Go Big or Go Bust: #WAW2015 and The Power of Groups

I’ve spent more than a couple of Christmases at home alone at my desk. Not that I’m complaining, The Louise Log has rarely felt like work. But so a social life has always been pushed to the bottom of my schedule.

So when my pal Veronica James recommended that I join her at the annual weekend retreat of Women At Woodstock, with a group of women (mostly) over 50, I hesitated. It’s risky to a) spend money to go to a conference and b) to take time away from what feels like a mountain of projects I want to get to.

All Veronica, an extremely hard-working and effective (but fun) person, had to say was: “Come. It’s really good.”

 Veronica James, author of "Going Gypsy", during her talk "Getting Your Website The Attention It Deserves"

Veronica James, author of "Going Gypsy", during her talk "Getting Your Website The Attention It Deserves"

And so I went. And I wasn’t disappointed. There were authors, career coaches, a photographer, a website designer/social media marketing expert, bloggers, a tarot card reading life coach, a financial adviser, a pharmaceutical saleswoman, two dating and relationship coaches, an elected official and more. It was such a mixed group that it sort of felt like a campfire on the beach -  no pecking order, no competition.  

There were workshops and talks as well as lots of time for having a real conversation with almost everybody. It felt like a weekend with friends of a friend … which is actually what #WAW sprang out of, when Ann Voorhees Baker was going through a divorce after a long marriage and invited a group of friends, who didn’t know each other, to a cabin in the woods.

The atmosphere of support and honesty, of sharing knowledge and encouragement, with people revealing their dreams and their doubts, asking for feedback, asking for help. It was truly moving.  It was also inspiring. And it seems like it could even prove to be materially valuable.

 the only selfie moment of the weekend

the only selfie moment of the weekend

 With Patty Chang Anker author of "Some Nerve" who did a workshop "What Are You Afraid Of?"

With Patty Chang Anker author of "Some Nerve" who did a workshop "What Are You Afraid Of?"