On June 7th I set off on my merry way to RISE, a women’s conference in Austin Texas put on by Rachel Hollis and her Chic Media Team. Before I get any further, put Austin on your bucket list of places to visit! It’s beyond cool!
I had booked the conference a few months previous and when people asked me what on earth I was doing, I’d play it down and say ‘It’s a work thing!’ or ‘You know me I like all the American Woo Hoo things!’. Both of which were true to a certain extent. But in all honesty I had been swimming around just trying to keep my head above water. Someday my only points of sanity were Rachel’s daily live streams and in our forum. For some reason I felt like they understood where I was better because I could be more honest with random strangers about the challenging situation I had found myself in than I could the people in my daily life.
I love traveling alone and being with my own thoughts. I had books, podcasts, colouring in books and a journal in my back pack so the 20 odd hours of travel time were covered. I knew I needed to get as much out of the conference as possible, it was costing a lot and I was away from work for nearly a week so I couldn’t let this be a waste. So on my way there I set out my intentions. I won’t bore you with the extensive list (I love a list!) but my last one on the list was- don’t be afraid to be you!
Literally from the second I walked through the door of the lobby the weekend was A-H-mazing! Rachel and her Chic Team were stood right there in front of me waiting for an Uber. It is so dam strange to see the people you have only ever met online in person! I instantly felt like a stalker! The friendliest kind of stalker obviously!
The conference was everything I could have hoped for and more. I feel like since returning I haven’t properly been able to convey to people how amazing it was. To meet and be in a room with 200 women that 24 hours earlier you only knew online and to feel so much love and community. My wish is for everyone to experience that just once in their life.
We cried, we laughed, we set goals, we worked through the hard stuff and we showed up for each other but maybe most importantly we ate taco and queso like it was a sport!
The keynote speakers were so inspiring and lovely. Brit Barron, Jen Hatmaker, Alison Falkner, Jessica Honegger (if you don’t know or haven’t heard of these awesome ladies find them and follow them immediately!) and of course Rach who spoke so much I don’t know how she didn’t lose her voice! Each coming from there own angle of expertise and experience but all dropping wisdom left, right and centre. Also a shout out to Arielle Estoria. Arielle is a spoke word poet, she is unbelieveably talented and effortlessly cool! She did a performance of a poem she wrote for the conference and OM-Gosh it was probably one of the best things I have ever seen, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. Go find her on all the socials but also on Spotify her album Symphony of a Lioness, it is food for the soul!
It was impossible to come away from this experience not feeling re-energised about life and the boundless possibilities that are out there. The conversations that were had, the wisdom that was flying around , you couldn’t have left without something sinking in.
Upon reflection attending Rise was much more personal than I would have liked to admit at the time. I needed the push to give myself the permission to dream big dreams and not apologise about me or my successes. I’ve come back with fire in my belly and a head full of dreams. But more importantly a plan to make them a reality!
Rise is happening again next year in LA and I am so dam excited. To do it all again but more so to meet up with The Chic Tribe and see how far we have all come in the past year! Saying thank you doesn’t really feel like enough to Rachel and Chic Media Team. Rise was so much more than a conference, it was a life changer and I am so humbled and grateful to have got to be there and witness the magic!