“A rising tide lifts all boats.”*
A few months ago, I took a leap for myself. Being a creative entrepreneur, life can be a bit lonely. I’m not in an office with other people and my family doesn’t want to hear all the ins and outs of my business every day. Sometimes, you just need to know you’re on the right path…or maybe that you are NOT on the right path and here’s how to fix that. You want to be encouraged, inspired, and feel there are people who have your back. In a competitive industry, this is hard to find.
I heard about The Rising Tide Society online and loved the idea behind it. Creative entrepreneurs coming together to foster community over competition. To my surprise, I discovered we had a chapter right here in Burlington, led by Sara-Anne of Sara-Anne Photography. So, there it was…an opportunity. Would I go? What if I didn’t fit in? What if it was a bunch of cut-throat, competitive and mean spirited women? I’m being real here. It’s scary to put yourself out there, especially when you don’t know what will come of it. But, I’ve always been a risk taker. No, maybe not the daredevil some people are, but I’ve always pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do and often beyond what I wanted to do. Surely I could muster up the gumption to attend a meeting!?! Right?
I went. I remember feeling so taut with tension…and willing myself to relax, to breathe. Guess what? I survived. Ha! And I liked it. So, I kept going, slowly putting names to faces and faces to businesses. But relationships? Not yet. I saw some of them had already known each other awhile or had the connection of downtown locations. Again, that creeping sensation of “I’ll never fit in” tried to worm its way into my soul. I told myself, “You’ll never have the relationships if you don’t keep trying. Just keep going.”
Then, a retreat was announced. Without a second thought, I signed up to go. Then, the second thoughts came. Go on a retreat?! Are you insane? Spend two nights with women you don’t know?! What if it’s horrible? What if…what if…what if…
Yeah, what if. But, wait. What if you make friends? What if you come away renewed? What if it’s fun?
I came home from the retreat yesterday.
My mind is still processing all the conversations and discussions. I am still laughing out loud over the misadventure I had with two young ladies when we tried to drive back to our cabin after dinner and the GPS decided we needed a backwoods tour of the Blue Ridge…in the dark…on gravel roads. I tried to tell them that gravel road was not a good idea. “But the GPS says…”
However, if they’d listened to me, we would not have the memory of that LONG, dark, creepy trip back. I would not have laughed so hard my stomach hurt. We would not have the incredible hashtag #uptheravine. The young lady driving was freaking out at one point and asked me, “How can you be laughing right now?” I replied, “At this point, it’s either laugh or cry and I choose to laugh. Because, seriously, this is so ridiculous, it’s hilarious.” I knew we were making a memory. I am bonded with those girls for life now. We made it back. We remember the harrowing ride…the humor…the fear; the car facing the sky as it bravely tried to scale a mountain and failed. We remember the laughter.
Honestly, our group was such a fantastic mix of personalities and talents. We shared our high and low points, our doubts and fears and our hopes and dreams. We encouraged. We rallied around one another. We were taught and creatively stretched. And those relationships I was waiting (and hoping) for? Well, they happened. Organically. Naturally. It’s the beginning of something. It’s our rising tide…and I’m happy to be one of the little boats rising with it.