On the drive out to the first-ever Focus on the Family women’s retreat in Palm Springs, I ran through my checklist over a hundred times. Things were running too smoothly; I had to have forgotten something. Judging by the laughter in the background, people were having fun. But all I could think of was everything that could go wrong.
Soon, the ladies pulled up to the hotel to be greeted by my team members. Each woman received a small bag containing sunscreen, a water bottle, a retreat program, and an invitation to attend a fashion show. One of our attendees had a new clothing line, and we’d be showing her work to end the retreat.
Mrs. Dobson was our keynote speaker, and she brought along some of the speakers she was touring with. After her speech, I heard someone say, “Grace, you can breathe. I think we made it!” Our attendees were calling this the most inspiring weekend they’d ever had. I smiled to myself, thinking how scared I’d been on the ride out. But I still had a nervous feeling in my stomach, and I knew it wouldn’t go away until after the fashion show.
“Three, two, one, go, go, go!” someone yelled from behind the stage. One by one our fashion models, all conference attendees, walked out to music and a cheering crowd. I looked around and saw everything in slow motion. The ladies were cheering for one another, clapping in unison and singing along. I knew at that moment that we had created something special. We had found a new group of donors, and we had given these ladies a sense of community once only experienced by their husbands.
As the models filed back out, the emcee addressed the crowd. It was time for the grand finale. There was no turning back now. “Ladies, we have one more surprise for you,” the emcee continued. “Yesterday, at the pool, a couple of French models on vacation asked if they could participate in this fashion show, and we said yes!”
From behind the stage, I held my breath as I watched the “French models” walk out from behind the curtain. Laughter, applause, and loud whistles rocked the room. Our French models were really the three male members of our development team, doing their best runway walk complete with heels and makeup.
A few hours later, as I was loading my car to head back, Peb found me in the parking lot. I froze, nervous. “You know, Grace, we’ve just raised the amount that our last five events for men brought in...combined!” I thought he was joking!
“Do you think my wife will see the pictures from the show?” Peb asked with a grin.
I exhaled with relief. “I’ll make sure of it.”
I’ll never forget that drive home. That was the day I realized that I’d need to get over my fear of failure at some point. The fear I’d put myself through all weekend was far worse than actually failing could ever have been.