My 10 Takeaways from RISE Women’s Conference by Rachel Hollis RISExLA 2018 recap

At the beginning of April, I flew to Los Angeles to meet my friend Brooke for our annual personal development weekend at the RISE women’s conference by Rachel Hollis. RISE is full of great speakers and dancing and crying and genuine, revelatory breakthroughs — but it’s also kind of hard to write about. So much goes on during the weekend, but trying to describe it to an outsider is daunting. There are the standard key notes from famous women, but also meditations on self, the future, and limiting beliefs. There’s hugging and cocktails and compulsory dancing. It’s a totally absorbing experience, but one that sort of defies description.

But, here I am, trying to describe it. Because this experience — feverishly taking notes while crying in a room full of hundreds of women doing the same — you need to have it, too.


These points are all lifted from my RISE notes. I’ll credit in parentheses when the idea can be attributed to a specific speaker. The thoughts are my own, but the amazing speakers at the conference planted the seed.

  • I don’t start things because I’m afraid they’ll be too hard. (Rachel Hollis)
    Yes, I’m starting with a big one. This realization is on page one of my notes, so the conference started with a bang, too.
    How often have I talked myself out of something before I even started it? How often have I been my own roadblock on the way to an opportunity?
    I’m not scared of hard work. I’m afraid of uncertainty. Of doing something and not doing it well. Last year, I attended RISE, and I kept putting off writing a recap of the conference because I thought it would be hard. Sure, I had other excuses and reasons and blah blah blah, but: I didn’t want to do it because it would be too hard and maybe it wouldn’t be great. And I never wrote it.
    Jen Hatmaker said at RISE “as soon as you muster the courage to stand up, you’ll be asked to sit back down — maybe by yourself.” There are enough roadblocks in this world — I need to stop being my own barrier.
  • The excuse “somebody else beat me to it” is just an excuse. (Rachel Hollis)
    When I’m working towards something, it’s really easy for this negative voice to speak to me: “there are thousands of inspirational Instagram accounts; there are thousands of motivational blogs; you are just another woman talking into the abyss.” And those things are ALL TRUE. BUT they don’t matter. Just because I didn’t do something first doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do it.
    What really hammered this home: Rachel Hollis and Jen Hatmaker do
    very similar things. But they’re both here, wildly succeeding.
    And, on this theme, Rachel reminded us all that we’re not competing with each other, just with the versions ourselves from yesterday. OR, as Queen Cardi B says: “I’m my own competition/I’m competing with myself.”

    RISE wouldn’t be the same without my buddy Brooke, all decked out for the ’90s dance party in front of our Airbnb. (And, yes, we hung out with other people and made new friends, but I didn’t take any photos of that!)
  • They may have your best interests at heart and still be wrong.(Rachel Hollis)
    When you set out to change your life, people will be full of suggestions, advice, and warnings. And those are all appreciated. I love that they care about my life and my business and my health. But here’s the thing: no one knows what you need better than you do. Yes, you should ask for and accept the guidance of trusted advisors — but those people aren’t the people I’m talking about. The people that ask the questions that scare you out of trying? Maybe ignore them.
    They have your best interests at heart, but — unless they’re an expert in the field and also a licensed therapist probably — they don’t know what they’re talking about!
    The path to success includes a million mistakes, so get busy making them, and ignore the haters (that may be disguised as well-intentioned family members or coworkers or best friends).
  • The time will pass anyway! (Rachel Hollis)
    This is my new shit-calling phrase. If I find myself making an excuse about why I can’t do something or how it will take too much time or WHATEVER, I remind myself that the time will pass regardless of whether or not I take the next step. In twelve months, a year will have passed whether or not I’ve done a year’s worth of work. This is sobering and motivating. The time will pass anyway, SO WHAT THE HELL AM I WAITING FOR?

    Gorgeous view from our Airbnb patio.
  • The fruit of the uncertain tree is unbelievably better tasting. (Dave Hollis)
    This phrase made me feel so courageous. He’s so right — life isn’t about doing the same things over and over again to see the same certain outcome. Life is about growth and change and uncertainty. Hearing that idea in this poetic way really motivated me to try new things. I have so many ideas for my blog and social media, but I’ve allowed uncertainty to derail my best intentions. UNCERTAINTY is the the POINT! How have I been missing this? Nothing cool ever happened because the outcomes were sure.
    Some context here: Dave is leaving his big VP-level job at DISNEY to be CEO of his wife’s company (she’ll be chief creative officer and continue to be the face of the company). He knows about big leaps! They have FOUR kids. That decision could not have been reached easily.

