Exploring vulnerability with NAWBO in Spokane

It is often said that one conversation can change your life. Now, what if you threw a whole pile of those one conversations together over the course of five days?

*cue brain implosion*

Recently, I ventured off to Spokane, Washington to assist with social media coverage for the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (NAWBO) annual Women’s Business Conference. While I have been involved with creating social media content for this organization for a few years now, my expectations were wildly off when it came to being present in the thick of it at this live event.

 
 Your #NAWBOWBC social media rockstars!

Your #NAWBOWBC social media rockstars!

 

This conference brought up a whole mixed bag of thoughts and feelings for me. An overriding theme of the event was one of finding the ideal environment that cultivates your flow and zone of genius. Whether it is physical space, the people you surround yourself with, or the thoughts running rampant through your head, know that you are a sacred being and you must do everything in your power to protect that.

A most lovely sentiment, however one in which I seem to violate on the daily.

In the first couple of days, meeting many inspiring and ambitious women from all over the US had my sights set on learning and on fun. A walking wine tour, visiting local businesses, and early morning city tours allowed us to connect and to explore ourselves and our surroundings outside of the business environment.

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 Credit: Trisha Barita

Credit: Trisha Barita

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And then shit got real with our first keynote. Elizabeth Gilbert took the stage, and even before she uttered a single word, I was a hot crying mess. This mega fan has been hungrily following her heart-breakingly beautiful journey for some time. While commonly known for her best-seller, “Eat, Pray, Love”, it was her most recent book, “Big Magic” that had held me captive. 

 
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She spoke of prioritizing what really matters to you (and not the looming inbox count), setting boundaries, and embodying mysticism. Her big message to us all was to let go and to RELAX, as the most relaxed person in the room is the one with all the power.

“What are you willing to give up in order to have the life you are pretending to want?” - Elizabeth Gilbert

A surprise hit for me, was the Public Speaking breakout session with Allison Shapira. You can throw me on a stage to perform, and I will dance my little heart out. But ask me to actually talk in front of people?! Enter, my worst nightmare. Somehow, Allison managed not only to deliver great tips on speaking confidently to a group, she actually made me want to do it. And do it often (what kind of operatic voodoo magic does this folky songstress possess??).

 
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While her tangible takeaways were incredibly useful, it was more the life advice that got me jazzed up. Again, we saw the theme of passion, purpose, and vulnerability as she suggested that the strength of your voice need match the strength of your words.

“When you give up perfection, and embrace authenticity, you have a powerful impact on others” - Allison Shapira


Next up, was Shabnam Mogharabi, CEO of SoulPancake. I have hungrily consumed their content for years. Their videos truly were a turning point in my life (and some are featured in past blogs if you dig back through the years far enough). They encouraged me to dream, to be my most positive self, and to spread that joy as far as I can.

 
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Shabnam masterfully moved the room to tears on more than one occasion with her messages of the deep need to live a life of gratitude, authenticity, meaning human connections, taking risks, and of finding one’s voice. She was able to remind me of some of my “why’s” and my innate superpowers that I had somehow forgotten along the way.

“A small shift in perspective allows you to see something that was previously out of view” - Shabnam Mogharabi

 
 The lovely International delegates: representing Canada (yay me!), Mexico, and Sweden

The lovely International delegates: representing Canada (yay me!), Mexico, and Sweden

 

From these talks and the other speakers’ content, to some of the challenging yet heartfelt conversations with fellow attendees, my head and heart were in overdrive.

I was able to realize that too often I do what is what is easy. I stay small to avoid taking risks or getting hurt.

In previous relationships (romantic, or otherwise) I have been told that I was not enough or more often that I was too much. Too loud. Too thin. Too energetic. Too fast. Too intense. Too vanilla. Too goofy. Too excited. Too emotional. Too talkative. Too silly.

I say, Too bad.

I have my own special brand of magic. And I am reclaiming my power to live big. Don’t like it? Unfortunately, that is on you as I choose to live my biggest, brightest life. #sothere

If you have been following my adventures on Instagram for any time now, you will know I am a lover of quotes. As within this blog, I often use quotes that resonate with me; quotes that say the words I am not always able to form on my own.

So here’s to new beginnings. To finding our voices and to living large. The world needs that sparkle that only we can bring to it. I love my unofficial role as mentor, connector, and all around mood booster. So we’re going to be seeing a heck of a lot more of that going forward.

 
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Dear Spokane, the beauty and history of your fine city are absolutely breathtaking. Keep preserving the past, while you create a solid foundation for your future.

 
 Credit: Griselda Quezada-Chavez

Credit: Griselda Quezada-Chavez

 

To my dear friend Margaret, to SocializeLA, and to NAWBO, I am eternally grateful for this incredible opportunity to serve, and to grow. Thank you for believing in this spunky gal from Canada, and for pushing me to think bigger to become the best I can be.

Cheers to us all creating some Big Magic. Now, let’s watch the story unfold…

“No one ever left a legacy by doing what everyone else was doing” - Dr Patricia Greene

Where do you need support in reaching your dreams? What kind of legacy will you choose to leave?

 
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Official event photo galleries can been seen on Karianne Munstedt Portrait