There is a Jupiter-sized difference between conventional “networking” for the sake of expanding your human rolodex, and heartfelt connection for the sake of… just that.
As entrepreneurs, business owners, freelancers, artists, and conscious creatives we are often isolated and limited to the people and resources available in our geographic locations. This might suit our needs in some ways, but it can also leave us feeling hungry for more.
We crave the energy of interacting with like-minded individuals, of learning new things, and of having our imaginations sparked with fresh ideas.
Oftentimes this can only happen when we physically remove ourselves from what we find familiar in favor of experiences that enliven all the senses.
Imagine a place where personal and professional growth are seamlessly fused into one extraordinary weekend. Where you can be your whole self, learn, play, have meaningful interactions, expand your knowledge, get inspired, nurture your creative side, and even rest, all in a beautiful natural setting in upstate New York. Imagine that this place has a touch of magic, and a unicorn for a mascot. Imagine that some of the most insightful leaders in your industry are there to deliver workshops, and then compete against you in a three-legged race.
That, and more, is what I found at camp GLP.
This is not a place where you put on airs and try to sound impressive, yet you could still walk away having made priceless new connections or potential business partners. It’s a place where you can be REAL, imperfect, and in progress. Where you can share your wild ideas and get valuable feedback from people who genuinely care and want to see you succeed.
It’s about collaboration, creativity, and consciousness. That’s the kind of business I’m in.
I was mostly unplugged during the weekend, but here's a snap my new friend Amy Silverman managed to get of us together. Don't we look... happy?
And here's one of the bunks and some wacky art I made.
August of 2016 was my second time, I wrote about my first experience last year, and the whole thing sank in deeper for me this year. Layers were shed, a-ha moments were had, comfort zones were stretched.
Along the way I learned from some pretty inspiring people:
Cynthia Morris is a writer, artist, and coach who taught me the joy of art journaling.
Jenna Soard is a branding goddess who helped me weave style and storytelling into my brand strategies.
Jeff Goins is an author and incredible speaker who helped me lean into my purpose, and develop ways to help clients do the same.
Sean Platt is a creative powerhouse who made me laugh, cry, and believe I can write a book in 30 days.
Pamela Slim taught me the idea of ecosystem design and "watering holes" of potential clients.
Cassia Cogger is an artist who gave me the space and structure to create in a new way.
Emiliya Zhivotovskaya is beam of light who taught me the neuroscience of positive psychology.
Laura Peña is a storyteller and producer who inspired me to explore video in a new way.
Lisa Congdon is a talented artist and author who taught me that it’s ok to share the process.
KC carter taught me to let loose and let my wild side show, because life is just more fun like that.
And of course, Jonathan Fields, the founder of this whole shebang, taught me that any professional pursuit must start from the heart and radiate outwards. That it’s ok to be exactly where you are, yet not settle for anything less than what makes your heart sing as you continually grow.
That’s just to name a few of the facilitators. There were other workshops and speakers I didn’t get a chance to experience this year because there are many options to suit everyone and we can’t each do ALL the things.
I could ramble on and tell you more, about the bonfire, the talent show, the new friends I made, the abundance of snacks, but in truth I’m still processing the totality of all that happened. The video below, created by talented camper Justina Gioia, could give you more of an idea though.
Tribe experiences are catalysts for greatness.
What I want to leave you with is not just that I had a good time at camp, but that finding your own version of such a thing or place is priceless. Having a tribe of like-minded people to connect with, reveal yourself to, and evolve with in whatever ways you feel called to do is the greatest gift you can give to yourself, your career, and your future.
The personal unraveling and consequent ripples of joy and insight will last for weeks, months, and even years. Find your tribe and spend time and space with them. You’ll never forget or regret it!
While I can’t speak to the awesomeness of all events like this, I did find a helpful resource of creative conferences you can begin exploring if this whole idea is new to you. Find one in your area, see if it feels right.
You can also explore retreat centers near you if you’d prefer to focus on personal wellness or your creative craft. I like to switch it up throughout the year, so I did a Journeydance training earlier this year to connect with movement and spirit, Camp GLP for heartfelt personal and professional connection, and I’ll be going to Alt Summit next January for more specific learning in the realm of blogging. All of this helps me be my whole self, personally and professionally.
So what was my big takeaway at camp this year?
It was that maybe, just maybe, I’m not only a copywriter and content strategist for people and brands I believe in, but that I am a creative writer in my own right too. How will I walk the line between helping others craft their message in a powerful way while also refining my own voice? That remains to be seen, but I think the two are complementary currents of energy, uniquely charged yet flowing from the same deep well of creativity and consciousness. It’s just a matter of evolving with intention and balance.
For now, I’m starting with more writing from the heart, and a little something I’m calling the #greatwordsproject.
If you went to camp I’d love to hear your takeaways too! And if you’ve had other experiences like this please share where you went and why you loved it in the comments.
Now here it is, a glimpse into the glittering madness that is camp GLP.