    The best photo booth at the ’90s party
  • SAME YOU/NEW MOOD (Rachel Hollis)
    This is my new MOTTO, okay?! Life is hard. Lunches get forgotten, meetings go poorly, ankles get twisted, your spouse annoys the hell out of you. BUT, but, BUT, here’s the thing. You get to CHOOSE how you react. You can take a deep breath and react with positivity, not yelling (guilty).
    Rachel shared this idea, and I think it’s pretty genius. If you take a moment to snap yourself out of it, maybe you won’t yell at your husband. If you take a moment to think “SAME YOU. NEW MOOD,” maybe you won’t start crying at work (less guilty, but not totally innocent). She said it works extra well if you add a physical action. SAME YOU. CLAP. NEW MOOD. The clap snaps you out of the negative thoughts and allows you to make a more positive decision.
    I am the queen of letting one bad thing color my whole day with negativity. No more.
  • Make a list of the six things you’ll do tomorrow. (Mica May)
    This one is so simple, but it kind of rocked me. All too often, I am sprinting through 1,000,000 tasks and just trying to get through as much as I can each day. Hearing Mica say that she shoots for six tasks each day refreshed my brain and reminded me how much happier I am when I map my to-do list across the whole week, instead of trying to get it all done every day (and inevitably pushing a lot of it to the next day. Every day). This week, I wanted to get a ton of house organizing projects done (more on that in number 8), so I mapped out which day I’d tackle which project (with a blank day for a schedule cushion), and it’s WORKING! I have finished the kitchen and swapped my winter and spring clothes.

    The beautiful Brookie!
    Of all the ideas on this list, this is the least revolutionary. But it’s one that spoke to me HARD. If you follow me on Insta Stories, you know that I have a closet/guest room/pit where all clutter goes to die. And a pile of wedding stuff in our shared office. And a bad habit of letting the kitchen counters get cluttered. Hearing Rachel say this was a great reminder to recommit to my 2018 intention of cleaning up the house to FREE MY MIND for creativity, focus, and not feeling like my brain has exploded when I come home in the evenings.
    I started before RISE with the project to go room-by-room, organizing and decluttering. So far, I’ve done our room, the linen closet, a guest room (not THE guest room of despair, but a different one), and the kitchen. I feel so, so much better already, and I am determined to keep it UP until the whole house feels a little more manageable.
  • Ask for what you need with less wishbone and more backbone. (Elizabeth Lascaze)
    Design by the incredible Brooke Schelar of Proud Salemander and Common Era Collective

    This one elicited actual gasps from the audience. First off, this woman is incredible. Her appearance at RISE was her first day back at work after the birth of her five-month-old twins, she KILLED IT, and she is maybe the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in real life (and I have seen BEYONCE in real life). She’s a powerful consultant at Deloitte and had so much knowledge to share about getting what you need to excel professionally.
    But this advice gave me chills. How many times have I missed out on an opportunity because I thought of it as a “want” rather than a “need”? Just think about how much further you’d be along in your career if you killed the wishy-washy-ness in favor of determination. Use that backbone, girl!
    And this doesn’t just apply to professional goals. When was the last time you asked for help around the house? And not as a “want.” As a “need.” It’s so easy to drown in the million daily tasks before you give a single second to pursuing MORE than the daily drudgery. Ask for help or pay for help, but get some help. Use that backbone to make the space in your day for MORE: more exercise, more reading, more writing, more relaxation, prayer, meditation, WHATEVER.

  • You’ve been given this mountain to show other women that it can be moved. (Rachel Hollis)
    On the second day, we did a meditation that focused on our future selves. We imagined our lives — down to the cars we drive and the outfits we wear — in five years, ten years, twenty years. We were instructed to envision every detail of the life we’re working toward. And then we were asked to pick a single word that could be a reminder of that vision. A word that, when we thought of it, could recenter us on our mission to build that life. I chose MOTIVATOR. It didn’t feel like a conscious decision. It felt like that word was there, waiting for me to find it.
    I went to RISE with a question: why the hell am I sharing so much of my life and spending all this time blogging and Instagramming? And I found an answer: I want to show all of you that since I can change my life, you can change yours, too. I want to motivate you to be better, more, stronger.
    We can’t change society. The problems are too big, too scary, too complicated. But we can change ourselves. And if enough of us change — into strong, healthy, compassionate people — society will change around us. From the inside out.

