The unexpected results of an in-person event
After hosting Brule Breakers Brunch last Saturday, I slept 10 hours that night.
Today I’m sharing some raw, unfiltered, somewhat still in-process reflections on my first-of-its-kind event in New Hampshire.
It was fabulous.
I got to give a speech I’d been working on for a while, “testing” it on a real audience during which there were nodding heads, smiles, yeses, and even some tears. Conversations followed over lunch: sharing dreams, lessons learned, wisdom gained, discussions about self-trust, self-inquiry, and ah-has about why we do what we do.
Everyone who came traveled from out-of-state – including me. People made the trip from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine in order to attend, in New Hampshire.
You might be wondering, “Why then was the event in New Hampshire, Tara?”
The event took place in New Hampshire because, back in May, a woman who lives there reached out to me, more than once, to share how much she loves my book, that she recommends it to people all the time, and that if I were to head her way she’d “definitely come by!”
“I hope to meet you one day!” she wrote. “Your story inspires.” “If you do a workshop up this way, I will invite the tribe up here.” She went on to say, she’s “happy to play host.”
I ran a few workshop ideas by her, offering to customize a program specific to “her tribe” – one of which was my idea for Brule Breakers Brunch.
Her: “Omg, I LOVE the idea. I’m super excited about this.”
So, we picked a date, hashed out a plan, and, after exploring a few possible venues, I put a deposit down on a space for the event. She said drumming up a group of 20 people, to include her and her daughter, “feels easy.” She listed several groups and organizations: business membership clubs, professional organizations, co-working community, faculty groups, parent groups, her friend circle… all places we can promote the event.
She said to let her know if I need anything. Even offered the option of crashing in her guest room. She said a sold out event is “on her manifesting list” and that she “could see it already.”
It all sounded perfect. An entrepreneur/author’s dream, honestly. I mean, what’s better than an enthusiastic fan of your work reaching out, excited and eager to promote and bring people together for your cameo in their town?
Flattered, honored, and excited about the opportunity, I made plans accordingly to be in Exeter, New Hampshire – a trip I wouldn’t otherwise be making. Promptly, I began to get the word out about the event to the people in my network.
A few weeks passed and I didn’t hear from her. That is, until she wrote to tell me she can’t help much and that she’s “not getting paid for this event and does not have a financial interest.”
Eager to get event info to the groups and organizations she’d mentioned so that they could invite their members to join us, I asked about this multiple times, but my request went unacknowledged.
Two and a half more weeks of silence followed, until, two weeks prior to the event, she wrote to say that she was “striking out” with people in her circles and that she hopes I’m getting some registrations.
With the event now eleven days away, I reminded her that there’s still time to make outreach efforts and get the word out to people in her community.
“I hope you have a great event and enjoy the visit” she quickly replied, and wished me “best of luck.”
She didn’t even attend.
Now, to be clear, I am not at all sorry I went. I decided early on that even if only one person registered, I was going to give that person an amazing experience. While the final count resulted in a smaller group of attendees than I’d originally hoped (all of whom were people from my network willing to make the trip to New Hampshire), it was nonetheless a great event and everyone there thanked me and let me know how much they enjoyed it and that they got a lot out of it.
AND – none of this negates the fact that I find few things more infuriating than dismissive disrespect of my time and blatant disregard for one’s own sense of integrity and accountability, especially when there’s unapologetic regard for the ways in which this impacts other people.
It could, perhaps, be argued that the lesson learned here is to always have a binding contract agreement in place when working collaboratively with other people. While valid, and contracts absolutely have their place, I don’t think they necessarily deter or prevent such things from happening.
I think what contracts do best is, by putting everything in writing, they help prevent misunderstandings later. But what they don’t do is prevent disrespect. Respect isn’t something that happens because of a contract, it happens because of an ethic.
I love collaborating with people, and will do it again without hesitation.
My work in the world is growing, every day, an extension of my heart and mind.
I am creating spaces for people to question assumptions, see new possibilities, break free of unhelpful habits, and become the biggest boldest freest version of themselves.
Be it by reading my books, attending in-person events, or through my online programs, I want everyone who experiences my work to feel empowered to show up, explore, learn about themselves and discover new aspects of what their dreams and desires reveal about them and what’s possible.
This includes those I collaborate with, in any capacity.
Of course things don’t always unfold perfectly or always happen the way we envisioned them in our head. When things aren’t going the way you hoped or planned, what matters to me is that you still show up.
Especially in moments when you don’t think you’re good enough, doing enough, or that you’re failing to meet expectations, we all need reminders that we don’t need to do it perfectly.
Whether as a colleague or a client, in the work we do together, I don’t need you to do it perfectly, I just need you to show up, to be in the (literal or figurative) room.
You don’t need to have everything figured out all the time, but I do need you to be open, in communication, self-responsible, and trying.
As I look ahead to future opportunities, my commitment to this work has only strengthened.
If you want to see me in your town, I would be honored by an invitation. I encourage you to reach out so that I can customize something for YOUR “tribe” and bring a fabulous, fun, transformative, brule-breaking presentation, workshop, or retreat to your area.
With so much love,
PS – Contact me and let me know where you live and how many people you think would attend if I were to visit your town. Perhaps you’re part of an organization that has guest speakers, or you’re part of a book club that would love a visit from an author, or you’re a member of a co-working community that’s eager to host a brule-breaking networking night, or maybe you’re someone who is happy to host and loves bringing people together for special events. Either way, reach out and let’s explore the possibilities together to create something wonderful!