Nurture.

creative sanctuary & self care for entrepreneurs via retreats & curated experiences

When No One Signs Up for Your Retreat, or, On 'Failing' with Dignity

Dear Nurturers,

This blog is no stranger to me sharing the ups and downs of this Nurture adventure and how it has affected me personally. Admittedly, despite the fact that I have committed to making (really delicious, organic) lemonade out of some metaphorical lemons, I am still struggling with how best to share with you what is going on now. 

The truth? Not a single person signed up for the spring retreat, which is set to happen next week. 

Insert: all the normal human reactions to this type of situation. Anxiety. Fear. A feeling of failure. Self Pity. Yep, the ugly kind. The mindless inhalation of way more than the 'recommended serving' of crispy, salty food. 

Also the truth? This past month has been filled to the brim with magical encounters, collaborative projects, serendipitous miracles and kind words from strangers that are the experiential equivalent of someone tatooing "THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE MEANT TO DO" across my forehead, backwards, so I could read it daily in the mirror.

I mean, I got this compliment, which I am holding close to my heart in the shaky times. A gentleman came up to me at an event I catered and said: "Did you make this? It's incredible. I can taste the fact that you selected your produce with love." Nurturers, for those of you that know me, this was the ultimate in compliments. Me in the produce section is essentially an organic courtship ritual and HE TASTED IT!!!

Insert: the feeling that all is as it is meant to be. Exhilaration. Groundedness. Freedom. The consistent need to pinch oneself to see if this is real. A feeling of soul-deep confirmation. 

So, the juxtaposition of these two opposite states of being had me on my couch crying in my sister's arms last week. It was like I was looking from one situation to the other and wrecking myself with the fact they weren't joining. 

I finally got some peace when I stopped asking why. When I recognized that I may never be granted insight into why I am, for all appearances, hosting a spring retreat for crickets. 

I remembered that I have been shown this closed door so I may recognize the fresh breeze entering from a window I may otherwise not have noticed. The message that seems to be resonating across the board is: pivot and change, my friend. More will be revealed. 

All well and good to receive that message, but what to actually do with that? How to shape it in such a way as to 'make the lemonade', as it were? 

Here's what I decided to do, which is best described by sharing a letter I wrote. I sent this letter out to those that came immediately to mind in my own circles (some of whom signed up (1000 yays!) others of whom sent their regrets) and now I am sending it out to you, dear Nurturer, who happens to be reading this post in a timely way. Should you be interested, please send me an email! 


Evening my dear!

As a fellow entrepreneur, I think you'll understand that not everything always goes as planned (#amiright?!). I am finding myself faced with a situation that from a certain angle could be seen as a problem, but am writing to you today to invite you to be part of the solution, should it resonate.

The reality is that despite plenty of interest and resonance with my online following (for whatever unknown reason - it remains a mystery), I have yet to have anyone sign up for the retreat that is coming up April 25-27th (that's next Tuesday-Thursday). 

While I remain hopeful for last-minute sign-ups and miracles, I am humbly determined to see this retreat happen and time is of the essence! The facilitators are incredible, the menu is delicious (!!!) and the venue is reserved and non-refundable. In the spirit of being intentional about what could otherwise be seen as a drawback (ie: having to cancel and positioning this as a 'failure'), I have decided instead (for this one time only) to offer the retreat 'at cost' to a select group of individuals whom I perceive to be relevant to the support of its growth. You are one of them, as I deeply value you as a woman, an entrepreneur, an intuitive soul and a friend. I also think it's the kind of retreat you would really enjoy attending and get a lot out of personally. 

What I'm offering: a Pay-What-You-Can spot for you at Nurture starting at minimum $500.00. This will reserve your spot and will help cover the base costs of food and venue rental and allow me to honour my contracts to pay my facilitators. 

After the retreat, having experienced the full experience (worth $1533.00), you will be given an opportunity (under no obligation) to add to this amount in whatever way feels right to you, according to a combination of what you can afford and what you personally got out of the experience. This will help cover the workshop materials and other miscellaneous expenses and should there be anything remaining it will be humbly and gratefully accepted as acknowledgement of my own contribution. There is no expiry date on this option - if you can't afford more than $500 now and feel moved to contribute at a later date, or in some creative in-kind fashion, that is also wholly appreciated. 

I am hopeful that by your attending, you might also be willing to keep a few key factors (I would send you a brief list) in mind while enjoying your experience, and we could revisit them upon our return and at your convenience, focus group-style. This is so I might get an honest sense for how to best position my future marketing to be sustainable and successful. In addition, I would deeply value your assistance in promoting our fall retreat, having experienced the magic of Nurture for yourself. 

If this resonates, please let me know via email and you can then, once confirmed, send $500 via etransfer to connect@nurtureretreats.com with the password NURTURE to reserve your spot (spots are first-come, first-served and will go quickly for this offer). 

If you would like to learn more about what goes on at Nurture, may I recommend this post

Wishing you a great evening, and many thanks for supporting me in this solution! Here's to miracles!!

Sonja

p.s. Have questions or want to talk about this further in person or on the phone? Let me know and we can set up a time


Nurturers - this was not an easy email to write, send, or share with you here today. I'll be the first to admit I'd much rather you all believe that my life is as 'perfect' and 'successful' as it appears to be on Instagram and this website, despite authenticity being a large part of my brand and my personal value system.

The truth is, the things I normally share here that others might consider vulnerable I share with relative ease, because I have already dealt with them in my heart before sharing.

This means no one can really sway me on it because I've already looked it in the eye and come to a personal understanding. In this case, I'm still having that conversation, so it's significantly scarier for me to share and sometimes the doubting voices are stronger than the ones that know all is going to be okay. The thing that gives me courage is I know I am not alone in this experience. I know you also have those thoughts, it's what bonds us - our humanity in the face of what triggers us. Not only our darkness, but our light as well, as Marianne Williamson so gracefully puts. But, in all seriousness, what changes all of this is the reality that our lives ARE perfect just the way they are - ups AND downs. We are always inherently successful, 100% of the time, when we align with how good it feels to tell the truth, even when things don't work out the way we planned or if the reasons for some things remain a mystery. I look forward to sharing what is revealed as it happens. 

Much love, 

Sonja

P.S. At the time I'm pressing Publish, I have spaces for up to six more women to attend with this special offer. Spaces are first-come, first-served. 

©2016 Sonja Seiler. All Rights Reserved. Photos by Alyssa Wodabek Photography & Liat Aharoni Photography.