Lululemon Ambassador Summit 2016

As I passed through customs and into British Columbia, I probably looked like a novice traveler- I was nervous, looking around, and uncertain of what lie ahead.  But rather I was suffering from a terrible case of Imposter Syndrome.  Here I was, one of 100 lululemon ambassadors heading into the Ambassador Summit- an annual retreat for which you are nominated.  This is not something you can apply for and I was still trying to understand how and why I’d been chosen, when our store and our region boasted so many amazing athletes, influential leaders, movers and shakers.  What was I doing here?  I’m just me.

The uncertainty dissolved as I found myself among my peers - people who work hard to bring the joy they find in #theSweatLife to others- just like our amazing ambassadors at home.  Where I thought there may be a lot of posturing and resume recitation, instead I found humble athletes with little to prove.  The answer to the inevitable question, “What do you do?” was often short and to the point: “Run” (or crossfit, spin, yoga, etc).  It was refreshing and a welcome surprise.

After my initial head games I was finally able to settle into the experience.  The ambassadors enjoyed the Luon Lounge meeting space at the heart of
the lululemon headquarters, toured the main building, snuck a peak at what the teams are working on, and even tested product during a yoga class at the in-house studio with a local ambassador.  I thought I would have so much time to meet the handful of people I have had contact with at the SSC, but all too soon we were off to the next thing.  

The ambassadors were loaded on a bus and swept up to Whistler- our home for the next few days.  Not only were we put up at the Four Seasons, the company actually rented the entire hotel for our group, reinforcing the feeling that this was our home.  My roommate was absolutely perfect.  As a long time member of the west LA fitness and spin community, her vibe was familiar from my time in Venice and made me nostalgic for those days.  An awesome pairing!

The week evolved with athletic activities, introspection, social opportunities, and lighthearted fun around every corner.  The silly social stuff is the easiest to recall and to highlight on social media.  This is when we built community, connected with our peers, enjoyed our surroundings.  But the real work came on the mat and in the break out groups on Day 2.  While I thought we would do more business development, most of what we worked on was personal exploration and growth.  

A common concern among the group was a lack of personal time for practice in our discipline and time to explore new opportunities.  We were a group of men and women who spend our days working to help others.  Though this is not a complaint of mine, exactly, I can absolutely relate.  I love coaching but like any job it creates parameters around which I must work to get my own training in.  In many ways, I am fortunate to work in a field with a strong scheduling component for success.  Without goals, I would have a hard time pushing myself to get to the track, to push through another interval, to do the cross training necessary to improve.

And yet, here we were, the busiest people making time for ourselves.  We spent important hours working through big topics like Appreciation & Gratitude (both of ourselves and of our community), The Law of Attraction (what do you want?), Declarations (what are you going to do?), and Balance & Priorities (where do you really spend your time?).  While I enjoyed the exercises, I wasn’t moved in the moment by them.  However as I look back at my journaling and touching on the things I long for, the limits I set for myself and the ability I had to really state what I want in life... there was a real openness to possibility that would be lost if not for the written work we did in each workshop.  wow!  seriously, wow!

I believe that I was looking forward to the business development workshops because I am in such a creative space for a few weeks now and need to bounce these ideas around.  I would have loved to hear more from my peers.  At the same time, I wonder how much I would have opened up and how much more likely it is that I would have become insecure about the ideas, anxious about sharing and even envious of other’s great work.  “Why didn’t I think of that?”  To open up and share our deepest souls was way more authentic, more meaningful and led to the basis of trust from which we can now share your deepest dreams and desires.  

Of course, this is the stuff that’s hard to report to your team, your clients, your parents, your friends and neighbors.  The closest I have come to explaining this introspective element is to describe the yoga class we took with Baron Baptiste.  The first thing to say is that it was 3.5 hours of heated yoga with no breaks (that’s not ego talking, it’s more like pride; hey guess what, I did yoga for twice as long as I would normally go without food), then I have to mention that somebody passed out (it was intense!), and I wrap up my quick synopsis with the fact that I did Wheel pose for the first time in 15 years (we went deep).  But like so much of the Summit, the experience is tough to translate in a quick and meaningful way.  

Baron took us to our limit and beyond.  I appreciated the emphasis on form, engagement and total body strength.  I soaked up his philosophical teachings and the ability to be more, do more.  Several times he said something like, “It’s not who we are, it’s who we don’t yet know who we can be”.  This idea of the ego, of the things that are holding you back from being who you can be, it moved me to speak up and share with the entire group (upon invitation of course... I wasn’t just shouting out mid class!).  Soon I became known as “Just a Runner” as that limitation in my thinking led me to believe that I needed modifications in my yoga practice.  I usually don’t go deep with many of the poses in a yoga class because I don’t have a regular practice and it feels too intense.  Wheel is crazy hard for me- tightness in my shoulders makes it tough to bend like I need to in the upper back.  Soon all of the flex is coming from my lower back and that feels pinchy.  It’s a lot easier to just hang out in Bridge.  But on this day, in this practice, I was moved to at least go the the crown of my head; from which I quickly knew I could push up into Wheel.  I was smiling from ear to ear, upside down and awkward and so ecstatic that I was there.  To reach a new challenge on my yoga mat really pushed me to evaluate where else I am doing this in life and in practice.

So here I am, the night before Betties practice, wondering what I can share from the week away that will make even the smallest impact on these women that are so important to me.  I want to download it all but I know that’s impossible on so many levels.  I am humbled and grateful for their support, their desire to join me at the wee hours of the morning to create a positive community around running.  I love running!  Running has brought me to so many incredible places, in touch with so many amazing people, but mostly has allowed me to maintain a balanced view of life.  How lucky I am to live the sweat life, through and through!  Thank you to everyone that made last week possible!!  xoxo