Live By Your Own Design ~ self discovery for BSDG
January 13, 2009
For those of you who love self-help books ~ we have found one for you. Style Statement by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte. The following is a letter to them after discovering their book and creating an entire office retreat around it:
Dear Carrie and Danielle,
I feel as if I am writing two long lost friends! You see, although you don’t know us, we have been calling you two by first name around our office for the last five+ weeks. My name is Christi Barbour and I am writing to tell you about our Style Statement discovery weekend. I read about you two in the May 2007 Domino Magazine and have been dying to find my Style Statement ever since. Ours is an office full of designers and we get every shelter magazine known to man – but Domino tops my list every month!
After reading about you two I found myself occasionally trying to find ways to justify calling you for my own personal appointment. Needless to say work, family and life got in the way of making it a top priority.
Fast forward to this Spring:
We have a great team of six women in our office that range in age from recent college grad to seventies plus. We have worked very hard to get the right mix of people surrounding us and although we are all very different – it works. We are firm believers in team players, celebrating successes and supporting one another. After a very long and grueling winter/early spring we decided it was time to take our office staff away for a couple of days of R&R. In order to justify this expense we felt compelled to make it a “working trip” that included at least a goal planning session, work discussion, problem solving, something.
I was at the bookstore with my kids (one of our favorite stomping grounds). Being the self-help book junkie I am, I found myself cruising the aisles of the self-help section and discovered your wonderful book. At first I don’t make the connection – that is until I open it up! JACKPOT! I immediately bought myself a copy and read it cover to cover. I proceeded to order six more copies to pass out among the gals in the office and my sister. I had one of those infamous “AHA” moments that I had found exactly what I was looking for to do at our retreat.
The next week, I passed out your book with one request: read it before you get to the beach. Keep in mind; I am the nerd of the group! My nose is always in a book or magazine and I am continually looking for ways to make things/life/work better. I knew I would probably hit some resistance or eye-rolling but surprisingly not! On the contrary, within one day I was getting emails from them about how excited they were about our upcoming trip and how exciting the book was! Eureka!!
My goal for our beach trip was to spend 4-6 hours total on the book and “work” – everyone needs some R&R time and it was my intent to be sure everyone received it. The funny thing is, everyone wanted to spend all our time on the book. We arrived at the beach with the following:
the “friendship” questionnaire – we were to fill out one on each person in our group
the directive to write down five things you love (or think that they rock at) about each of your co-workers
photographs of your favorite things
In short summary this is what happened: we spent our days, nights (even wee hours of the morning), laughing, crying and talking incessantly about on another. We did this on the beach, on walks, at lunch, dinner and over drinks….sometimes too many. Countless people stopped and talked to us on the beach to ask what we were doing – I suppose we did look a little odd (see attached photo beach book nerds). At the end of our trip we went to dinner and toasted those who could identify our Style Statement. Those of us who could not quite commit (me included) discussed our top picks to get feedback from our group.
We returned to life as usual and two weeks later went to a lovely lunch at a local resort to “announce” our new Style Statement names. I am happy to share with you that this discovery has really made a difference. Just like the people in your book – we have found ourselves making better choices and asking the right questions about how every day decisions are affected by our Style Statement. Even better – thanks to you two I think we have become a closer group of friends. Christi Barbour