Last year, I sat in a gorgeous Old West town absorbing tough love about getting my financial sh*t in order. The speaker spoke not about just putting a percentage of money away every month (ha!) or what you should have been putting in you 401(k) all these years. She talked about introspection. She talked about figuring out what it is you want from your money. And then she talked about the tough choices you were gonna have to make to get there. 

How badly do you want it? Because most of us can’t magically whisk ourselves to a place with a cheaper cost of living. Or suddenly wave a wand and make more money. 

I got serious about all the stuff I’d been neglecting for much of my adult life. I got life insurance. I was (comparatively) on top of my taxes this year. I pulled all my various 401(k)s together into one account. And I thought about what it was I wanted. 

Almost a year later, I am writing this from a new second home in Palm Springs—a distant dream that I thought would happen 10 years from now if I was lucky. Thanks to the advice from this workshop, I figured out how to do it now. 

I realize I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to make this work, but it wasn’t easy at all and may have been a reckless decision in the end. I no longer have a cleaner three days a week. We don’t send out our laundry anymore. I make lunches and cook dinner every night. I haven’t bought any clothes since I made the decision. I also reallocated some of those 401(k) funds, because frankly, I thought this was not only a better investment, but one that makes me happier. And we bought a house that already was doing more Airbnb revenue than the mortgage. We researched the hell out of how. We did enough research to know this market is about to explode and we found the absolute perfect property to bring in revenues and that our family would enjoy long-term. 

That “aha!” moment workshop that led to something so meaningful for my family and my sense of calm was at last year’s Chairman Mom Flee. It was my tangible life changing moment-—one of a few—and women I’ve talked to who attended had many others. There was the woman who got convinced—finally—to pursue a business that had been nagging at her for 10 years. There was the woman who had been a victim of sexual assault and finally felt the physical release of being in a space entirely made up of women. “It was the first time I heard footsteps behind me and didn’t tense up,” she told me. 

The nature of the conference/retreat is a bit “choose your own adventure.” There are tarot card readings. There are pilates experts teaching workshops on combating “tech neck,” meditation gurus on how to combat and control anxiety, and hypnotherapists to help you reconnect you to your insight and your gut. There are workshops on combating imposter syndrome. There are workshops on returning to work after having kids. There are workshops on bouncing back from devastating failure. There are also speakers who none of the establishment believed in who succeeded anyway. There are speakers on how white women can be part of the solution, not the problem. On building high-growth cultures around love not all those war metaphors. On being an activist for transgender kids. On how the hell we get more than 2% of venture funding—and how the white women who make up most of that 2% can help others. Speakers on why #MeToo didn’t do close to enough to actually change things. Music. Craftivism. Yoga. Rosé. Water. Sisterhood. 

This year’s Flee has been a real labor of love from everyone involved. We didn’t know if it was going to happen at a lot of points in the last nine months, not least because the Camp Fires started right outside Pulga’s borders last year. We are lower in tickets than I’d wanted to be, in part due to the uncertainty around the town and losing a lot of promotion time because we didn’t want to pull the event from Pulga. But we’ve got 70+ amazing people who are coming and are the true believers, investing in themselves and ultimately investing in a part of California that endured unimaginable loss. I think people will look back and talk about this year being the most intense, the most real, the most raw and the most empowering. I am so grateful to those of you who supported the event again, despite all the uncertainty. Without Silicon Valley Bank stepping up again to support the event, it wouldn’t have happened. 

Pulga was shaken to its core this last year, and so were so many of us. This is a year of taking stock, rebuilding and finding new ways to push forward. If you are at any inflection point in your life, I know you will have at least one transformational moment. 

We aren’t sold out. But we’re cutting off ticket sales in the next week so that we can plan. This is your last chance to be utterly transformed in a remote town filled with women.

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

* * * *