With Anne Gordon, creator of Whale and Dolphin Wisdom Retreats, founder of a tour company as pioneer of the whale watching industry in Panama, and a former go-to animal trainer for the U.S. television and film industry, working on projects such as Northern Exposure, Legends of the Fall, A River Runs Through It, The Fugitive, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Practical Magic, Harry & the Hendersons, Benji, The Good Son, My Own Private Idaho, Twin Peaks, and more.

Join us in this fascinating conversation where Anne shares her adventures related to the natural world, from her early days working in a zoo, moving on to getting education in animal training, to her work in the tv and movie industry, and finally, creating a business that supports others in creating and facilitating life-changing, transformational retreats for coaches, healers, and spiritual and transformational leaders.

We discuss the ways that retreats transform a client experience (and create raving fans!), as well as questions for entrepreneurs to consider related to their own business and planning retreats – from the timeline for planning and executing, budgetary considerations, as well as what we can do in the midst of covid in regards to virtual retreats.

If you are seeking connection with your clients, if you have ever considered leading a retreat for your clients, or are considering an online retreat, this episode is for you! I’m so thrilled for you to hear from Anne, who cares deeply about helping others creating connection, transformation and healing, in themselves, and for their clients.

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Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:

  • “Allows for limiting beliefs and emotions that no longer serve you to bubble up in a gentle way and be released.”
  • Anne shares how a retreat can transform the experience for your clients.
  • “I’m an observer, I love to just watch the animals.”

Check out these highlights:

5:00 How Anne got started working with animals. 

8:30 How Anne got to be the film animal trainer in the Pacific Northwest. 

12:50 The movie that changed Anne’s life. 

16:60 “Work is done when work is necessary, not to just work.” 

19:00 How Anne got started in the whale retreats. 

21:30 “I love the wisdom we can learn from the dolphins and whales.”

27:00 The connection that has kept Anne connected to the whales. 

30:30 The transformation with the people who attend Anne’s retreats. 

31:50 The most powerful experience Anne has seen in her journey. 

36:00 Who does Anne serve?

39:00 Is there a way to create this experience in an online way?

42:00 Why you should start planning your online retreat now. 

48:00 Why we need to find a way to create new pathways for connections. 

49:40 Learn more about Anne’s gift to you. 

How to get in touch with Anne

On social media:






Anne shares her gifts for virtual retreats here and live retreats here.

Anne Gordon has been running her successful Whale and Dolphin Wisdom Retreats internationally since 2007. She shares the wisdom of the dolphins and whales through transformational retreats to spend time with and deepen your spiritual connection with the natural world.

She is a Retreat Success Coach who loves to share her comprehensive knowledge and experience of leading lucrative retreats in the last 13 years with coaches, healers and transformational leaders. She is dedicated to empowering you to easily create, fill and lead the transformational live and virtual retreats that you have been dreaming of.

Learn more about Anne here.

Imperfect Show Notes

We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below. 

GGGB Intro 0:00
Here’s what to expect today.

Anne Gordon 0:04
And we hired a local tribe of indigenous people called the embed our tribe as the actors. What I didn’t know is that they still live in traditional villages deep in the rain forest. So I got to hang out with them on the movie set and visit some of their villages on the weekends. And I was felt instantly at home with these people. And they took to me we just they’re just so warm and open and friendly and literally have the quality of life the rest of the world is searching for. Where family is first community is second and work is last priority work is done when work is necessary. That’s it right not just to work.

GGGB Intro 0:54
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.

Heather Pearce Campbell 1:27
Welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington and serving entrepreneurs, online entrepreneurs around the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business. Today I have my friend Anna Gordon with us and I am so excited to share and her stories before I kick into an introduction and I have overlapped for some time now when did we first meet and it was through genealogy.

Anne Gordon 2:00
Actually, I think it was a Jane Powell event in Arizona.

Heather Pearce Campbell 2:04
Yes, because those two worlds collide sometime. So that was spring of last year. That was like April, I want to say April, May of last year like that. Yeah, no, you’re right. Good memory and. And then since then, we’ve seen each other at several of their several other industry events, which has been super fun. And in that time, I’ve gotten to hear more and more about your story. I’ve gotten to learn a bit about your work and had some personal conversations with you and you just I love, I love what you do I love the idea of retreats. I love the way that it can support us both, both in business and in our personal transformation. So I think we’ve got a lot to dig into today. But for those of you listening who don’t know, and so Ann Gordon has been running her successful whale and dolphin wisdom retreats internationally since 2007. She shares the wisdom of the dolphins and wells through transformational retreats to spend time with and deepen your spiritual connection with the natural world. She is a retreat success coach who loves to share her comprehensive knowledge and experience of leading lucrative retreats in the last 13 years with coaches healers and transformational leaders. She’s dedicated to empowering you to easily create, fill and lead the transformational live and virtual retreats that you have been dreaming of. So like I said, and has a phenomenon, we’ll dig into a bit more, but she’s got a really rich history, connection to the natural world history working with animals. I think you’re also a certified dolphin energy healing practitioner, is that right?

