The Story Economy Blog

Take a Day to be Epic

thoughts in brainEarlier this year, I took a girls’ trip with two writer friends. I wrote about how great it was to help them think about goals they had, and to have them help me get clear on my goals and strategies.

Reflecting with colleagues, getting outside perspective, and talking about goals together: these things are super valuable to me. Because when you clear the space and show up, stuff can happen.

With this in mind, a few weeks ago, I asked a friend of mine if he would clear his schedule for a day and do a business-building summit with me. Actually, what I think I may have said was: “Let’s take a day and talk about how we’re going to do epic shit in the next few years.” He’s not a writer, but he’s in a similar creative field. Actually, the key is that he is trying to build something. And I’m trying to build something. We’re each building different things—which is why we both could offer such great outside perspective to each other.

The first step was finding a space where we could get away for the day. Although I love coffee shops, I didn’t want to go someplace public like that. We wanted it to be professional, but quiet—a room with a big table, walls to hang sticky paper, and a door that closed.

Luckily, we found the perfect space for epicness at OfficeKey, here in Cincinnati. OfficeKey provides shared office space (great for the professional set). We were able to get a small conference room for the day, which was exactly what we needed. And everyone there bent over backwards to make sure we were well taken care of. In theory, you could use your own space for your summit. But I think there is something extra valuable in being somewhere else.

Now, you could also do a personal summit, and not involve anyone else. I just read a piece on this by Rosie Molinary. She has some fantastic tips for holding an end of the year personal summit. There is huge value in personal reflection, and I love Rosie’s approach (and plan to take a few minutes and answer some of those questions she lists out).

But for me, for the mindset shift I was trying to create, I needed a certain bouncing of ideas. That’s why I wanted a partner. My advice is to choose your summit partner carefully. It needs to be someone who knows you, and feels comfortable calling you on your crap (and vice versa). Also, someone who is good at repeating your own words back to you and asking the right questions. This is precisely why we hire coaches. I’m a huge advocate of coaches, for the record! But I also think there is a real benefit to helping someone else as they are helping you. The help you provide them winds up helping you somehow.

And the last thing that’s great about taking time for epic ideas to show up is the preparation required. For example, as I was thinking about my goals and what I wanted to accomplish for the day, I went back through income breakdowns and client breakdowns for the last several years. I realized that in just five years, my client list has turned over 100 percent—which is indicative of how I’ve shifted my focus. The kind of work that made up 10 percent of my income five years ago now makes up 90 percent of it. It made me think: in five years from now, what will my income, client list, and breakdown of work look like? What do I WANT it to look like? That simple exercise of creating pie charts empowered me to really think and plan. (I stink at using MS Office for any type of chart building, so I found this great site geared toward helping kids make pie charts, which is just my speed.)

What did I get out of my epic day? Well, number one: it was really fun. And fun matters. Secondly, my friend helped me figure out a plan for how to shift into a new kind of work I’m exploring (I hope I helped him: I think I did). And thirdly, hearing myself say certain things aloud really made me realize how ridiculous they were (self-doubt type things). Like really realize it—to the point that I wanted to let go of them. And to move forward and embrace the epicness I want, I have to let go.

I know it’s December. Oh, how I know it. And maybe you can’t possibly fit an epic day in right now. But find a partner in crime, and figure out when you can schedule one. As soon as possible. It will be worth it.


  • Mary Beth Dunn

    Posted by Mary Beth Dunn on 12/10/14 3:39pm

    Judi - Always love your reading your thoughtful and inspiring posts. This one really hit a "nerve" - creating urgency and action in my business and world. I'm enthusiastic about my "being epic" day in the very near future!! :-) MB

    • Judi Ketteler

      Posted by Judi Ketteler on 12/10/14 3:58pm

      Go be epic, Mary Beth!

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