I was also thinking about Women At Woodstock, then in its fifth year, and how it had evolved and grown. “Grown?” you might ask. What could I mean? Certainly, Women At Woodstock has not “grown” – not like a “successful” conference pulling in swelling crowds of excited women clamoring for a chance to glimpse a fix-your-life superstar on a stage in a large convention hall. No, not like that at all. Grown more like a living thing – slowly rising up out of the soil, unfurling leaves. Like life. Like the lives of the women who’ve come to join the “sisterhood” that we are. I feel good about what it’s become, because it’s real and it’s built on true friendships and caring and hard work and humility and kept promises. It’s truly what I envisioned. And I swear Women At Woodstock has done me more good than it’s done any one woman who’s attended over the years. From the women I’ve met, I’ve gotten courage, knowledge, new ideas, information, inspiration, generosity, and a stronger belief in myself. I’ve been hugged a hundred times. No, way more than that. I’ve witnessed women make the decision to do what they said they wanted to do, and change their lives dramatically. My mind has changed, my outlook, my plans for the future, my actions. I’ve most definitely been living a better life than before. By miles.
So three years ago I dredged up what I wrote back in 2012 about the start of Women At Woodstock, and looking at it again today, I’m still gratified to see that what I was thinking and feeling then is still true today. So this is what I posted, way back in the beginning:
May 30, 2012
It’s Day Number 2 of the official launch of Women At Woodstock, and I am watching the sunlight fade outside my window. The wonderful women in my Costa Mesa Mastermind Group (Michelle, Vondie, Robin, Stacey, Pauline) and in my larger group of friends and acquaintances, and in my new core group of WAW presenters and advisers, have been calling and emailing to ask me how it’s going. Are plans coming together? Do I have everything mapped out? Have I visited the venue in person? Do I have the support I need? Are Experts for the Expert-Connect lined up? How’s it coming on the goodies for the gift bags?
They’ve also urged me to share what’s going on through this blog.
So here goes.
WAW is flowing – a wonderful, feels-right experience from the start, ever since last August when I had an incredible hour-long phone conversation with Amy Ferris, an accomplished writer – author of successful books and screenplays – who until that moment I did not know. A colleague had recommended me to her as a possible publicist for an upcoming project [the now-published Dancing At The Shame Prom, upon which a Women At Woodstock 2012 workshop was ultimately based], and I was making that “initial consult call” wherein I was supposed to wow her with my well-demonstrated expertise, enthusiasm, value, and fit for exactly what she needed in a publicist. After which I would presumably follow up with a stellar proposal which she would then sign with enthusiasm, and thereafter I would make a substantial fee.
But, what happened was, within minutes of our initial connection, we began talking about other stuff – like lifelong goals and wants and needs and passions: about women, and connected-ness, and getting older, and getting back to that mother-world mystical sharing and caring and support and energy thing that we women do. Or that we can do, if we set our minds and our purpose on a common intent.
Amy and I mutually derailed our conversation straight off the tracks and we bumped along together quite happily through fields and streams and mountains of thought as we set our creative juices and our visions free.
It was in that hour that Women At Woodstock really launched – out of my head and into a plan. And from that point to this, Amy has sent many, many women my way, and those women have sent others, and I’ve had countless conversations with even more women who’ve heard about this thing and contacted me. It had to be all about us – women of the Baby Boom era, and we had to gather in that iconic place of our generation – Woodstock. Where else? The process to date has been rewarding and I’ve felt a building enthusiasm and strength as the weeks and months have gone by.
So when I switched off the “Maintenance Mode” plugin from this website on Monday night, giving it life, I felt elation. Ta da! Here we go!
The next day was a bath of happiness, as I received emails from all quarters congratulating me on a great site.
The next day – today – has settled into dull rumination and nail-biting. (Why didn’t we immediately build to 1,000 Likers on the Facebook page; why did we not sell out registrations within hours of the launch?)
Of course I’m joking. Being an internet marketing specialist, I absolutely know that things don’t happen that way except in the case of superstars and superpowers. Alas, every success (mostly) takes work and endurance, I know. But wouldn’t it have been fun, if…?
It’s now sundown. Time for a relaxing glass of wine. And – time to grow up and grow into this and set real goals and expectations. Like – within the next 6 weeks, my goal is to bring in our first sponsor; to sign two Expert-Connect partners; to tally up our first 12 registrations while the Early Bird rates are still in effect; and to collect our first 3 contributions to the WAW Scholarship Fund – no matter how big or how small. And – I want to find a videographer to work with on creating a documentary of our event.
So those are my real goals for the real launch of Women At Woodstock: 1 sponsor, 2 Experts, 12 registrations, 3 scholarship donations, and a videographer connection. These are do-able goals. Or so I hope.
At bottom, I am not worrying at all. This retreat just feels so right. I know that it will not happen without consistent and concerted effort. But this is when it’s especially good to be over 50; I’m wise enough to know that these two truths go hand in hand: you can’t succeed without hard work, but you can never turn your work into exactly the result that you envision. What is meant to be, will be. Might as well relax and enjoy the ride.