Anne Gordon 3:49
That is true.

Heather Pearce Campbell 3:51
I didn’t even know that was a theme. So you’re gonna have to tell us about that. There. And then you also are a dolphin ambassador, a best-selling author, a speaker, and then obviously a retreat host and facilitator. So welcome. And I’m so excited to have you.

Anne Gordon 4:09
Thank you. It’s fun to be here. I’m honored to support you in your, your new podcast. It’s so much fun. And you know, I’ve watched you and develop and grow your business and it’s relatively a part of that.

Heather Pearce Campbell 4:23
No, thank you. Well, it has been a lot of fun. And the thing I love like we were talking about before we hit record here today, the thing I love about this podcast is you know people who come on and just have this wealth of wisdom that really can support people across their personal lives across their business lives. And I think so much of actually the variety of supports that exist in the coaching consulting transformational space like speakers, authors, we just have such a rich opportunity and a rich array of options for people In support to our business and to our personal development path, which Brian earned supports our businesses, right? So, talk to us. I’m curious for those who don’t know your story and don’t know how you got started, take us back to how you got started working with animals because you’ve had a long history a while.

Anne Gordon 5:17
Wow, okay. So we are going way back then is so far back that my very first spoken word was doggy Right. And so I grew up in the Seattle area, actually Olympia Washington. And my dad had a bowl, we lived right on the beach. And I got to spend a lot of time on the water and watching the Orca whales and playing on the beach, looking at the starfish and all the fun, fun life that a bounce there. And I just fell in love with animals. I always felt comfortable with them. And I went to Western Washington University there in Bellingham, yes, I studied biology, and animal behavior. And then after graduating university, I actually worked at Woodland Park Zoo, right there. And because we had all our favorite zoo, it’s a great zoo. And when I worked there, I’m sure it’s still ranked pretty high. But it was in the top 10 zoos in the country. Yeah. And it’s a great zoo. And I was actually the first woman to ever work in the carnivore department.

Heather Pearce Campbell 6:31

Anne Gordon 6:32
Mainly because the bears had these big heavy guillotine metal doors. And you had to be pretty strong to be able to lift them up on the rope and on the chain and my whole body way, counterbalance it.

Heather Pearce Campbell 6:48
Oh my gosh, well, I know the bear display intimately. We’ve been to the zoo numerous times. We’ve had family membership there for years. But the thing that’s so crazy about that, that display is you can be walking, walking, walking, right, and you can see them from you know, when you’re first coming into that exhibit area. But then you go around the corner, and there’s this glass or plexiglass, I assume. But now they can be right there like laying on the side of that Plexiglas because there’s all that water and then that rockery space always, always blows me away to be, you know, when they are close to be that close to a bear or a mammal really of any kind that size. It’s really like it just makes you catch your breath.

Anne Gordon 7:37
Yeah, it really does to be inches away from them. And when I was there, we did not have a display yet. We have a lot. And so they have improved their enclosures over the years. And it’s been great to watch them grow.

Heather Pearce Campbell 7:52
Yeah, no, it’s a fun zoo. They’ve got a lot of I mean, it’s it. I love it because you get tons of walking in. But I did not know that you worked there. That’s so good.

Anne Gordon 8:03
A long time ago. So I actually loved the zoo, and I liked more hands on interaction, and the zoo didn’t really have that, for obvious reasons. So I worked for a company in California that trained people how to train wild animals. So I work there, not very long, about eight months, it was a new company. We didn’t get paid right away. So I’m like, Okay, this is a great experience. Now I need to earn a living. So I took what I learned there, and I came back to the Seattle area. And I started training wild animals to go out to schools doing educational outreach programs.

Heather Pearce Campbell 8:47
That makes total sense.

Anne Gordon 8:49
It was fun. I had a tiger and a wolf and a cougar and raccoons that would go out and do school assemblies and, and teach an appreciation and respect for the wildlife and our natural world around us. And that was really fun. And I did that for about five years. And I realized that at that time, nobody in the Seattle area was providing animals for the film industry. Um, so I started kind of networking and attending some local Seattle film crew meetings, and I ended up being a big fish in a small pond and being the film animal trainer in the Pacific Northwest. Both i’d serve Portland, Seattle, and I even worked up in Vancouver a number of times.

