If you know me or have been following my adventures on Instagram, it comes as no surprise that 2018 has had its challenges in both my personal and professional life. Luckily, by heading into the final quarter of the year with an open mind and an open heart, several small course corrections are leading me back to my purpose and to living within my zone of genius.
This hopeless romantic has always held a big place in her heart for the Canadian Rockies. The same can also be said about the coworking industry. So when the opportunity arose for those two worlds to collide, it was a no-brainer that I absolutely had to be there.
I have written previous blogs about my experiences at the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC or “juicy” for short), and this recent event in Banff, Alberta, catapulted my love affair to an entirely new high (is it weird to be in a romantic relationship with a work model...?).
Synergistic learning aside, I come for the people. My tribe. This powerful community who understands my journey, has my back no matter what, and who push me to be the very best version of myself. Reuniting with these precious beings (as well as meeting so many new and equally wondrous people) fuels my soul. I absolutely crave it.
The stunning setting for this cathartic love-fest was the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity. A beautiful and brilliantly designed space to escape into nature, to cultivate creativity, and to bring people together. Plus, the food! The chefs continuously created some of the most mouth-watering dishes I have ever experienced.
This conference and retreat focused heavily on the “Law of two feet”:
Stated simply, if at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing – use you two feet and move to some place more to you liking. Such a place might be another group, or even outside into the sunshine. No matter what, don’t sit there feeling miserable. The law, as stated, may sound like rank hedonism, but even hedonism has its place, reminding us that unhappy people are unlikely to be productive people. - Harrison Owen
Feel like focusing entirely on business growth? Go for it. Want to crush out a mountain hike - leave the conference behind. Need to sit by a lake to get lost in the ripples of the water? That’s an option too.
Some more out of the box “conference sessions” were a sunrise hike up Tunnel Mountain, and Laughter Yoga. Plus our closing night party featured epic karaoke and a mechanical bull. Takes the saying “work hard, play hard” to a whole new level!
As with last year’s conference in Vancouver, mental health and dismantling loneliness were hot topics of discussion. It is no secret that a major factor in creating a healthy society is the people we surround ourselves with (or lack thereof). Our community can affect our health and wellbeing even more so than the food we eat or having an active lifestyle. So I ask, are you regularly connecting with others in a real, authentic, and vulnerable way?
How do you want to feel? And in channeling Bennett (a coworking community member gone too soon), we ask “What do you want?”
What we are doing is so very important, and the impact is going so much beyond just a place to work. So what do you intend to contribute? Your community needs you.
"We are not simply renting desks, providing coffee & WiFi. It's not about the space itself. It's about what happens when we work together.
Coworking is a model and a movement.
A genuine coworking community is built intentionally, and is curated and managed to encourage engagement, and to accelerate serendipity.
We are dedicated to serving our members while animating and cultivating the community itself.
Above all else, we value collaboration over competition.
In a genuine coworking space;
We are breaking down barriers and building bridges between individuals and industries;
We are making entrepreneurship accessible;
We are inspiring and empowering our members;
We are sharing best practices and expanding our networks;
We are bringing people together and dismantling loneliness;
We are building and strengthening our communities;
We are protecting freelancer rights;
We are accelerating local economic development;
We are increasing productivity and the capacity of our member organizations;
We are ensuring the sustainability of social enterprises, independent workers and small businesses;
We are modelling reconciliation, diversity and inclusivity;
And collectively, we are shaping the future of work." - Ashley Proctor, GCUC Canada
Industry, model, movement, whatever you want to call it. When you bring together awesome people in a spirit of creativity, collaboration, and community…. the results are magical. Guaranteed.
See you all in 2019. I am already counting down the days. xo