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  • Writer's picturesarahonlybetter



I thought I knew, but I had NO idea.

I am fresh off my first RISE experience with the one and only Rachel Hollis and her incredible gang of friends. I sat amongst 3,000 of the world's baddest most inspiring women. We danced, sang, laughed and cried our way through this experience and I am all the better for it.

My husband surprised me with a ticket to Rise for Christmas. He could not have gifted me anything better. This gift is so impactful and means so much for me and my future, the future of our family, and the legacy I will leave as a legendary woman who never stopped improving.

In with my surprise, he invited one of my besties to come along and we had one of the most memorable and impactful weekends in the history of ever.

RISE was described to me as a girls' weekend with some kick-in-your-butt motivation.


For 3 days I learned actionable ways to own my past, present, and future.

If you're planning to attend an upcoming RISE event or are just curious about my experience, here's my recap:

First, I'll start by saying that Rachel was an event planner before she wrote Girl, Wash Your Face. She now has some of the BEST event planners in all the land on her amazing team and they did not disappoint. She rented out Meridian Hall in downtown Toronto, Canada for the conference and decorated the entire place with her signature branding. The ceiling was decorated. They had an entire mural wall decorated The mirrors in the bathroom had kind and inspiring things to say about those checking out their reflections. They had food trucks with health-minded offerings. There were water stations every 5 feet. They thought of it all.

Registration was an event on its own. Every woman there was your new best friend. If you came alone, you did not leave alone. As expected, everything went very smoothly. I got through registration in about 20 minutes. At registration you receive your credentials attached to a lanyard identifying which seating group you are in. They provide you an INVALUABLE workbook that you go through throughout the 3 day conference and it is all kept inside a cute little branded bag that I used to carry all my things in all weekend long. If you choose to splurge on General Admission, Premiere, or VIP seats, you get some extra goodies inside your bag.

I opted for Terrace seating because that was what was in our budget. Rachel and her team seem to do everything they can to add value to everyone who attends the conference. I didn't get up close and personal with Rachel or the team but I wasn't there for that. I was there for me.

Day 1 - Own Your Past

The intention for this day was to change our perceptions. We worked to alter our views on perceived weaknesses, redefine past trauma, and we learned the tools and tactics to see our pasts as a platform to build our dreams on instead of an anchor weighing us down.

Rachel started off the morning talking about perspective. Is this something real or is this the story I am telling myself? She gave us tools to test our perspectives, step outside of them and then choose the perspective that leads you to the best version of ourselves.

Later in the morning Jen Hatmaker came to talk with us about our tribes. She talked about the ways that women are given binary options when it comes to choosing our children or pursuing our dreams. She discussed how competitive women can be and a mindset she once had dealing with a friend's success. At the end of her keynote, she painted a picture for us using female elephants and I love this illustration. -When an elephant is having a baby or is wounded and down, the other female elephants in the herd will back up around them in a circle stomping up dirt to protect the elephant and throw off any predators attacking a vulnerability. Once the baby is born or the elephant is up again, the circle of elephants will cheer and trumpet in celebration. As women, she challenged us to be there for our sisters as an elephant in a herd would. We need to look out for each other, protect each other, and celebrate when others rise up.

Right before lunch, we did one of the most challenging and heartbreaking activities you could imagine. We stood up for our sisters. In this activity, we went through a list of really difficult events a woman could experience in our lives. We marked down the things that were true for us. Things that we could say made us feel alone. Things that prevented us from being our best selves. Things that were difficult to admit. Then, we folded up our papers and gave it to someone else. We looked each other in the eyes, saved space and acknowledged that we now had each other's pasts, and then we passed it on again and again and again until we did not know where our paper was and we did not know whose papers we had.

We all took a big deep breath and opened our sister's secrets and one by one, Rachel read them line by line. If your sister had one marked, you stood up for her. It was an incredibly moving experience because not only was someone else carrying your load, you were seeing how many other women are affected by th same things. There were so so so many tears. We remember now that we are not alone. I don't know who my sister is but I think of her and care for her and hold this space for her in my life forever.

We needed some lunch next and a break from wiping our eyes. When we came back, we heard from Brit Barron, Rachel's bestie that is affectionately known as "Beans". She talked more about our lives and how we identify ourselves. Are we a reflection of who we want to be or are we a reaction to people we don't want to upset? She encouraged us to believe that we deserve to become OUR best visions of ourselves. I didn't realize until after she was done, but this was her first keynote. Aside from Rachel, she was my favorite speaker. I can't wait to hear more from her.

To end the day, Rachel came back and we talked about fear, moving past fear, perseverance and persistence. It was a great way to end the day. I felt like the day moved very smoothly from identifying the issues that hold us back, acknowledging them, working through them, and then ways we can resolve any other issues that might rear their head as we move on toward living better lives.