Heather Pearce Campbell 9:39
I was going to say, I know Vancouver has a big a big spot in the TV industry. Right. There’s a lot of shows and stuff to get film there.

Anne Gordon 9:51
Yeah, absolutely. They’ve got really good tax incentives and a really good infrastructure. But when I started they were just getting going on that. So Seattle. got quite a few projects we did Northern Exposure and Twin Peaks and you know, all kinds of fun Harry and the Hendersons fun movies Homeward Bound I worked on in Oregon and some fun stuff. I did that and I ended up working in the film industry for over 20 years.

Heather Pearce Campbell 10:21
Wow. Wow. Well, I love that and I knew you’d worked on some big films like Dances with Wolves.

Anne Gordon 10:28
I did just that one, but I do Legans of the Falls.

Heather Pearce Campbell 10:31
That’s the one I was thinking of. Sorry. Legends of the fall. Yeah, there was one other and I love that you I didn’t know that you worked on Harry and the Hendersons.

Anne Gordon 10:40
I did!

Heather Pearce Campbell 10:42
One of my favorite movies as a kid. Oh my god.

Anne Gordon 10:46
Yeah, it was a fun one to work on. And I didn’t train the Big Foot though. Yeah. But yeah, I did a Vanilla Sky home for the holidays. I, you know, a lot of Northern Exposure, all that fun stuff.

Heather Pearce Campbell 11:01
Yes. Oh, that’s awesome. So you had all this experience in the movie world, the film industry, you became known as the go to person it sounds like in this region, but I think you you did other movies and other locations, right?

Anne Gordon 11:17
Yeah, exactly. Once somebody finds you, yeah. Then they and they like you, they bring you anywhere. So I also worked, I actually moved. And that was like, early, right? In 2000, I moved to California, became a freelance animal coordinator, animal trainer. And that’s when I got I landed the new Benji movie, I did some of the Air Bud movies, I landed some big contracts as far as animals go and film. And I got a call. I was actually working on a film in Vancouver with the Air Bud producers. And I got a call to work on a film in Panama. And the funny thing was, I almost turned it down. In fact, I said no three times really the producer, but the producer was a local Seattle producer. I’d worked with many, many times over the years, a friend. And he called and said, Hey, we’re doing this film in Panama, we need you. And I was like, I’m tired. I’ve been working on shows back to back to back. I really just want to retire. No, I’m not going to Panama. And Panama, like, for most people is not on many people’s bucket list. And I knew it had a canal and a jungle. And that was about it. And so I he said, Well, just please, please, please read the script. So because it was a good friend, I said, All right, send it to me. So he did. And normally I like to read a script in one setting so that I can it’s almost like I’m watching the movie, I can get a feel for the whole thing. Well, I was working on a show where the dog was the lead character. I didn’t have two hours to sit and read a script. Yeah, I got it in bits and pieces, which is not ideal. And as I’m reading it, I’m like, No, I hate this movie. There’s horrible violence. I don’t like the theme of it. No. And then it got to the end of the movie. And the transition was so beautiful. The way and ended was amazing. I’m like, I have to do this. Oh, my goodness. Little did I know it was going to change my life for ever. Because that film was a true story about a tribe of indigenous peoples in Ecuador, that in 1956, they actually killed five American missionaries. And it was a big thing when it happened. And it was on Life magazine, it was a big deal. But the amazing part of the story is that the widows and children of those slain missionaries went to go live with that tribe. To teach them that fear that love and forgiveness are stronger than fear. Wow. So really powerful movie. And we were working with our technical advisor was the son of the slain missionary who grew up in the village. And the man who killed his father became his father figure and the grandfather to his children.

Heather Pearce Campbell 14:32
That’s intense.

Anne Gordon 14:34
Yeah. So now you know why I had to be a part of that movie. Right?

Heather Pearce Campbell 14:39
Wow. So you read that movie script, though, got to the end of it realized what a powerful story it was. And so you said yes to doing it. So what comes next? How because you said that changed your life. How did it change your life?

