Oh my word!  What an amazing week I have had.  This week has been the culmination of so many things for me professionally and personally.  I’m experiencing several emotions as I compose this post, but the two front-runners are elated and relieved.

I’ll be honest…I was really afraid to step out and do this workshop.  

The scary thing about deciding to do a workshop is obvious – what if no one signs up.  Once they did (BIG sigh of relief), I became apprehensive about what I planned to share and how it would be received. I wasn’t only going to share practical business information, but I decided to share extremely personal information about my own business; past mistakes, past triumphs, even financials (yeah, we went there). Every attendee received every form that I use in my business and we dissected all my processes in an effort to help them refine their own.  Talk about putting yourself under the microscope!  When you advertise your workshop as being “no-nonsense” you have to embrace transparency to the MAX.  And boy, did we!

Thankfully, this workshop rookie had the BEST and most AMAZING group of REFINERS who were eager and hungry to learn, who had open hearts and were ready for change, and who took a major leap of faith attending this new workshop of mine.  I am grateful.  So grateful that these fabulous people trusted me to become a part of their journey.

We had 14 amazing attendees, with half being from California.  Our other attendees traveled to San Diego from Utah, Arizona, Virginia, West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maine.  Can I just say that it blows my mind that people got on a plane and flew all the way to CA to learn from me?!  Such a total honor.  And the fact that everyone who attended not only invested in their businesses financially, but took the time away from their families and current jobs – I think the realization of this left me with a feeling of immense responsibility to give them everything I could.  And I did.

To my first REFINE attendees:  You will always have a special place in my heart.  I am so grateful for your belief in me and your belief in what I do. Thank you for being genuine, for opening yourselves up, for allowing me to teach you and for teaching me new things as well.  You are precious people.  Each of you.  Let your lights shine!  The world needs you.

Stephanie – I am PROUD of you.  You did something big this week.  Do NOT shrink because you feel unworthy or unready.  Its okay that you are starting from scratch, we all do.  You can do this.  I believe in you 110%.

Lindsay – aka “Rachel”. ; )  You are so confident.  Let that shine because it unconsciously gives others permission to be confident as well.  I can’t wait to see what you do in the next few months as you grow your business.  I am truly excited for you.

Diane – the veteran of the group both in age and experience.  Can I just say that I hope I am half as brave and tenacious as you when I’m 70?  For you to get on a plane, fly cross-country, and fearlessly join a group of mostly-millennial wedding planners – wow!  You were an inspiration to us all and your experience and insight were so valuable.  I cannot wait for our coaching session!

Steven – the only dude of our group and you OWNED it!  : )  You’re questions and conversation-starters were great and your positive attitude was so contagious.  Thank you for having such a great attitude and for not letting a group of mostly type-A women intimidate you (haha)!

Alicia – I am so happy that you won the certification scholarship through WEI because you WANT this. You asked so many great questions and I can see that you are so ready to take that next big leap.  I am so excited to see you grow over the next year!

Cheryl – my coaching client/turned REFINER/turned friend.  I don’t think it was by accident our paths crossed.  To watch your confidence grow in the 6 months that I’ve known you while your business has become so successful – such an absolute joy!  I want to remind you that you don’t need anything to stand out. Just be you and provide a great service and I promise you will!

Renee – You are such a leader; such an intelligent and witty person. You’re going to kill it.  And by “it” I literally mean anything you decide to do.  You’ll kill it.  Please start making videos because even though you mentioned feeling really nervous about it, I think women would really connect with you.

Beky – I think what you were seeking more than anything by attending my workshop was a confidence boost – validation that leaving photography for wedding planning was a good decision and that you weren’t doing the whole wedding planning thing wrong – and I think that’s exactly what you got.  Now you have new tools to help your business improve.  Watch out world!

Meg – It means so much to me that you were willing to invest in this experience.  You are such a JOYFUL person, so kind to everyone.  I love your positive spirit!  So excited that you are officially joining my team as an intern!  YAY! : )

Sierra – It was so good to put a face with all the LIKE and COMMENTS!  : )  Thank you for all your support and encouragement!  The fact that you took this MAJOR leap before evening starting your business…what an advantage you have!  Take everything you’ve learned, make it your own, and do this thang!  I’m cheering you on.

Graciela – Your love for God and people is beautiful.  I am SO happy that you were able to attend this week.  I know how excited you were that everything worked out so that you could be there (shout out to answered prayers AND your husband for surprising you with this)!  You are going to be so successful in your business because you lead with your heart.

Candace – As our lone photographer, I’m sure you learned a ton about how us wedding planners do things (ha!).  Thank you for contributing your different perspective and for being so positive and helpful.  Who knew our 30-day video blogging challenge two years ago would finally lead to THIS?!  It was so nice getting to know you better! xo

Katie – Our youngest and quietest attendee, I could see that you were soaking it all in while ferociously taking notes.  While you aren’t new to the wedding industry, the idea of going out on your own and starting your own business is new and scary – believe me, I know!  You are so ahead of the cusp already – you should be so proud!

Monica – Thank you for not throwing me under the bus after Steven asked you if my offline persona and online persona align (lol)! ; ) I truly appreciate you and value you so much.

To REFINE’s partner and sponsors (it takes a village and mine was PHENOMENAL):

Pictilio – Thank you for the documenting this experience for us all.  I cannot tell you enough how GORGEOUS the images are and how grateful I am for your support.  You and your beautiful wife inspire me.

The Yodsukar’s – Thank you for ALSO documenting this experience via video!  I cannot wait to see the highlights you’re creating for us!  Rich, you are rad and Christine, I haven’t met someone as quirky as me in a long time.  I seriously adore you both.

Tim King – Your insight about unique social media marketing – amazing.  We all decided to swear more via social media as a result. ; )  Thank you for sharing with us; your talk was so beneficial and everyone really enjoyed the interesting ideas you presented!

Cathy Olson – As if standing on stage for 90 minutes at 8 1/2 months pregnant weren’t impressive enough, you blew our socks off with amazing branding information.  Thank you so much for sharing your genius with us.

Kylie Carlson – Your expertise was so beneficial for everyone, especially those interested in becoming certified (which was everyone expect those currently attending WEI).  Thank you for taking the time to speak to this group and for awarding a scholarship to one of our lucky attendees!

Matthew Wengerd – Everyone raved about the escort card/letter-pressed program combo, the inspiration desk card and the notebooks – and rightly so!  Thank you for your creativity and sharing it with our group.

Tam Ashworth – You and your team are hands down the most generous and helpful people.  The florals were EXACTLY what I expected them to be.  Thank you for always saying yes, always coming through, always supporting me.  I am so blessed to have you in my corner.

Liese Gardner – For all your help, emails, phone calls in promoting REFINE, thank you.  I am beyond grateful for your help in putting the word out there about this workshop and believing in both it and me.

Lauren Bonahoom – To you, Jeremy, and the entire staff at the W Hotel San Diego – thank you for taking care of us and attending to all our needs as REFINE made the W our home for two days.  I so appreciate you all.

AnnaMae Ouimet – The personal touch of your beautiful calligraphy made everyone feel special.  Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

Tim Altbaum and Matt Roush – A frantic email to you led to zero stress where AV was concerned.  Thank you for being there to save the day!

To everyone else who sent love online and offline: I sincerely love and appreciate you.  Your interest in who I am and what I do and your devoted support are never taken for granted.

Date and location of the next REFINE (eeeeeekkk!!!!!) will be announced soon!

xoxo!
Alison

Again, beautiful images by PICTILIO.