A month or so later I found the courage and the inspiration (thanks to Allume) to submit a post I wrote to the (in)courage website. Upon their acceptance of my piece (which was featured on Thursday before the conference), they requested that I help promote registration day for (in)RL.
Since I was asked to blog about it, I knew I needed to understand more about what I was encouraging other women to sign-up for. That process not only made me want to participate myself, but I decided to host a meet-up in my Pennsylvania home.
Almost immediately I wondered — would anyone sign-up to come? Followed quickly with a swift reassurance —You provide the home and I'll provide the people.
Did I tell you that I'm an introvert? Hosting a meet-up for a random smattering of women can be scary no matter who you are. But I had peace about it.
One by one women started signing up to come. And as time does, the months flew by and our April (in)RL meet-up was here!
We trickled in. We ate. We broke ice. We won prizes. We introduced. We dug a little deep. We crafted and laughed and ate some more.
But above all we came together for a common goal — to connect with one another in the spirit of community.
And as I sat in my living room and observed the ten lovely ladies chatting with each other over veggie pizza and sopapilla cheesecake, I was struck by how intentional gatherings create space for connecting (like Emily Freeman's bench idea).
In an organically formed meet-up group where strangers mixed with acquaintances who mixed with good friends, we all had to put ourselves out there a bit. And the more we talked the more we discovered connections we didn't even realize we had.