Anne Gordon 14:54
Well, I went to Panama with a complete open mind I had no agenda other than this is going to be interesting movie, I’m going to meet some amazing people, including the widows of some of the missionaries, as well as some of the tribe members who actually did the killing. Ah, so that’s what I was looking forward to. And of course, I love an adventure, I love going someplace new and learning as much about it as I can. And so I went there, and we hired, we shot in Panama, rather than Ecuador, where it really happened, just logistically financially made more sense. And we hired a local tribe of indigenous people called the embed our tribe as the actors. What I didn’t know is that they still live in traditional villages deep in the rain forest. So I got to hang out with them on the movie set, and visit some of their villages on the weekends. And I was felt instantly at home with these people. Hmm. And they took to me we just, they’re just so warm and open and friendly, and literally have the quality of life the rest of the world is searching for amazing where family is first community is second and work is last priority work is done when work is necessary. That’s it, right? Not just work. Yeah. And so I love these people. And I spent early on in the film production, I got to spend a weekend out in the village and spent the night there. And the first morning I woke up in the village and I just had this knowing that these people would be in my life forever. And I had no idea what that looked like yet. But I was falling in love with them as a people and as a culture. And I mean, I really felt like I was in National Geographic when I’m swimming in the river. This

Heather Pearce Campbell 16:57
That’s what I’m imaging right, in my head.

Anne Gordon 17:00
Yes, with these beautiful brown milk chocolate skin babies with their naked and they’re laughing and having a great time. And we’re throwing water and you know, splashing around together. And, and then as fate would have it, I happen to meet one particular man from the tribe. And we fell in love despite the fact that we didn’t speak each other’s language. I didn’t speak Spanish, or much less his language. And he didn’t speak a word of English. And so our first few dates are rather interesting. And the dictionaries language dictionary between us at all times. But we figured it out. And we got married, and I married literally into the tribe. And then after the film, I stayed an extra month with him. And then came back to California where I was living at the time and packed everything up. And within a few months, I was back down there living. Wow. Holy cow. So like it literally changed your entire life. It did. It did. And there’s really no film industry to speak of in Panama. So I couldn’t continue that career from there and going back and forth to films in the US or anywhere else was too hard. Yeah. And so I shifted to working in tourism, because that’s how the village sustains itself as entertaining visitors, as they’re proud to share their culture and history and how they live with anybody who would like to learn about it.

Heather Pearce Campbell 18:43
And this was in Panama?

Anne Gordon 18:45
In Panama. And so I moved down there at the end of 2004.

Heather Pearce Campbell 18:50
Okay, got it. So you shifted to tourism. This is then how you got into the whale and dolphin retreats?

Anne Gordon 18:58
Exactly. I started first one working as a freelance guide to take people out to the village. Then I started my own tour company, focusing just on the village tours. And obviously with my unique relationship with the tribe, people were really intrigued with that and wanted to come with us. And then I’m in a country that’s literally two oceans 50 miles apart. And you’ve got the Atlantic on one side of the Caribbean and the Pacific on the other. And it’s like, Okay, what species of whales and dolphins Can I see here? And how do I get out there to find them? Yes. And I found absolutely nothing at all. In fact, it took two years to find out that Panama is one of the only places in the world where you get humpback whales that come from the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere to breed and give birth. Hmm. So it was like That it’s amazing. It’s easy to find them. But nobody knows that. In fact, most Panamanians, you tell them we have whales and like, really dangerous fish. Well, they’re not dangerous and they’re not fish.

Heather Pearce Campbell 20:16
Right? So you found them leave it to Anne.

Anne Gordon 20:19
So I literally talk about gut and guts and grit, right? Yeah, I literally pioneered the whale watching industry in the entire country of Panama. Nobody was doing it before me. And it wasn’t easy. This, this blond, blue-eyed gringa creating a whole new industry that nobody even had even considered.

Heather Pearce Campbell 20:46
Right? Local locals didn’t even know you had whales there, right?

Anne Gordon 20:50
And those that didn’t care. And so that and then, of course, I’m starting these tours, and nobody knows that you can go whale watch it. So it’s this huge, uphill battle of education for the locals as well as tourists coming to visit the country. It’s like, how do you tell every tourist who’s thinking about visiting Panama, but they should come? Well watch it.

Heather Pearce Campbell 21:15

Anne Gordon 21:16
So it was not easy. It took a long time. But it did really well. And as I started doing the day tours, I thought, this is really fun. And with my biology background, I, you know, I can tell the biology and the behavior of the animals, the whales were watching. But I love the spiritual aspect. And I love the wisdom that we can learn from the dolphins and the whales. And so I wanted to go deeper with my clients. And so that’s when I thought I could offer retreats, where we spend a week out with the dolphins and the whales.

Heather Pearce Campbell 21:59
Not just a day trip to right. Yes,

Anne Gordon 22:02
Yes, yeah. Cuz the day trip people, they’re just you know, anybody from all walks of life, right? It’s great. But I’m very respectful. And I’m not about to start talking woowoo spiritual stuff on a day tour, because I don’t want to offend anybody. I don’t want to be respectful. But people who come for a spiritual retreat and are already into yoga and meditating, and then it’s like, yeah, whoa, let’s go for it.

