I just returned from my FIRST (lots of those this year) Mastermind Business Retreat in Palm Springs hosted by the dynamic duo of Facebook’s Thrive Hive fame, Jules Taggart of amp + pivot and Sandy Sidhu of SidekickPM.

I came, I saw, I hashtagged ###

Looking through my 22 pages of notes, I admit to being overwhelmed with thoughts of “holy crap, where do I start” and “how will I put all this all into action”.

So I’m gonna do what I do best and just Ramble On…(that reference is for my new found Thrive Hive friend, and fellow ’67 sister, Tia McKenna Lloyd).

What the hell are we doing here anyway?

Palm Springs Collage

This past weekend, 15 female entrepreneurs (many who only met online but never locked eyes) came together to focus on their business and set goals to take their businesses to the next level. Many already knew what they wanted to work on as a group, what their next steps were. Some of us only knew that we needed a little push to figure out WHAT that next step would be.

Something about getting out of your normal routine that sparks imagination and revs your business engine.

Here are my major takeaways:

Lesson #1

Stress is a challenge, not a threat.

The level of optimism you embody directly relates to the level of success in your business.

In his keynote speech, author and executive coach, J. Shoop, guided us through the historical and social rewards of being optimistic and supporting others in our pursuit of success. Keep in mind, I am not referring to keeping a rainbows and unicorns optimism that is insincere and barf inducing. I’m talking about looking at the perpetual glass half full. I’ve always been a positive person. My takeaway? Ignore the Eeyores in life and continue to support others.

Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.― Ellen DeGeneres

Lesson #2

Read more books. This is daunting for me since I’m ALWAYS reading at least seven books at a time. I was brought up by a bookworm and still go mad cow crazy sniffing pages in a lovely old tucked away bookstore on a forgotten street. There are stories out there that are pure gold. They change you, they stay with you and they inspire you. Watch less TV (ok, after the new Fall season lineup is done) and read more.

You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read. ― Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

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Lesson #3

Stop copying me. Stop copying me. No, YOU stop copying me.

Don’t mimic others, model them.

While listening to keynote speaker, Srinivas Rao, author of  The Small Army Strategy, and creator/host of Blogcast FM, I learned that I should stop taking advice and start listening to peoples’ stories and observations. It is not gospel that should be followed, it is inspiration that should be ignited.

To create new ideas for my business, I should look at other industries outside my sphere. I should learn to crawl again and act childlike. For those who know me, I often pull out my 24 pack of mini Play dough canisters to spur on my creativity. The smell and texture takes me right back to my childhood.

Do what brings you joy. I LOVE to help people. I LOVE to learn about people, their lives, their businesses, what makes them hum. And help them find ways to leave their unique mark. That is my JOY.

Lesson #4

It’s ok to be scared and push yourself out of your comfort zone. One of my business coaches, Krystina Feucht, spoke about her journey in the last year and how it has turned everything she thought it would be upside down. But she realizes that it is only going to be bigger and better now. She helped me understand that you truly can do what you love and demand that from your life.

Lesson #5

Get your systems locked down and rinse and repeat. Alaia Williams of Small Biz Swiss Army Knife, spoke about the dire need to get your data, tasks, and steps into organized systems. She convinced me to start writing my operations manual. About time Larson! It’s only been 7 years since you started your business. But I’m not going to “should” on myself. I’m just going to start…now.

Lesson #6

You are relevant…even if you aren’t on FACEBOOK (Twitter, etc).

Yeah, shocker! I learned this from my new friend Kelly Alexander who I met at the retreat and had me in stitches the whole time. God I love a witty gal! She is NOT on Facebook so I panicked. How will I stay in touch with her and continue to nurture this new found respect for someone who I think is more relevant than many people I’ve met lately. She gave me her email and phone number and I’ve already sent her a handwritten note. Old school relationship building must be part of my life.

Lesson #7

Always be meeting new people. One of my favorite quotes is from Jack Nicholson from As Good As It Gets.

YOU make me want to be a better (wo)Man. 

The ladies I met at this retreat have made me want to be a better person, woman, and entrepreneur. Here’s to the #gamechangers.