Each January, Fair Trade Partners from across the United States GATHER for our annual sales conference. It’s a magical time, full of inspiration, learning, and connection. At our 2019 conference, we had a conversation about the “lids” we put on ourselves and our businesses… the self-imposed limitations that keep us from realizing our full potential. A few days after our conference, we received this email from Stephanie Ekoniak, a Fair Trade Partner in California. We’re sharing it here with her permission.
Kara and Angela,
I wanted to make sure you both knew how much I got out of our weekend together and some of what has come out of it for me personally.
I went into the weekend dreading it (I’m honoring authenticity right here by admitting that to you two). I have been to sales/business conferences before and I’m not a rah-rah kind of person exactly because it doesn’t feel authentic to me. I was expecting to feel exhausted at the end of each day and at the end of the weekend. Instead, I felt energized and was truly present and engaged in all the sessions. I may not have shown that outwardly but I can’t remember a time when my mind was drifting or I was thinking “get me out of here”. I truly enjoyed hearing all the other women’s stories and getting to connect with them. What a cool group of women! The weekend was a perfect balance of inspirational and practical exercises and information. Thank you for valuing and honoring my time. It was well worth it.
Anyway, I felt great about the weekend but only just this morning, when I was getting my kids ready for school, did I have my ah-ha moment about what my lid has been with pushing myself more with Threads. My lid has been that I’ve been telling myself I’m not a direct sales type of person and that everything I thought about direct sales (and the people associated with it) was NOT me or something I wanted to be part of. I just realized (literally an hour ago) that this whole weekend I felt like “this is me”: I care about the world, I care about women, I care about serving others, I care about community, I care about being a role model for global citizenship and I care about surrounding myself with inspiring women.
Getting to hear from you two more and to see how dedicated you are to the mission and the culture of Threads showed me that Threads is so much bigger than selling. Threads is about creating a community of women who want to change the world. I know we talk about how Threads is creating global change before but until this weekend I couldn’t see past the sales part of it. So, I am challenging myself to reset my mindset and keep drawing inspiration from the weekend when I felt like “this is me” instead of focusing on the sales things I don’t feel comfortable doing.
I’m recommitting myself to my Threads work. I was near giving it up before our weekend. I can’t promise I’ll do it at [another Fair Trade Partner’s] level but you also showed me that it’s ok to do it ‘my way’ and at ‘my level’.
Thank you so much. You two are so inspiring and I feel honored to be part of such a wonderful community.