the dailey method owner's retreat 2017

You'll all remember this post, where I told you about a certain hustle and how it lead to an amazing trip to California...

Well it's time to share a personal recap of those 3 days in Fairfax, CA! I joined a group of amazing men and women from all over the country for The Dailey Method Owner's Retreat 2017, having very little idea what it would all end up looking like. Emily, my main point of contact and the marketing director for TDM, gave me a list of events, a few special requests, and the freedom to document the retreat as I saw fit. 

My first experience after getting in from the airport was a Networking Expo that featured products and services from all kinds of amazing vendors. Whether it was a company that makes sugarless wine (no hangovers, y'all!), or a software for client management, the owners mixed and mingled and enjoyed all kinds of samples. 

I didn't know when I took this photo that those 4 girls are the Master Trainers for The Dailey Method -- how cool is that!   

Turns out the Dailey crew LOVE their wine (I was yet to really learn this, but there were still 3 nights ahead...), and these guys couldn't pour fast enough. 

Emily on the left, Jill in the middle (more on her later!), and Ottawa's rockstar owner, Sarah Thompson.  

It was a windy day, which made this balloon mini-shoot extra entertaining. 

Sarah, Jill, & Jamie! Ottawa proud right there <3 

After the Expo, I witnessed my first masterclass taught by Jill. She's unbelievable, and every person in that room was embracing the shake and loving the burn.

Sarah took my instagram workshop, so I'm taking credit for this break from Jill's class to do some good old social media ;)  

TDM Fairfax is HUGE. They have a giant cycle room on the other side of the building and it made for gorgeous photos!

This next part was one of my favourite events from that first day. We were treated to an inspiring presentation by The Viceroy Hotel Group. We were given a detailed case study about finding your ideal client and marketing strategically with that in mind. It was highly relevant to my industry as well, so I felt lucky to be in that room and soak up all of the info! 

After the classroom segment, the owners were split into breakout groups, each with different discussion topics. These go-getters are so full of innovative ideas and ways to improve the Dailey community.  

The Dailey crew never forgets about fuel -- the food trucks parked outside the studio made for a really easy lunch service and gave the group a chance to get outside between events.  

This next exercise reminded me of my time in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for the Making Things Happen Conference. The owners entered the barre studio to see large poster boards with 8-10 questions on each. The questions would be things like:

What type of music inspires you?

What's your favourite way to wake up in the morning?
What are you grateful for?
What are you worried about?

This session was really inspirational and left much of the group full of emotion. It's important to understand that when you're running a business it's not unusual to feel alone, or like you could be doing more, or that you're incapable of getting to a place you dream of.

One of The Dailey Method mantras is to "always be a student." When I showed this picture to Jill, she said exactly that. 

The owners were drained, emotionally and mentally. 

I am familiar with that feeling of being overwhelmed with new information and feeling as though your brain needs to sleep. Another round of classes was about to begin and I heard a few people say they were simply too exhausted to workout. Of course all it took was another owner to say, "you'll feel better after you take class," to change their mind.  

At the end of class, when we take our hands to prayer and thank ourselves for treating our bodies well, I looked around the room and saw smiles. Not just ordinary happy smiles, but proud ones. Inspired ones. Brave ones. 

And that was the perfect way to wrap the day. 

Jill treated everyone to cocktails and delicious food at Cucina It was a little bit strange to see the group in something other than yoga pants!

I forced her to take this photo below because I think she's freaking amazing. She has a light inside of her that fills up the whole room and it was a wonderful gift to be near her. When I envisioned this trip, where I'd be staying in Jill's personal guesthouse I thought she would give me a key, say a quick hello, and that would be that. 

I never expected to develop a friendship. We stayed up late (sometimes her idea, sometimes mine) and formed a bond that I will forever be grateful for. 

And if you ever have the opportunity to be in Fairfax, yourself a favour and take Jill's 8:45am barre class.   

On the last day of the retreat, the focus was on cycle. Shauna and Lynette, the master cycle trainers, spoke beautifully about new technology, approach, and execution. We did a few "cycle headshots" before everyone headed back to their respective cities. 

I would be remiss if I didn't share a few photos from that morning's hike, and I think it's the perfect place to end this recap post. 

In the kitchen that morning, while putting on running shoes instead of my usual gladiator sandals, I asked Jill, "so what's this hike going to be like?"

"You'll be fine," she said. "It's a walk."

But apparently a Jill Dailey "walk" means something else entirely. By the first few minutes I knew it was a terrible mistake to have gone with a group of fitness trainers hiking up a mountain. 

HELLO. I mean, a fitness trainer I am not.

When we hit a steep patch and it didn't end for close to 20 minutes, I decided that this is where I would live the rest of my life. I asked Sarah if the route would take everyone back down this way once they hit the top. No, she said, it's a loop. OH GOOD.  

I pushed myself until I could no longer get enough air into my asthmatic lungs, stopping the group so that I could use an inhaler. We stopped for a few minutes and then forged on. I will never forget how from that point on, we seemed to be going downhill. The place where I had stopped to take a breather was the highest point on our hike.

I felt inadequate in those moments when we were stopped, not knowing that I had actually done it. I was standing at the highest point while internally beating myself up about it... 

And what a metaphor that is for being a business owner. 

When you're in the toughest part of something difficult, the break could be just one step further. Feelings of inadequacy will happen, but you cannot let them mask the success. If I could go back and re-live this day, I would still have stopped to give my lungs a minute to catch up, but I would have pushed aside the thoughts that I was incapable and replaced them pride.   

When I look back on my time in California, the word that I hold dear to my heart is "proud." I am proud of this opportunity and of all the steps that were taken to make it possible. 

In the days following the retreat, I spent some time alone in San Francisco. I walked for hours and tried to see every view I could get my hands on. And on the very last day, as I watched the sun setting over the Golden Gate bridge during a Bay Area boat tour, I was overwhelmed with the thought that this is where my life has taken me.

If I had stayed still, working as a legal assistant and staring at the 3 cubicle walls, I would have never been here. Instead, every tiny step of push, hustle, adds up. 

If you dream of changing your world, then take a step. And then take a hundred more. Because they add up. It's pretty magical when you find yourself exactly where you dreamed of being. 

To everyone who made this possible: 
Sarah, Jamie, Jill, Emily -- I love you all so much. 
To the owners who made me feel welcome -- thank you! It was a delight to
get to know you and photograph your beautiful faces.
And to my amazing husband, who handled pick-up and drop-off for 
the week I spent travelling, I love you. Thank you for making this so easy for me. 

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