work waiting for me in Buffalo upon my return, I made a sincere effort to keep my mind where my body was: in West Virginia.
Throughout the weekend, I noticed myself gradually shut out the outside world and tune in to my surroundings. I became more present, and relaxed, as the weekend progressed.
Enter lesson 3: phones and laptops are the ultimate distraction.
By ditching my phone for the weekend (something that was strongly encouraged by the conference leaders,) I gained a greater awareness of myself.
Without a technological device to distract me, I was able to let my mind wander and see where it went. It was refreshing to be left with just my thoughts, my breath and my body.
As my mind wandered off and “stuff” came to the surface, I met it with acceptance and curiosity rather than judgment.
Enter lesson 4: we take ourselves very seriously.
We have a tendency to take ourselves and our thoughts very seriously, making it hard to let go of anxiety and self-doubt.
So, on the first night, when it came to be my turn to sing around the campfire, I got nervous and stumbled over my words. I felt embarrassed.
Once I decided to let go, I was able to be silly.
This silliness made it easier to sing around the campfire, as I no longer cared if I was too loud or off-tune.
I felt like a kid again.
I left the weekend feeling light, alive and awake. I left feeling in love with the people around me.
More importantly, I left feeling in love with myself.
Revolution Why was the first time since leaving my full-time job that I honored myself for taking a leap to start my own business.
I’m fucking proud of myself, and I’m not afraid to say it, and THAT is a very beautiful thing.