A few weeks ago, I joined 100 women at the beautiful Nizuc Resort and Spa for Myleik Teele’s first ever #MTYRetreat. Myleik is the founder of CurlBOX, a monthly subscription box serving quality hair product samples for women of color. Her personal brand, My Taught You, is dedicated to giving back to her audience by sharing things like her favorite books and her best career/life/relationship advice via her podcast. When I learned about THE RETREAT, I was instantly interested in being a part of the experience.
If you follow my personal page on Instagram, you’ll see that I documented the experience in my highlights. I’ll address the questions that I got in my DMs/comments, and then go into the key lessons I took away from the trip. Please note that this write-up is based on my own opinion.
Who’s THE RETREAT for?
THE RETREAT is for women who want to level up in all aspects of life and are dedicated to empowering others to do the same. The age range was roughly between 26 and 39-ish (millennials and Gen X). We fell into one of 3 categories:
What are your thoughts around having to apply to attend?
“I alone, don’t have the capacity to pour into 100 women in a weekend. Each attendee needed to be able to pour something into the person next to them. This event worked because everyone showed up with a gift vs. coming only to receive a gift.” - Myleik
Of course I was beside myself when I found out that out of 1,500 applications, I was among the 100 who got to attend. I think requiring people to apply was a smart idea, and definitely necessary. It’s important to have the right people in the room. Just because you can afford to be in the room, doesn’t necessarily mean you deserve to be there. Weeding out the people whose sole motive is for personal gain vs. having people there who add value definitely made THE RETREAT what it was. I’ve been to a fair share of conferences/retreats and I can honestly say that nothing compared to the quality of attendees at THE RETREAT. They are all killing it in their respective industries and all had something valuable to bring to the table.
What were you looking to get out of it?
I was looking to connect, grow, and prosper in synergy and sisterhood. Being the oldest sibling, and pursuing a venture that is different from my family and immediate circle, I found myself feeling lost and alone in the shuffle. I wanted to be in a space where like-minded women poured into each other, just as Myleik has poured into all of us.
What was the best part?
That’s a hard question because everything surpassed my expectations. If I could choose ONE thing, though, I would say the best part was witnessing the theme of “Limitless Living” being effortlessly intertwined in everything we did that weekend. Whether it was indulging in margaritas and snacking on octopus ceviche, or taking part in candid conversations by the beach, or dressing up in our PJs for the ultimate slumber party, or collecting gems in each masterclass, there was no stone unturned when it came to displaying a limitless lifestyle.
1. Surround yourself around excellence - the conversation is different.
After the masterclasses on Day 2, we were free to roam around the resort. Some of us had massage appointments, others went paddle boarding, laid out on the beach, etc. A group of us sat on a deck and sipped on margaritas, snacked on chips and guac, and shared a little about who we are, where we’re from and where we’re headed in life.
I haven’t been around so many dynamic and intelligent women all in one place in a while. In this picture, you have successful realtors, doctors, therapists, wedding planners, a woman who paid off nearly ONE MILLION dollars of debt in 2.5 years, and more. We went around the circle and shared what we plan to do with what we took away from the retreat. I was reminded to never cower down in the presence of excellence, but to be inspired by it.
2. Create your own lane and master your own craft.
Karleen Roy is the founder and managing director of the Vanity Group: A Luxury Lifestyle Management Company. Her talk was about “Confidence, Credibility, & Collaboration.”
We often get fixated on what so-and-so is doing that we lose sight of what WE are supposed to be doing. Remember when our school teachers used to tell us to keep our eyes on our own paper? Well, the same applies in adulthood, lol.
Additionally, just because something has never been done before doesn’t mean it can't be done. We were reminded to take the time to get to know ourselves and learn to master the gift that is within us.
3. Make time for branding YOU.
Kahlana Barfield-Brown, fashion and beauty editor at large at Instyle Magazine talked about “Putting Yourself First to Have it All.”
We get so consumed over everything and everyone but ourselves that we begin to lose our own identity. Kahlana said, "We have our jobs, but make time for branding you.” Our personal brand is important so we should take the time to discover what it is we want people to say about us when we're not in the room.
4. It’s not about who has the better product - it's about who tells the better story.
Zim Ugochukwu, founder of Travel Noire, did a talk about “The ‘CODE’ Behind the Culture.” She did a demonstration during her masterclass that stuck with me - it went something like this:
Zim: What was Hilary Clinton’s tagline?
Woman in the front row: I don’t know.
Zim: What was Trump’s tagline?
Another woman in the front row: Make America great again.
Zim: Do you remember what Hilary said she was going to do?
Woman in the front row: Nope.
Zim: Do you remember what Trump said he was going to do?
Another woman in the front row: Build a wall.
What this demonstration showed us was that it doesn’t matter who we think is more qualified, intelligent, etc.; your story and impact is what makes you memorable.
5. Keep your story rooted in purpose.
Myleik calls her her “secret weapon.” Jennifer Ekeleme (right) is a brand and marketing consultant who talked about telling and selling your story. Since most of the retreat attendees were entrepreneurial, I thought this was a great addition to the speaker mix.
We all have a story, but are we communicating it in a way that resonates with our ideal audience? If you’re looking to craft (or re-craft) your story/brand message, here are some questions to ask yourself:
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Staying true to your purpose will keep you grounded and connect you to the people you were meant to serve.
6. Put yourself in places/situations where you feel like you don’t belong.
During lunch, Myleik did a keynote about “The Art of Limitless Living.” Raised in Inglewood, CA, she shared her uneasiness when visiting Beverly Hills for the first time. She remembered feeling like ‘people like [her] don’t belong in places like this.’ I was reminded to remove the limitations from my life by doing the things I never believed I could - whether it is visiting a million-dollar home before actually being able to afford one, or conquering a fear of traveling solo - it’s about pushing past the barriers that we (or our loved ones/society) have placed on us.
7. Every thing that you have done so far has been preparation for this very moment - don’t run from it. You’re ready.
Our final dinner included a chat with New York Times Bestselling Author Luvvie Ajayi. They talked about the importance of sisterhood and how she’s a firm believer of writing your dreams down. They opened up for questions from the audience and I had one in mind. I remembered she shared on Instagram that her TED Talk had hit one million views in less than a month and she said she thought she wasn’t ready. So, my question was, “Why?”
When TED first reached out to her, she felt she did not have enough time to prepare and was sure they would find someone else. When she saw they were willing to work around her schedule, she told a friend about her apprehension. Her friend reminded her that she just got back from a 10-city speaking tour so she has material already. The tour was all practice for this very moment.
Sometimes, we get in our own way and don’t realize the blessing in front of us. We were reminded to not dodge the opportunity, but seize it because we’re more than ready and capable of crushing it.
8. Leave a legacy.
Necole Kane of XONecole shared how her parents died at a young age and she didn’t want that to be her destiny. She built a successful career around her gossip blog, and was willing to lose it all to build something more purpose-driven and empowering. Her transparency challenged us to look at our own lives and ask ourselves, Am I living my best life right now? Is this what I want to be remembered for? Building a legacy requires faith and staying the course, even when we don't have all the answers.
9. The world is at your fingertips; it is your divine right to grab hold of it and take flight.
All in all, this retreat is for women who yearn to play bigger in life, who are not afraid to “grab the world by the lapels” (RIP Maya Angelou) and go after what she wants. She understands that the sky is no limit to all that she can do with what God has given to her. If this sounds like you, sign up here to receive further info on next year’s retreat.