That quotation spoke loudly to me and Kim when we were in Alaska last fall. That’s when we decided to go ahead and host our first Escape Adulthood Summit. A live event was something we’d talked about for a long time, but we were held back back by a lot of preconceived notions and, frankly, fear.
What if no one wanted to come? What if it flopped? What if we lost a lot of money?
We tend to regret the things we don’t do way more than the things we do, so we decided to listen to our hearts and give it a go.
I am happy to report that it exceeded all of our expectations.
We spent a lot of time talking, brainstorming, and planning. We wanted to bring together like-minded people and unleash their shared childlike spirit. We wanted to affirm them, inspire them, and create an atmosphere where they would inspire each other. Our goal was to infuse it with as much magic as possible.
The thing that probably touched me the most was when I stopped to consider how much trust was involved in the decision to come. I mean, we sold it as something not to miss and worked hard to make it great, but when you’ve never done anything like it before, all people have to go on is your word and their belief in you. Looking out into the eyes of thirty people from all over the country who gave up a weekend of their lives, plunked down their hard-earned money, and in some cases bought plane tickets to be a part of the Summit was so incredibly humbling.
Fortunately, it turned out great. It really was an event that was equal parts conference, retreat, and mastermind group. There was deep laughter, heartfelt tears, gripping stories, surprising aha!s, profound insights, and probably too much sugar. Yes, definitely too much sugar.
Here are a few highlights:
We were guided in our planning by the credo to “Wonka-ize” the typical conference. Naturally, we thought it would be appropriate for me to dress up as Willy Wonka and surprise the Golden Ticket-toting attendees with an opening ribbon cutting ceremony. (Thanks to the Bubble Man for contributing bubbles for everyone and the scissors engraved with the date!)
The centerpieces are alive! Each table was decked out with a live goldfish, several cans of Play-Doh, old-fashioned candy and swag bags stuffed with a t-shirt, a copy of Cheap Family Fun, and other neat stuff, like mustache straws and balloon racers.
On Saturday afternoon, everyone was encouraged to submit a topic for discussion and we spent a couple hours crowdsourcing tips, ideas, and strategies. Topics ranged from “How do you make your workplace more fun?” to “How do you deal with the Adultitis-ridden people in your life?”
A few hours before the Summit kicked off, our friend Michael reminded us that you only get one chance to experience something for the first time. With that in mind, Kim and I tried hard to be present in every moment. It was an experience that neither of us will ever forget, and it was definitely one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of in my whole life.
We couldn’t have done it without the help of our super sidekicks Sue & Jenna, and we certainly couldn’t have done it without the trust of the thirty people who said yes to a new adventure. Although we need a little time to reflect and recuperate, we are DEFINITELY doing this again.
To those of you who made the journey with us, and to those of you who rooted us on from afar…thank you.
And remember: The next time your heart speaks, listen good. Your story is about to get a bit more exciting.
P.S. Like the pictures? Here’s more.