Life happens in seasons. We all know that. Even Charles Dickens knew that there are best of times and worst of times. I think it’s pretty safe to say that for many people the last year (few years?) could easily be counted as part of those “worst of times.” But for me, and maybe for you as well, the struggles began long before 2020.
In fact, I can trace a lot of issues back as far back as 2017. The severity of my husband’s addiction came to light. I started a new job after almost a decade in my previous position. And my son began the interview process for a shockingly competitive elementary school in our New Jersey town.
By the end of that year, I was approaching my wits’ end. I reached out to one of my best friends and said just that.
“It’s been a rough year, and I feel like I just need a few days away to reorganize my thoughts and make plans for the upcoming year.”
Like any good friend, there was really only one appropriate response: LET’S DO IT.
We didn’t set out to create a retreat for others to enjoy. That first one was just for us. But by the end of that first weekend together, we agreed immediately – we had to open this up for other women. As we thought about it, we came to the conclusion that we couldn’t be the only woman struggling to balance everything we want to do with all the obstacles that life threw our way.
And with that, Pairings Retreat was born.
Then 2020 happened.
After how incredibly nourishing the previous years of retreats had been for us, we didn’t want to let anything (including distance and a pandemic) keep us from figuring a way to make it happen for 2021. (Thankfully, we were able to get our 2020 retreat in just before the madness kicked into high gear.)
We knew some form of video conferencing would help (Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.), but we also knew we didn’t want to spend three full days in front of our screens. So, Lizzie and I worked together to create a hybrid schedule, where we bounced back and forth between working on our own in our spaces and meeting together online.
Without a doubt, it was different than the previous years had been, but I’m thankful to say it ended up being just as productive and revitalizing.
I’ve always believed in this little retreat of ours. Pairings 2021: Virtual Edition only reminded me how powerful taking a time out from life can be.
Make no mistake; I know how privileged I am that any kind of time out is even possible. But I am also even more passionate about the fact that if there is ANY way to do it, you should. And I hope you consider Pairings 2022 – which will likely be some form of hybrid in-person and virtual affair – if there is a way for you.
There are a bunch of retreats out there. Why would you choose Pairings over any of them? So. Many. Reasons.
As much as the idea of hundreds of women taking advantage of what we have to offer sounds lovely, Lizzie and I decided up front that we wanted at least the in-person retreat to stay small. We want to help foster relationships, whether it be with your new best friend or your new business partner. And we want those relationships to be part of what helps you get through the year with positivity and accountability.
The purpose of Pairings has always been to help us figure out how to continue on the path toward our goals despite the obstacles that life can create. But we realize that despite our best intentions, sometimes those obstacles don’t leave us much choice. And sometimes that’s okay. Just the other day, Lizzie explained it beautifully. She said, “Right now [this situation] is getting 95% of my attention, while my shop is getting 5%. But maybe next week, it’ll change to 60/40.” And so on. We can’t stop life from happening, but we also can’t let it paralyze us. Baby steps…
Have you ever been to a conference that got you really hyped up? But then a few days later, once that initial high faded, you realize you weren’t left with anything to actually work on. Yeah, this isn’t that. Of course we want to hype you up! However, we also want to help you find the right things to focus on and the best ways to get there. Yes, there are vision board and Word of the Year projects. There are also calendars and times for asking hard questions.
Did we mention cocktails? One of the best things about Pairings Retreat is how encouraging it is. We work hard in the time we have together, but we also make time to celebrate, both the wins of the previous year and the new plans we’re looking forward to. Even for this year’s retreat, we made it a point to end with dessert and a Champagne toast!
We’re already excited about what Pairings 2022 could be, and I hope you’ll consider being a part of it!