[Guest post by Starla J. King, Big Fish since 2009]

I really don’t even know where to start to describe last week’s Starfish Retreat… 

Should I start with the hot air balloon ride experience and build metaphors about trust, stillness, and a “50,000 foot view” of business and life?

Or maybe I should start with a description of the 5-star resort (L’Auberge del Mar) with top-notch dining, a view of the ocean to make your knees weak, and a spa experience to turn your muscle knots to jelly?

But really the focus needs to be on Lorin (Beller Blake, our fearless leader) and her modeling of dynamic leadership, incredibly intuitive coaching, personable authenticity, brilliant facilitation, and holding this incredibly safe space for us to work hard and play equally hard together.

Ok, so that’s all true, but the experience of being with 10 diverse, powerful, playful, intelligent, beautiful, motivated, imperfect, loving and wise women business owners for 2.5 days certainly deserves a first paragraph slot in ANY blog post.  Especially the part where we each served as part of an “Advisory Board” for the other women, working together on specific business challenges, and I saw the light of “AHA!!!” shine in one face after another through the magic of our shared experience.

But maybe since this is my personal reflection on the experience, I should start by sharing the realization of how much I’ve grown over the past 3 Starfish Retreats, and that my definition of success (and my belief in what I can accomplish!) is on a totally different level now.  How words like “cultural change” and “lasting impact” and “passion project” are dancing into my Vision Story and fueling kicka** goals for 2012.  You know, the kind of goals that kinda freak you out because they’re so darn BOLD yet … ohmylands … could it be?? …. ACHIEVABLE.

Oh, wait, wait, maybe I should just start with the Retreat theme of “Celebration,” and talk about the champagne opening to our sharing of celebrations, and the genuine “CHEERS!” we gave and received time and time again throughout the 2.5 days, and the reflections on why and how we celebrate.  OH, and wine paired with our astrological signs “in celebration of YOU”!!

Yet stories are always a great way to start a post… so maybe I should start with the “intervention” story (the one that included confrontation, appreciation, challenge, affirmation, tears, laughter, and a bazillion lessons for EACH of us)… but details there might break the required confidentiality of the session, so …

Maybe I should just try to capture the essence in the title.  Something like:

Starfish Retreat: Where Passion and Profit Meet, or

Starfish Retreat: It Gets Real, or

Starfish Retreat: Where the Only Hot Air Was In the Balloon, or

Starfish Retreat: They Laughed, They Cried, They Built Some Seriously Amazing Businesses, or

Starfish San Diego: The Puppy Project (sorry, had to toss in one inside joke to entice you to join the next retreat).

Or maybe I should just have other Starfish Retreat participants post their highlights in comments below (do, please do!).

Or you know what?  I think maybe this is an experience that words can’t quite capture.

So how about I provide you a few choice photos, hope that a picture paints a million words (growth, think growth), and invite you to join the Starfish Retreat(s) next year.  We will send info out shortly, so make sure to get on our mailing list (enter your email in upper right hand corner of any page).

* photos by Stacey Canfield and Starla J. King


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