Once Upon a Time…
I traveled to Costa Rica to embark on a weeklong leadership and business retreat with 15 ambitious and accomplished female leaders from across the globe.
Each of us had been called into the experience by a beloved teacher and mentor as part of a mastermind journey we were collectively participating in. And while we’d minimally interacted with each other online in the few months leading up to the trip, this would be the first time we’d finally meet face-to-face.
Prior to leaving, I was excited and looking forward to an amazing adventure, but I was also feeling unsettled, slightly intimidated, and a bit skeptical - I honestly had little idea of what to expect.
Many of these women were light years ahead of me in their businesses. And as a sensitive introvert with a preference for a ton of personal space, I was stressing over sharing a room with some random woman I’d never met.
I was also psychologically preparing myself for the inevitable drama that was sure to creep in with so many ladies in such close quarters, for such a lengthy period of time.
Things were bound to get a little catty, complicated or otherwise uncomfortable somewhere along the way, weren’t they?
I worked seriously hard to manage my expectations, preconceived notions, and judgments in advance.
A few new fun friends, I thought. Maybe, just maybe, a great business connection or a creative partnership would emerge. But if I walked away with nothing more than some refreshed marketing strategies, a few pictures of the jungle, and a couple of ideas on how to scale my revenues over the next few years, I would be one very happy Costa Rican camper.
Of course, there was a part of me that always intuitively knew that it would be a meaningful experience on a deeper level from the outset, which is why I signed up in the first place. Yet nothing, and I mean NOTHING, could have prepared me for the depth, intensity, and magic that ensued.
The Commencement of the Courtship
As it turned out, I was the first to arrive at the retreat centre.
My room wasn’t ready when I got there, but on the heels of four flights and a Canadian winter, I was pretty pleased to promptly plant myself by the infinity pool while I eagerly (but somewhat anxiously) awaited the arrival of the other women.
One by one, they began to trickle in throughout that sun-drenched afternoon. Getting acquainted, we spent time cooing over photos of each other’s children, partners, and fur babies.
As that first day progressed and we sat down to dinner, I felt something shifting in me. In many ways, I was surprised at how quickly any trepidation melted away and how easily I softened into their presence. Within a few short hours, I began to settle into the realization that this was going to be a monumental and life-altering experience. Really, how couldn’t it be?
I was in the promised land of Pura Vida immersed in a collective of wise-hearted women doing soul-centred, mission-driven work in the world. And, it certainly didn’t hurt that I'd actually been paired with the dreamiest and most delightful roommate ever.
But even then I had no idea how fully and completely my reality was about to be rocked, my perspectives forever shifted, and my horizons expanded beyond my wildest imaginations.
The Royal Reckoning
As entrepreneurs will do, we were soon jamming on success mindset, sales funnels, website copy, client issues, and business structures.
But as women will do, it didn’t take long before we were dishing on our mothers, lovers, siblings, and daddies, which so naturally evolved into earnest conversations on the topics of love, loss, health, happiness, abuse, abandonment, and Ryan Gosling.
As the week went on,we danced salsa,jumped off cliffs (literally and figuratively),and floated on water beneath blankets of stars.
We nourished our bodies, minds, and spirits with movement and intention in the salty sea air.
We shared secrets and declared our truest wishes under the new moon.
We called in our ancestors and paid tribute to painful pasts in the presence of a priestess.
There was belly-busting laughter and gut-wrenching surrender.
Old stories were unraveled and eternal truths unearthed.
There was unfurling, unfolding, and at times, complete undoing.
In the fire of vulnerability and the heat of fierce, but humble hearts, something sacred was divinely co-created.
As we each simultaneously stepped fully into the power of our individual sovereignty and our shared sisterhood, every single woman was celebrated, supported, and very wholly seen.
And this is TRuly how queens are born.
The Majesty of Feminine Leadership
Ultimately, the keys to queendom are readily available to each and every woman who is a stand for sisterhood, shared success, and authentic empowerment in the world.
So while I now like to recognize my official coronation as happening in the heart of Central America surrounded by goddesses, in reality, we actively claim our crowns in every moment we courageously embrace opportunities for deep connection, genuine compassion, and meaningful contribution.
In this realm, there is little space for control, comparison, or competition.
Queens don't compel with an aim to conquer.
Queens invite with intention to empower.
And unlike the kingdoms so many of us have passed through along our heroine journeys - prestige, profits, and position hold little meaning in our pursuit for dominion over domination.
As queens, we reject drama and disparagement, turning our backs on bitchiness and belittlement.
We encourage others to stand tall in their truths and shine their brightest lights to realize their greatest potential.
We readily applaud the achievements and accolades of the women around us, while consistently and consciously looking for ways to enhance, expand, and expedite their continued success.
Most importantly, we recognize that our impact in the world is only amplified and intensified as more queens are revealed and revered as such.
Only through a collective commitment to the expansion of feminine leadership can we continue to breathe energy and life into Bella Abzug's profound prediction: "In the twenty-first century, women will change the nature of power, rather than power changing the nature of women.”