    OK, if you made it this far, I LOVE YOU. I tried to edit this post down multiple times, but there was too much to share. If you made it this far, RISE may be for you, too 💖 In 2019, there will be one-day mini-RISEs in several cities (including KC!), and the main conference will be held in June in Minneapolis. I hope I see ALL OF YOU there. We can laugh and cry together and also dance and drink and lose our voices. Like always, you can find me over on Insta if you have questions, or leave a comment here! If you were at RISE, I’d love to hear your power word!

Would you consider a conference like RISE? If no, why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Hi, I’m Caitlin! Thanks for reading. If you're new, here's a little about me: I'm a writer, editor, eater, and reader living in the Kansas City area. When I'm not working my 9-to-5, I'm cooking without a recipe, exploring the city, and probably procrastinating. I start from scratch each morning: progress is way more important to me than perfection.

Connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, and subscribe to The Fruitful Blog for tips on intentional living, meal planning, and more.

Author: Caitlin

Hi, I’m Caitlin! Thanks for reading. If you're new, here's a little about me: I'm a writer, editor, eater, and reader living in the Kansas City area. When I'm not working my 9-to-5, I'm cooking without a recipe, exploring the city, and probably procrastinating. I start from scratch each morning: progress is way more important to me than perfection. Connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, and subscribe to The Fruitful Blog for tips on intentional living, meal planning, and more.

24 thoughts on “My 10 Takeaways from RISE Women’s Conference by Rachel Hollis RISExLA 2018 recap

  1. Oh I love this so much! Thanks for taking the time to process and share all (or, more likely, some) of what you learned. Gosh I would love to go to a RISE conference.
    My question – as an introvert who would probably go by herself, do you think it’d be completely overwhelming and too much? I know I’d love the content but dance parties and social gatherings and mixers all stress me out 😉

    Love it!

    1. It is totally a choose-your-own-adventure kind of conference. You can TOTALLY socialize as much as you want or as little as you want. The dance party is even a separate ticket. It will likely still be overwhelming (700 women! In one room!), but you can keep to yourself if that’s what you’d prefer.

  2. I LOVE this recap of RISE. I actually went back to my booklet and filled in gaps of my own note taking. These takeaways are amazing…I am counting down to Rise 2019.

  3. I’m hoping to attend, but am curious about cost for the Minneapolis event. As a nonprofit rock star and a mom of two, I need to plan accordingly, financially, so I can MAKE it happen! I am an hour from MPLS, so this is a priority for ME.

    1. I believe my ticket for Rise 2018 in LA was $350, which was for a Premiere level seat. I think the balcony seats were much more affordable!

      1. Was the higher priced ticket worth it? The 2nd level ticket for Dallas is $400 and the only difference I see is you get a bag (valued at $25). Were the goodies in the bag worth the extra $200?

  4. Absolutely loved your re-cap of the RISE conference….thank you…even ‘snapped a couple of pics’ to use as reminders☺️ Maybe I might even muster up the courage (as well as the finances) to attend one in 2019! 😉

  5. I loved this SO much! Thank you for sharing your experience and take aways! Really wanting to go to the 2019 RISE Conference. 🙂

  6. Thank you for reviewing! I’m thinking about going in 2019 — in your opinion is it worth the extra money for the upgraded seat+ “goody bag” vs the balcony $200 ticket?

    1. Being closer to the stage is fun and exciting, and there are opportunities to interact that may be harder to appreciate from further away. The goody bag is nothing to write home about. I think the $200 ticket is just fine!

  7. Hi Caitlin!
    I just found your blog today – I attended the movie “Made for More” and was reflecting on it and looking for more information – and found you online thru google!!! And I also am from KC! Super cool!

    I looked and it appears that the RISE in 2019 in Minneapolis is already sold out! You mention small sessions around the US including KC- can you please share more with me? Maybe, I could attend that one.

    Thanks for creating and sharing this post on your notes and experience – helped me piece out some of what I saw in the movie last night!

    Cheers to 2019!!!

    1. Hi Tiffany! So happy you found me 🙂 unfortunately, the KC Event was canceled. It was initially part of Rachel’s book tour, which she decided to cancel due to her crazy traveling schedule. A bummer right now!

  8. I’m going to the event in Dallas and I don’t know anyone else. I love to dance and I’m tempted to buy a ticket to the dance party. Will it be super awkward to show up solo to this event or is it easy to connect with others there?

    1. As long as you’re brave enough to dance with strangers, you’ll be all good! Plus, you’ll likely have at least a couple friends by the dance party to chill with. Feel free to msg me on Insta if you have more questions.

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