The Level Up Retreat took place in Dallas, TX March 3-5, 2023. It was my first time hosting a retreat and it definitely won’t be my last!
The experience was all about getting things done, getting ideas and thoughts out of notebooks and into action. Level Up retreat included intensive hot-seat, 1:1 and group coaching to help attendees not only expand their business visibility, but also increase impact and income. To finally build that plan, and put some easy-to-implement strategy behind it. The retreat was over a weekend and included a two-night stay, all meals and snacks, too! I wanted to make it truly all-inclusive so people just had to show up with an open heart and mind and participate.
An intimate coaching experience was one that I had dreamt about years ago, even so much as to take a training to figure out how to run one that was effective and smooth sailing from the backend! Even with my event background, I like to learn and I like to learn from people who have “done the things.”
But, life happened, right? I kept up with my content creation lane, started coaching both in my mastermind and with 1:1 support…and then I got my ITP diagnosis…got engaged…and opted to plan a wedding versus a retreat. In that time, I even imparted my knowledge of retreat planning and prep into one of my mastermind clients! It was incredibly fulfilling to be part of someone’s journey in that way. Shortly after, I started cleaning my office and I found my notebook that had pages and pages of retreat planning notes.
If you’ve seen the show Insecure, then you know the moments in the show when Issa is in a bathroom, looks back at herself in the mirror, and is met with her inner voice staring back at her, encouraging her, sometimes validating her, but it’s definitely her alter-ego.
I had a moment of that myself, and she said “So, you’re just going to help someone else plan their retreat and not plan yours? Why not put your big idea out there?” I couldn’t help but feel a little bit down but instead of frowning about it and talking myself out of doing it by saying there wasn’t enough time to sell and plan the retreat, I decided to answer that voice and say, “Nah, I’m going to plan mine, too!”
Because while I’ve never done a retreat before, I’ve thrown in person educational events on repeat (and sold them out) for years. I’ve coached in the digital space for years as well. It really was a boss up moment for me to see what I was made of. Show up, take it a step at a time. This is what I preach constantly. I needed to embody that! And I did. The Level Up Retreat was born and a few months later, we were all together in Dallas!
Day 1 was a day to get settled, set intentions and celebrate the choice of investing in ones self and business for the year. After everyone arrived at the house, we headed out to Tejas, a Tex-Mex spot and one of my favorite restaurants in Bishop Arts District (especially in summer – frozen Paloma me, please). It was here where we had a chance to just have some girly fun and get to know each other better. If the pandemic has made me miss anything, it’s the ability to connect in small circles and share in discussions and laughs. It was definitely needed to break the ice so we could get right down to business on Saturday.
Saturday we went for it. After a self-serve breakfast, we all hunkered down at the hub (aka dining table) to engage in some work!
Now, those who have worked with me know two things about my approach at the onset of our relationship: I’m big on looking at what the data suggests to guide future activity, and I’m also big about using quarterly planning to attack goals. So, I kicked off the day with self-audits of everyone’s brand by asking a series of questions and reviewing things I asked everyone to bring.
It’s one thing to say you want your business to bring in a certain amount annually, but it’s another to figure out exactly how it’s going to happen in bite sized chunks aka quarters of the year. As service based (mostly online) business owners, I wanted to bring to light the fact that there are SO MANY WAYS to get to the number you want, but to really think about which one feels the best? And does that line up with what people are coming to you for? If not, we gotta make some shifts and that’s more than okay. This was the time and place to lay it alllllll out.
And a few questions to get this process going ended up turning into an impromptu hot-seat for someone.
That’s the magic of the retreat from a leadership standpoint. You can have a schedule but you have to also bend with how things are unfolding. There was no way I was going to cut off a thought provoking and forward-driven-action conversation by putting a pin in it and let that energy get lost.
My friend and collaborator, Vicky of Victoria Saperstein Photography popped in right at our lunch break to snap some behind-the-scenes pictures for me, but to also capture a few branding shots of each attendee. While a headshot was the only “promise,” coming out of the retreat, I’m so excited to give a dozen+ photos to everyone to use in their branding and social media efforts.
The rest of the day was spent diving into hot seats for the remaining two individuals as well as time for solo work time, meditation, walks, naps. The vibe was very chill, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I even had some arts & crafts materials so people could color or paint if the needed to shift back into lighter energy. Everyone colored at one point, so to think that I almost made that an optional thing is too much! 😉 I definitely encourage anyone who is hosting a retreat to include create-breaks or to have an art kit on hand.
We stayed in for dinner this time to not disturb the flow of energy, and I brought in Terry Black’s BBQ for everyone! Another favorite Dallas spot and a surefire way to make sure everyone who came had a taste of Texas.
Day three, also the last day, started out — you guessed it: super chill! After I fried some eggs and bacon and served up some waffles and fresh fruit, conversations continued until we checked out of the house and made our move to Downtown Dallas. This had a lot of benefits to it, as it was also a chance to move the energy to a new space and to also get inspired by our surroundings.
We hunkered down at the Omni Dallas for additional business strategy chats, content/trends discussion as well as copy review. Why is copy review important — and why did I save it for last? Well, after doing a lot of the strategic work around who attendees were trying to target and what action they wanted their people to take, now was a time to see if we need to adjust to truly speak in a way that builds resonance while still being authentic to the brand. It was a wonderful way to wrap up the day, especially since we’ve keeping the good vibes going!
As part of attendance to the treat, everyone had access to a pre-and-post Voxer support thread, where conversations can continue, feedback can be given and a place to celebrate progress! It’s only been a week since the Level Up Retreat and MOVES.ARE.BEING.MADE. I am SO happy and proud.
When I do my next retreat, I feel the call to make it even bigger — and I mean that in all of the ways! I’d love to add on another whole day of business talk, double the attendees and include some additional time for non-business related activities. Think massages, a lifestyle related class/seminar, and more. While I have zero regrets about the way I planned and led this retreat and its impact (and I know this because of what everyone has said AND done thus far), I am also a travel lover, I’m fun, I love wine…so why not bring all of those elements together with some crazy productive and uplifting time?
Location is TBD but it’ll be within the US and it will be in the fall, before the holiday craze. Want to be the first to know all of the details? Get on the interest list and I’ll be sending all of the information very soon!
I’m so excited for what’s to come for everyone that attended. Moves are already being made, smiles are a bit brighter, and faith in the business is strengthened. I’ve done my job. 🙂
Here’s more pictures from the weekend.
Such an AMAZING weekend!! Sooooo happy I joined – I’m already implementing this week, and am feeling really inspired! Thank you so much for all your wisdom, and for creating such a wonderful space for us all to share! Appreciate you Kachet!