March 19, 2019 Uncategorized 0

Inaugural Festival Review 2019

Breaking through the Glass Ceiling facilitated by Deb Kwasnicki. Awesome classrooms!

It felt like I was back hang-gliding, launching myself off a glacier at 10,000 feet.  A lot could go wrong with the first ever Get a Grip of the Grind Festival.

I decided the fear of the unknown was no antidote to the regret that would haunt me for the rest of my life.  So I launched.

All women know they are prone to putting themselves last and often taking a hit to their careers and identities in order to raise families.  In trying to ‘have it all’ they get caught up in the grind.  The festival is designed as a unique opportunity to pull women out of the grind and take meaningful control of their lives and careers through a series of career conversations, mixed with outdoor adventures.  Why this combo?

Adventuring in the outdoors boosts resilience, problem solving, creativity, emotional regulation and confidence by sending blood flow to the right parts of the brain including the area that reduces rumination.

Thought provoking professional development workshops were catalysts for critical decisions.

Female executives, small business owners, lawyers, mountaineers, cavers, psychologists and motorbike riders were just some of the guest speakers and workshop hosts at the inaugural event.  During the festival women looked objectively at their lives, and reconnected with what makes them feel loved, glowing, confident and successful. A weekend out of the grind was a 2-year wait for some, for others it was the first time they’d left the family, prioritised their own development, or vacated the city adventuring into the great outdoors.

The festival is a pushback against the insidious burnout of women and the slow erosion of their identity.  

The double burden of a career and domestic roles, compounded by conventional expectations and lifestyle factors such as sleep deprivation, poor nutrition and ‘the always on’ culture are eroding the performance of confident and ambitious women. These were the topics in play at the festival, and appetites for insights, tactics and solutions were insatiable.

Thelma Vlamis hosting ‘How to find a career that lights you up’.

Some festival-goers were dunked in water pretty quickly as the first caving experience kicked off on Friday afternoon. Others were inspired by a workshop from Laurice Temple, The Ripple Affect Institute on “How to be the You, YOU dream to be”.  More would have their appetite for adventure ignited whilst listening to a passionate female mountaineer tell how exploring mountains enhances her ability to reach her goals in life and career.  That evening everyone lay on their picnic blankets to watch a double billing of courageous women; the first a group battling a circumnavigation of Tasmania in kayaks and the other an inspiring tale of a woman running solo through Iran.

Starlight intimacy amongst friends.

Saturday was gargantuan with the festival goers scattered to rocks, caves, trails, hikes and mountain bikes from 7 am.

Abseiling down some rocks. Abseiling was led by rock goddess Hannah Mitchell of Adventure Guides Australia.

A glorious morning walk on the Mt Buffalo plateau guided by septuagenarian Helen Doyle. Just happens to be a hero of mine too.

The afternoon was jammed with professional development workshops on managing relationships, resilience, motivators, stress, financial management and career planning to name a few. Speakers shared their stories, giving confidence to listeners to tackle their personal and professional challenges. Sitting beneath mature trees, emotional guards were lowered.

The impact of sessions (especially Who’s driving your bus? by Larry Cohen) pierced the toughest armour, with many shedding tears through their realisations of toxic personal and professional relationships. There was awareness of a lack of alignment of values with careers and discretionary time; that burnout was just around the corner, whilst knowing that no one was going to come to the rescue. They would have to be their own hero!

In the waning sun of Saturday, festival-goers savoured Thai food, whilst listening to a local musician as they caught up with the thrills of the morning and the cathartic insights and decisions of the afternoon sessions. In the dimmed lights of the garden it was easy to laugh now about how each of the sessions touched them.

Old tribes reconnected and new ones blossomed over the weekend.

More activities and workshops ran again on Sunday ending with an intimate outdoor Q&A with the facilitators and speakers.

That’s me standing up, L-R Thelma Vlamis, Me, Larry Cohen, Deb Kwasnicki, Helen Doyle chuckling during the Q&A.

Was the festival a success? Initially, I was fixated on attendance numbers, but what really mattered was the impact.

The impact was omnipresent, visible, tangible, potent and effervescent, emphasised with a 95% satisfaction rating.

Having a crack at archery in the grounds of a private estate.

Yes, it’s happening in 2020.  Stay in touch @geatripofthegrind on facebook and sometimes instagram.  The festival website is at www.getagripofthegrind.com.au where you can browse 2019 speakers, activities, schedule and images or sign up to our register of interest. Come a get a grip of your grind with us in 2020.

We have two retreats in 2020 for a more intimate and tailored experience. One commencing 1st to 4th of April, and in November 15th – 18th.


About the Author

Eibhlin Fletcher: I thrive on daring my physical and mental boundaries in the outdoors. This has led to some amazing life experiences. I believe in ‘I can’ way more than ‘I can’t’, the journey more so than the prize. I am passionate about infusing others to dare their boundaries, challenge their self-limiting beliefs so they get closer to maximising their experiences in work and life. My blogs are usually about how adventures and endurance events can enhance your effectiveness in the workplace.


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