What I Learned At Lift Off

Two wise teachers, 15 students ready to be transformed. An idyllic setting at Saguaro Lake Ranch, lessons, laughter, tears and a Barry Manilow song.

How could magic NOT happen?

Charlie Gilkey and Pam Slim are the change agents behind Lift Off, a twice-yearly retreat for entrepreneurs looking to get to the next level in their business. 

While it’s impossible to accurately depict the tremendous energy, relationships and transformation that occurred, I want to share a few of my takeaways from Lift Off 2011 with you:

  • Identify your superpower(s). What is it that you do better than anyone else? Start by asking yourself the question, “What do I want to heal in the world?” This will connect you to your bigger WHY. Sometimes you’re not even aware of your superpower, as it comes so easily to you; you often take it for granted.
  • Every moment is a moment to practice. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to make mistakes. You WILL mess up. Just be present and keep practicing your craft.
  • You’re not just a service provider, you’re a solutions provider. Figure out what your clients are struggling with – their most pressing issues – and learn how to deliver the solution. You’ll attract many more clients when you position yourself as the solution to their problems.
  • ASK your clients what they need most. Your customers’ needs should drive your products and services, not what you want to create or what you think might be best for them.
  • Get a handle on your finances. If you’ve never looked at a P&L statement for your business, then what you really have is a hobby. You don’t have to be a CPA, but you need to know how much money is flowing in and out of your business. Why would the universe give you more if you aren’t taking care of what you already have?
  • Do Epic Shit (thanks, Charlie). If you want to change the world, you need to start respecting the work you’re doing. Take your work very seriously and start thinking about how you can really make a difference. If you don’t respect your work, how can you expect others to?
  • Double you happiness. What do you want to be doing more of? Making more money isn’t necessarily the path to more joy.
  • Define success on your own terms. There are a lot of how-to’s and “shoulds” out there. Just because everybody else is doing it, doesn’t mean its right for you. There’s no shortage of copycats. How do YOU want to do it and differentiate yourself?

Most importantly, I learned that when there is real authenticity, vulnerability, kindness and a willingness to go deep, complete strangers can become friends. We are allowed to show up as our truest selves, warts and all.

And when that happens, we can REALLY put on a show.

 Cue to chorus:

At the Lift Off
Lift Off your business
The watering hole of entrepreneurship
At the Lift Off
Lift Off your business
Dreaming plus action: we’ll monetize your passion
At the Life Off
You will succeed



  1. Julica Hermann says

    Thank you, Liz, now if I lose my Lift Off notes, I can come back to this post and refresh my memory! I think you captured the experience rather brilliantly.

    I also want to add, for your readers who were not there, that the chorus should be sung to “Copacabana.” And now I’m going to be singing it in my head for ANOTHER week! Sheesh! ::grin::

  2. Agreed – great notes! Thank you for sharing them.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Liz. I’m so glad you were there, not just because you’re such a uniquely beautiful person, but because you contributed so much to the soul of the group.

    I love how you explained “Do Epic Shit,” too. You know why. 🙂

    • Thanks, Charlie. It means a lot coming from you. Your Maven-ness is just awesome, and the exact kick-in-the-butt I needed at Lift Off. I look forward to continuing to work together this year, and I promise I’ll see you and Angela in Portland very soon! 🙂

  4. I wanted to say I “do epic shit” on my fb page but someone I know said I couldn’t. You guys have energized my life to be sure!!! Have a LIFTOFF day – eat a frog and embrace one simple joy!

  5. Beautiful post, Liz! You’ve really shrunk Lift off down to its key soundbites. Will be referring to this when my memories get foggy. 🙂

    And the Chorus at the end had me singing!

  6. Here’s the comment again… with my name spelled right! 🙂

    Beautiful post, Liz! You’ve really shrunk Lift off down to its key soundbites. Will be referring to this when my memories get foggy.

    And the Chorus at the end had me singing!

    • Thanks so much, Barbara. LOVED your post about Lift Off as well. Clearly we were doing, and will continue to do epic shit. 🙂
      Thanks to Julica, my readers will now know exactly which song they should be humming the chorus to! xoxo

  7. This is so cool! I love the identifying your superpower pointer. That is an “add” to my list of tips. In fact, this post is a keeper for my book of resources. Liz, I hope to one day soon be able to work with you. You are inspiring and totally teach me everyday. Thanks!
    – Donina

  8. love this post Liz. two really good points – I’m a solutions provider + ask my list what they NEED most. Simple and profound. Love to go to the next one this is some good stuff. 🙂


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