At the end of April, I traveled to Waco, TX to join an amazing group of women at Bonnie Bakhtiari’s beautiful Illume Retreat. I first met Bonnie at the Memphis Creative at Heart Conference in November of 2016 and I was instantly drawn to her. She was quiet and contemplative, but when she had something to say, it felt like pure gold. Everything she said was heartfelt, meaningful and helpful.

After meeting her, I knew I needed to attend Illume. When registration opened for the spring 2017 retreat, Bonnie and I had a phone call to talk all about Illume and if it would be a fit for me. I couldn’t wait to attend, but I knew 2017 wasn’t in the cards, so I made it a priority for 2018.

Bonnie's office // My Top 5 Take-Aways from Illume Retreat

When I attended the Raleigh Creative at Heart Conference in August of 2017, I had another chance to connect with Bonnie. She led a vision board workshop that I took and I made sure to include Illume on my board. This vision board is still hanging in my office and each time I look at it, I’m blown away by the power of manifestation.

On this board, in addition to having a beautifully scripted “Illume”, there is a small image of a window looking onto a trellis filled with ivy. Little did I know that Magnolia Market uses similar trellises. When I returned home from the trip and I was looking at the board, I was delighted to make that connection to Waco. It felt like pure magic!

Learning from amazing biz ladies at illume // My Top 5 Take-Aways from Illume Retreat

While visiting Magnolia was a blast, it was not the highlight of the trip. The highlight was connecting with, and learning from, an amazing group of female entrepreneurs. There were 8 retreat attendees (including me) from all over the world. To top it off, Bonnie lined up amazing educators – Ashlyn Carter, Katie Selvidge, Jenna Kutcher and Shanna Skidmore (virtually) – who walked right alongside us the entire retreat. I would be remiss not to mention the beautiful Shalyn Nelson, who captured the magic of Illume on camera, and the talented Veronicka Thompson Smith, who designed all of the florals and made sure we were always fed and hydrated!

The six educators shared inspiring and thought-provoking content that spurred amazing conversations that took place over meals, early in the morning, late at night and all of the times in between. Now that I have time to process all of this amazingness, I wanted to share five takeaways with you.

A beautiful evening dinner at illume retreat // My Top 5 Take-Aways from Illume Retreat

1. You are right where you are meant to be.

I love the work I’m doing, but like so many creatives, it can be easy to get distracted by the next big idea.

While I was at Illume, I got so fired up about an idea, I was practically leaving what I have built in the dust. Over dinner, Jenna looked at me and said, “How are you going to make money with this new thing? Have you tested it? Is it something people actually want?” I didn’t have a good answer to any of her questions.

Swag bag from illume retreat // My Top 5 Take-Aways from Illume Retreat

Goodies from Illume sponsors (starting top left): Gold earrings via EM Jewelry Design | Pinch Dish via Shop Romanticist | Tee shirt via Ramble & Co | Candle, matches, art print, and mini notebook via Plumtique Waco | Hand-thrown coffee mugs via Gather Waco | Leather tassel keychains via May Designs

2. Put small changes in place to get where you want to go.

Jenna made me realize that as good as something sounds, there’s no need to drop everything that I’ve built to start something else. Instead, she urged me to keep growing my current business, add better systems and get help where I can to free up more time to work on a passion project.

Bonnie Bakhtiari welcoming us to dinner at illume retreat // My Top 5 Take-Aways from Illume Retreat

3. “There is no one measuring enough.” – Katie Selvidge

I struggle with not being enough. Not being good enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not productive enough, not making enough money, to name a few. Katie stopped me in my tracks when she said, “There is no one measuring enough.”

There is no one drawing a line in the sand and once I cross it, I’ll be enough. This measurement of what is enough is all in my head and if I don’t let go of “enough”, I’ll never get there. I’ll always be striving to be enough and it’s a dangerous place to be. Instead, embrace the now and recognize all you do have in your life.

Learning from amazing biz ladies at illume // My Top 5 Take-Aways from Illume Retreat

4. Don’t apologize for your dreams.

I am an over-apologizer, that’s for sure. I often find myself apologizing for things I didn’t do. (ex: I’m sorry you’re having a bad day.)

All of the educators emphasized the importance of not apologizing for your dreams. As a business owner, I have big dreams and goals for myself and my business.

Some of these dreams might sound crazy to others, especially if they aren’t business owners. They might not understand why I want to make a certain amount of money, join a mastermind or create a product. Because of the disconnect, I might feel the urge to apologize, but why?

Don’t apologize. Dream bigger.

lots of laughs during dinner at illume // My Top 5 Take-Aways from Illume Retreat

5. I want to build a brand, not just a business.

There is a real person behind my business and I want to connect with real people. When I create that connection, it allows me and my audience more room to change and grow.

When I started my business, I wanted to help people with social media, I did that for a bit, but I found that wasn’t for me. Because I’m working to build a brand and not just a business, I’ve been able to pivot and take my audience with me.

I want to continue to grow my brand, not just my business. I want to connect with all of you on a heart level.

my beautiful illume retreat ladies // My Top 5 Take-Aways from Illume Retreat

I hope these takeaways inspire you to keep building your brand and business your way. We are each on our own journey and we are exactly where we need to be. Illume Retreat grounded me and reminded me that I’m exactly where I need to be. I’m so appreciative to have had the opportunity to go on this retreat and meet such a beautiful group of talented biz ladies. Taking time to think and reflect on your business is key is to achieve your big dreams. I highly recommend making the investment to go on a business retreat.

A huge thanks to the talented Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons for taking all of the beautiful images!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *