Back in September of 2018, I made note of an event happening in LA that October. I had just launched my start-up, a platform specifically designed for women in midlife, Kuel Life. At the time I was working with a dear friend, Robin. We both had felt like we were living loud, colorful lives and then ‘poof’ we were erased; turned invisible. This event, FierceCon, created by Catherine GraceO, seemed to speak to just that… it billed itself as a ‘connection’ not a ‘conference’. I was intrigued.
I set my sights for 2019. I knew that I’d be ready; that Kuel Life would be more ‘cooked’. By then I’d have something to offer the women in attendance. A year is a long time in the world of a start-up. The Kuel Life that existed in 2018 barely resembled itself one year later. The machinations of the hows and whats it took to show up in LA last month are not important for the sake of this piece.
What is important?
I showed up ready to give, give, give… to showcase my fledgling start-up as THE platform where the collective power of women reside. I was prepared to tout the benefits of a repository of knowledge relevant to us – women in our Second Act. I was excited to share the shopping experience I had personally curated to promote women-owned brands. It’s not that I didn’t feel as if I accomplished this; I did. But, I was gifted so much more than I gave. That was unexpected.
What do I mean?
Yes; there were SWAG bags with pretty good stuff in them. I myself got to bring inspirational tokens from key2Bme for each of the women. That is true. But the gifts I received do not fit in any container. They fill up my soul and heart. They keep my spirits lifted, daily, in unexpected moments.
I walked in to the Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach & Marina on Friday morning, October 25th, a virtual stranger and left Monday night on a red-eye with 80ish new compatriots.
How does that happen?
The experience is unlike any other I’ve had. I’ve done the ‘intense, physical challenges in martial arts, four-day, train 8 hours a day, with your fellow training partners’ thing. Yes; those are bonding experiences. This was different. The challenges facing us all were more esoteric… some of us carry childhood wounds, some health limitations, some grief over the loss of loved ones. All of us have challenges. Each of us brought that with: to unpack it: share it; unburden ourselves; to teach and be taught; to rise stronger together like a phoenix from the ashes.
There was some formal programming; amazing inspiring women. I walked away from Jennifer Dulski’s speech, the first woman to ever sell a business to Google and the founder of Change.org, knowing that I am at the inception of a movement – to re-define midlife for women. And, that the women standing to my left and right, my Kuel Life Party (Becky Kueker, Lori Roach, and Kim Fauquenot) were right there to make sure I don’t give up or mess up.
There was some ‘fun’ and functional programming as well. I think we all learned quite a bit from Jacqueline Depauls’ ‘Projecting Confidence Mastermind’. I apply the lessons received in that session every day.
Where did the magic transformation happen? Was it at breakfast, before the official beginning of the day when various coteries of women gathered for coffee – always making room at the table for another sister? Was it during the BeachSide Chats (nope, not on THE beach so don’t fret about sand or sunscreen) where we sat and listened to real women shed their shields; bare their souls and impart wisdom to an eager, you could hear a pin drop, awaiting gathering of women? Was it the Saturday night gala; replete with photo taking, cocktails, dancing and laughter?
I am unsure.
I wager to bet the magic was woven in between those moments. The moments of being randomly hugged; the moments of one woman telling another woman that ‘they too had a similar experience; that they got it’; the moments of tears upon realizing just how similar we all are… that the ‘woman condition’ can be shared: the joys, the burdens, the tragedies, the triumphs. Where one of us began and the other ended blurred for me over the course of the three days. In a small way I ‘lost’ my individuality, my alone, and melded with the power and strength of my sisters.
I am not telling you that everyone should attend this weekend.
However, if you are curious; if you believe you are on the cusp of greatness (your own personal greatness); if you are willing to be fearful and do it anyway; then please join us. If 80 or so of us changed the gravitational pull of the earth for a moment in time; think about the ride with double, triple that number.
I want to show up again ready to give, give, give and fly home filled with lightness, love, and gratitude resplendent with the collective power of women.