I am an idea girl. I have no trouble thinking big and without limitations and there is no shortage of amazing ideas, plans and products in my head. My brain is constantly a swirl of one idea after another and at times it feels maddening to try and figure out which ones to pursue, share, discard, file away or follow up on.
I spend a minimum of 30 hours a month driving and it is part of my creative process, while driving, to call my business wife, Jesse, and say something like this,”I’m on fire Jesse Hyde, on fi-yah!” She will laugh, and grab a pen and I will proceed to excitedly tell her my master plan for taking over the world Hot Tomato style. I will talk for 20 or 30 minutes straight telling her idea after idea until we are both exhausted. Many of our best ideas come from this creative time we spend together while I am on the road. So when I checked in with Jesse after Brand Camp she told me she couldn’t wait to hear all my ideas and she wanted to know if I was on fi-yah. Well, not exactly. But I’ll get back to that.
I’ve been tuned into Kristen Kalp of Brand Camp and enjoying her business wisdom since at least 2010. So when Brand Camp the Camp was announced in late 2013, I was all ears. Kristen’s info promised a sunrise Ferris wheel ride, unlimited s’mores and a business camp that promised to not be like all the other business seminars currently being offered. Having spent many happy summers in the 80’s at Camp Wakatomika Girl Scout Camp, I was pretty certain I had found the right business retreat for me.
The idea was that as a group we would take part in Master Classes (i.e. business skills/techniques) before camp, so at camp we could dive into the juicy bits of sustaining inspiration, creative energy and business process. From January, right up to May, we participated in online Master Classes, had an active online community and worked in smaller groups inspiring and networking in a manner that was both directed by Kristen and organic.
Throughout my experience Kristen has been funny, irreverent, available and spot on in regards to business matters. Her no nonsense approach to process and decision making is remarkable to watch in action. Her willingness to be vulnerable and show us her process, which included not only her successes, but her epic failures were worth the price of admission alone. Let me repeat, her willingness to be vulnerable and show us her process, which included not only her successes, but her epic failures were worth the price of admission alone.
By the time I arrived at camp, my brain was already bursting with business goodness from our Master Classes and ready to be in community with all the other Brand Campers I had only met virtually. I had decided my only goals while at camp were to be open to what was being presented, to follow my gut at all times and to trust that I would get exactly what I needed from the experience. Brand Camp did not disappoint.
The spirit of camp was fun, open and silly. Many of the speakers focused on allowing or fostering more love, connection and authenticity in your life and in that spirit, I found it easy to have heartfelt conversations with people. I was able to organically connect, speak from my heart and commune with other Brand Campers. In between sharing my newest dance move (writing my name with my butt) and watching Kristen put several people in the “Hot Seat of Clarification” (with a tiara serving as a sorting hat) I was able to hear that quiet whisper of, “ What next.”
In the quiet, beyond the roaring of ideas I could hear the whispering of my truths. Between laughing so hard I may or may not have pee’d, dancing my ass off with old and new friends, and conquering my fear of Ferris wheels with my friend Susi holding my hand, my truth asserted itself.
Honestly, my truth was this small thing, this tiny realization and had I been any place else, I wouldn’t have been able to hear it over the crowd, the swirl of next business step for success or the pitch of the latest and greatest business productivity tool.
In between the soft snoring of my bunk mates, the 80’s dance music that was my alarm and the freezing naked dip into the pool just so I could I tell the story later, I got what I needed. It didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. It didn’t come as some great epiphany. It was more like finding something you had lost and being shocked to realize it was right where you left it, in plain sight.
My grandma’s boyfriend Walt told me this story once of an acid trip he had in the late 60’s. It was night out, and after he took a hit of acid, he decided to go for a walk with his dog. He and the dog spent several hours wandering through the woods and eventually Walt was tired and wanted to go home. But having been tripping on acid all night, he was a little lost. He looked at his trusty dog and said ,”home”, fully expecting the dog to take him home, but the dog just sat down. Since it was obvious the dog was going to be no help in this situation, he decided to just sit down, chill out and wait for the sun to rise. Slowly, in the quiet of morning, the dawn began to break and as the darkness parted he realized the house was right in front of him.
Why do I tell you this? Firstly, because if the dog in this story had been a talking white tiger, this could have been a Brian Andreas story, but more importantly, what it illustrates best is what I learned at camp. If you sit quietly long enough, even when you feel lost, in the stillness of the morning you may find out that home was there all along.
So when Jesse asked me during my post camp check in if I was on fire, my answer was no, not really. I was the opposite of on fire. I was solid, steadfast, focused, and grounded. In the Pocono Mountains, I found my way home. I found my people, I found that quiet place in me that knows all the answers and I decided it was time to go home.