So it's been over a week and my head is still spinning. Have you ever gone to an event where you felt so impacted, so inspired that you could barely even express yourself? Yeah, that's about where I am now.
I've thought a lot about whether to write a blog post about this, and a lot of my reluctance was because I knew it might come off as too much of a corporate (or cult-ish) plug. But here's the thing. It really does take a lot for me to feel that an experience was this profound, and in the end I feel I have to share. So here goes...
A lot of you know that I made a gigantic life change last year, quitting my TV producing job and basically walking away from a 20+ year career in television news. After a lot of thought and consideration about what I really wanted in my life, what I wanted to do and what would make me happy, I began following in my sister's footsteps in starting my own business with doTERRA essential oils. HUGE change. Quite shocking to many people, actually. Including myself, sometimes, to be honest. But I'd been buying and regularly using doTERRA's products for several years and had fallen in love. Love love love.
I'll tell you, though, this business ain't easy. In fact, I often feel like I'm working longer and harder than I had before. Some of that is because this was a totally new business to me, and I really had to learn a lot from the ground up. And some of it is because I have to be really flexible with my hours in order to support those on my team. That means a lot of nighttime calls and emails, which sometimes seems counterproductive to this whole "flexible schedule, time-freedom" idea of why I wanted to do this.
Anyway, as I've been busting my hump to build up my business, engage my customers and team members, I've heard so many talk about the impact of going to "convention". This is the annual event in Salt Lake City that doTERRA organizes for all of its wellness advocates (people like me), and it's billed as a week of uplifting and inspiring programs to get you fired up and re-energized in your business. So in my NYC-wired pragmatic mind, I figured it would be some kind of come-to-Jesus brainwashing where I'd be told to see the light, while watching everyone around me drink the Kool Aid and succumb to some sort of religious awakening. But I went anyway.
It was a weeklong frenzy of excitement, laughter, exhaustion, tears and inspiration. Part Oprah's Favorite Things when it came to the announcement of 23 new products being released this year - think 18,000 people in an arena screaming and applauding upon hearing about the new melon-flavored kids probiotic pixie sticks and more. Part awe and, dare I say, smugness(?) upon hearing a panel of doctors discussing the efficacy and benefits of essential oils in their own lives and the lives of their patients, as well as the biology researcher from Johns Hopkins explaining the results of her testing on doTERRA's oils - and seeing for ourselves the Petri dishes where the oils prevented viruses and bacteria from further growth. And part humble gratitude and admiration upon hearing about the noble causes and organizations doTERRA has chosen to partner with and assist in making positive changes around the world.
Causes that many people and companies would prefer NOT to choose to support. Causes that many people and companies would prefer to turn a blind eye to, let alone a Mormon-founded company like doTERRA. Causes like child sex trafficking. And teaching girls in impoverished villages around the world about feminine hygiene so that these girls can go to school each day, rather than being banished to tents to bleed for the weeks they have their periods because they literally don't have the money or access to sanitary pads. Seriously, can you even imagine??
Watching the badass founder of Operation Underground Railroad brought to tears while talking about the devastating situations he's encountered when rescuing children that have been abducted as sex slaves. Then watching him being presented with a check for a quarter of a million dollars, and knowing that we - those of us working for and supporting this company - helped do that. Watching the woman who founded Days for Girls tearfully thank us for the quarter-of-a-million-dollar check we watched her receive for allowing her to go from just a handful of communities helping these girls with sanitary needs to several dozen communities. And listening to an unbelievably powerful and profound speech by Immaculee, a woman who survived the Rwandan Genocide and shared her journey of forgiveness and acceptance.
Sitting in an arena surrounded by thousands of other "believers" is not something I really wanted to sign up for. Not to mention, I'm Jewish. But something stirred inside me during this convention, and I'm determined to see where it goes. I am already dying to go on a Healing Hands trip, which are charitable trips led by doTERRA where participants go to places like Nepal, Guatemala and Haiti and help build schools, orphanages or wells for access to water. I want to do better. I want to grow my business more because I have seen and have a greater understanding of the impact these oils are having across the globe - not just the health and wellness benefits, which we all know about - but the benefits of giving jobs and educational opportunities to poor farmers and communities that didn't have them before doTERRA came and offered the chance to work together and become self-sustaining.
I've worked in corporate America for more than 20 years, and every company I've been at has had a charitable arm. But never have I felt that it was such a huge part of the company's identity and overall purpose. And it feels so different than anything else I've experienced.
So in the end I have to admit, I've seen the light. I drank the Kool Aid. And I think I'm all the better for it.