Day 2 - Own Your Present

This day was all about understanding that being in great health is not about how you look. It's about how you feel. We learned what it means to become physically and mentally strong and we learned how our mental, physical, and emotional health is connected to help us identify where we need to focus.

To start of the morning, Rachel shared the Illness/Wellness Continuum. Basically she told us that most of us live in this comfort zone of false wellness. It takes an active daily choice to push toward developing wellness.

Amy Porterfield stopped by and talked about her health journey. If you haven't heard of Amy, she is a wildly successful marketing expert, best-selling online course creator and the host of one of the top-ranked business podcasts. She is on her own health journey and has viewed her weight as a handicap when it comes to her success. She was of the opinion that "if I just lose the weight, I will be able to.." be more successful/make more money/secure more deals/fill in the blank. She had been focused on the number on the scale. Rachel shared that weightloss is a by-product of pursuing true health. If you move your body, care for your mind, and drink your water, your weight will naturally follow suit. She encouraged us to love ourselves enough to take care of ourselves and BE KIND to ourselves. Amy left us after saying "If I had waited to lose the weight, I wouldnt be where I am." And that is a truth that I have to remember as I continue my health journey.

Trent Shelton came later in the day serving up some harsh truths that we need to take full responsibility for our lives. We need to stop talking ourselves out of our greatness, allowing people to place limitations on you, telling ourselves we cant, and letting perceptions control ourselves. He stressed that being consistent is the key to progress.

At the end of the day, Rachel returned to talk about habits. She shared the triggers that lead her to her heaviest weight and an issue with a bad drinking habit and how she changed the cycle and changed her scenery to lead her toward healthier more productive results.

The biggest thing I took away from this day was - Move your body, Change your mind. Whenever we lost energy, Rachel would yell out 5....4..... 3, 2, 1 and all 3,000 women would jump out of their seats and dance it out for a good minute. I lost count of how many times we did this but after each countdown and dance session, I felt better. I was more focused and my posture changed so I was able to take in what I was hearing more effectively. I've done this a few times since returning home.

Day 3 - Own Your Future

This day was all about creating the road map that will take you to where you want to go. We got fired up, inspired, and talked about the tactical ways we can pursue our version of more. It was stressed that we pick ONE thing and go all in on that one dream.

Dave Hollis started us out talking about the things that will stand in our way after leaving the conference. Peoples opinions will get in our way. Fear will get in our way. Our relationships, media, our time management, our health, our kids, our own identity. These are the things that will slow us down. He stressed that it is so important to understand that comfort is the casualty of growth. We must become a little uncomfortable to see the changes we wish to see in ourselves.

The second keynote for day 3 was Stacey Flowers. She walked us through unleashing our god-given potential to make a positive impact on the world and standing in our POWER. The biggest takeaway I took from her was to stop settling. Be patient and wait for the things we want in life. So often we take shortcuts and accept less than we want and leave ourselves unfulfilled.

Mally Roncal of Mally Beauty came later in the day to remind us to trust our intuition that is guiding us, be unapologetically extra, make our physical mental and emotional health a priority and to live every day as if it were our last. I had not connected with Mally prior to the conference so I didn't know what to expect from her. After listening to her, I am now more confident in listening to myself and taking cues from ME.

At the end of the day, Rachel walked us through both professional and personal goals so we could see what each of them looked like. She even took one lady who had a general goal of being more active to task and invited her to lead a Zumba class at RISExSan Diego! She now has an actionable plan with a due date to gain more energy, learn how to Zumba, and learn how to lead a class to the 10,000 women who will be in San Diego!!! (We are all cheering for you, Alicia!)

Optional Dance Party

You do have the option to add on a dance party to your ticket. It is an additional opportunity to connect with the women who just experienced all the emotion and energy you experienced and just seals the good energy from the weekend in. If you do opt for the dance party, keep your travel plans in mind. We were so tired because we went to the dance party and left early to sleep for about 2 hours before heading to the airport (over the daylight savings time change).

And Then it Was Over

We all left energized and motivated. We remain connected in a Facebook group that is updated multiple times a day with how everyone is progressing. We're held accountable by our sisters. I remain inspired by them with each new post. Each new milestone. Each new moment that creates a new future.

Do you want to know what my big scary dream is?

I share it so you can remind me of my dream and keep me accountable as I work towards it. I've always wanted to help people like you reach for success and improve your lives despite feeling stuck or unworthy, but I had never thought that speaking was the way to do that.

Now I want to speak. I want to do a Ted Talk or be invited to a high school, college, or an organization that helps young women. This will require me to move past fear, learn about speaking, improve my skills, and do it!

I'll be showing up more on social media, SPEAKING as I move closer to this dream. Follow along!

Find me on Instagram @sarahonlybetter

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for more tools tips and tricks to continue the path toward your future success and a better you!

Thanks for stopping by! Sarah

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