I spent this past weekend in Nashville at Christy Wright’s Business Boutique with one of my best friends, Liz.
I didn’t know who Christy Wright was until this event.
The decision to attend came about the way most “good ideas” (see, Iceland in January) Liz and I have come about. She sent me the link, said “Emily Ley is speaking at this, let’s go,” and we signed up.
We’re both big fans of Emily. We block our schedules to order our Simplified Planners (Academic Daily for me, Academic Weekly for Liz) on release day. We pre-order her books. We exchange texts and/or DMs about how real she is, how cute her kids are, and how beautiful her new home is. Personally, I admire the business she’s built. During her interview session, she said “Your brand should feel like you can walk into it and live there” and she has certainly done that. She also treats her people well, a trait of her business I believe is above all else.
What I wasn’t expecting was to be so completely swept up by Christy Wright.
Liz and I admittedly skipped out on Thursday night’s concert by Dave Barnes after registration in the name of getting dinner at Hattie B’s, but Friday morning, we came ready and were blown away by Christy. She opened the day with sessions around “What’s the problem?” and “What’s the plan?” and we took down a lot of valuable information, including some actionable steps I’ve already started to implement. She was followed by Dave Ramsey’s discussion on financial peace in business and closed the morning by interviewing Megan Tamte, founder of Evereve.
After a bit of a chaotic lunch break – 3,200 women and a dozen or so food trucks doesn’t make for a quick food turnaround – we were taken to church – and happened to be in a church – by Sarah Jakes Roberts who talked about our purpose. She spoke fire into me and just about everyone else. I’ll share more of her talk in coming days, but what really spoke to me was this:
“It’s easier for her to plan her failure than to plan her faith.”
We’re asked to step out on faith, but chances are, we’re stepping out thinking of a backup plan, a plan B, a “just in case.” We don’t trust our steps when we should be trusting the One directing them. That, along with her message that we weren’t put here to close up, but to share our gifts with the world, really affected me.
And then it was time for the breakout sessions. This was why Liz and I came – an hour with Emily Ley. She walked us through the production process, from the idea of a product to the moment the product lands in consumers’ hands. While I don’t have a physical product, I found her take on production timelines incredibly insightful, and I was impressed with how open she was about the Simplified process and really appreciated her transparency. I also attended a breakout with Barrett Ward, founder of ABLE, on non-profits and filed away a lot of information for use at a later date.
Saturday, the final day of the conference, kicked off with Christy’s “Do It Scared” segment. She talked about the fears we have and the lies we tell ourselves and I found myself nodding along with every word. She finished her talk with Thessalonians 5:24 – “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” If God put it in you, it’s your duty, your purpose, to follow through with it.
Another Saturday highlight was Amy Jo Martin’s “Why not now?” segment. I hadn’t heard of Amy before Business Boutique, but I followed her on every social media outlet before she was even off stage. She emphasized telling our stories, humanizing our brands, and putting ourselves first. She also quoted Julius Caesar: “If you want to take the island, then burn your boats,” and encouraged us to burn our boats and do one small thing to take a step in the direction of our dreams.
The conference wrapped with an onstage interview with Emily, followed by Christy’s last segment, this one on guilt. While it was largely focused on the many moms in the audience, I still took away a lot from it, including a newfound desire to spend less time looking at my phone and more time being where my feet are. As Christy so wisely put it, you will miss most of your life by knowing about everyone else’s. She also further addressed the lies we tell ourselves, emphasizing that we will become what we believe about ourselves.
Before Business Boutique, I was struggling in this space. I love coaching, both online and in my studio. I also love writing – sharing stories, using my words to paint a picture. But “they” told me I had to find a niche. I had to pick a thing and do just that thing. I didn’t know how to marry the two. How could my “niche” be fitness, but I still tell stories and share experiences that weren’t related to health and wellness? As I churned out my educational content around said niche, it felt like something was missing. Business Boutique showed me what that something was – me. I stopped sharing my personality and my story because I thought I had to focus on just the fitness content and not share the rest of who I am.
There was a lot of knowledge gained at Business Boutique over the weekend, and I went straight to work implementing some of it. You’ll start to see that here as I add those personal stories into the mix alongside those educational pieces and the occasional travel post. More of Sarah, alongside that educational content.
I’m so excited about where this space – and my barre studio – is heading after spending a weekend at Business Boutique. Who knew all it would take is a petite blonde with a big personality, killer heels, and incredible statement earrings to get me in gear?
Of course, she is a Tennessee Vol. And us Vols? We tend to flock together.