Heather Pearce Campbell 22:29
So how did you make that shift? How did you go from like running this tourism-based business, very different business model light, right, to then really attracting what I would think is probably an entirely different type of clientele. Right, for a much different experience. Yeah, absolutely.

Anne Gordon 22:50
So I actually kept the day tours going and I went higher guides. There were some a couple of really good guides in Panama has some great tour guides, and some of them know about whales, so awesome. I hired them for the day tour. So I kept that going, while I focused on the retreat aspect of it. And in the meantime, when I first moved to Panama, I had also attended a school that taught the more spiritual aspect of the dolphins, and where as you mentioned earlier, I became a certified dolphin energy healer. Hmm. And that’s all about it’s like any other kind of energy healing where you know, tap into the source or like with Reiki or any you know, laying on of hands. It’s just tapping in and becoming this channel or this straw to funnel the healing energy to your clients. And, and my particular flavor of energy was the dolphin energy. And so I started doing that. And as I was doing that, I started connecting in with the more spiritual dolphin, whale lovers in the world. And so that’s when I created my retreats. I already had a bit of an audience, not a huge one, but a bit of an audience got it. So people who were specifically looking for variances with whales and dolphins, exactly and love that spiritual aspect. And there were a couple other places in the world where people were offering retreats so I kind of pattern and modeled my business after those. And, and the beauty of Panama is, it was kind of like I explained earlier, it was tough in that nobody knew about it. On the other hand, we were almost always still to this day, the only boat on the water, looking and interested in the whales. Yeah, more often than not, it’s not like some of these places where you go out there. I mean, just even here in California is out a week or so ago. And they were like 11 boats, around the whales and the dolphins. It’s like really This is a little crazy. Yeah, yeah. Whereas when you’re the only boat and I like to use a catamaran sailboat, so it’s even quieter and less intrusive for the whales. And it was just an amazing experience. So I could really promote that as an advantage. Yeah. On my retreats. So it worked out really, really beautifully. And I started running my retreats. And I also started offering my services to facilitate retreats. So because I realized I could lead a retreat literally every other week for the entire three months of whale season. But I can’t fill that many retreats on my own. Yes. So I started approaching people like healers, and spiritual healers and coaches and like animal communicators, who are leading retreats and other places around the world and say, Hey, you want to come bring your group here?

Heather Pearce Campbell 26:02
And it’s the perfect JV. Right?

Anne Gordon 26:05
The perfect joint venture. Exactly. It was really, really fun.

Heather Pearce Campbell 26:11
Well, and I imagine it really expanded your ability to connect with people who could not only benefit from your experience, right, the experience that you have in that particular area, but expand your own world of people that you could serve through that experience. .

Anne Gordon 26:29
Absolutely. And then the other thing I started doing was after running these retreats in Panama for a few years, like there’s other places in the world with whales and dolphins, I want to go to Yeah, so why not lead a retreat there and bring people and then have a paid vacation, because when I lead a retreat, it’s like being on vacation with some amazing people that end up being great friends, it does not work for me is the work is planning it getting it all put together, but on it. It’s fabulous. So I now lead my retreats in Hawaii in the Bahamas, and Mexico, French Polynesia, I’ve done them all over the world.

Heather Pearce Campbell 27:11
Oh, wow. And how, you know, I understood like the being in a time and place where the whale and dolphin watching didn’t exist in Panama. There just wasn’t How did that become the thing long term for you? Right? How did that become such a connection for you? What is it that has really kept you connected to the whale and dolphin theme?

Anne Gordon 27:37
The more time I spent on the water with them. The more I’m an observer, I love to just watch the animals and just try and figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing. But then, I also saw I was able to put it together in these powerful lessons. Like, for example, when we are in the presence of a dolphin or a whale, I realized that it is impossible to think about anything else. It brings us right into that present moment. And so you can’t think about the bills on your desk or the project you have to do next week at work. That’s just gone. And that’s a really beautiful moment. And something that we humans rarely do is being in the present moment. And what I would see was, especially with the dolphins, people would start to get silly and playful and childlike and just burst into goofy children’s songs and just have fun in a way they never felt they had permission to before.

Heather Pearce Campbell 28:48
Hmm. And is that because of the way dolphins show up? I mean, are they I don’t have any experience with whales? Aside from observing, you know what I’ve seen on TV.

Anne Gordon 29:02
Okay, we’re taking you out arco watching right I calmed up Seattle next time.

Heather Pearce Campbell 29:06
Well, the funny thing is, is I feel like I did go on a whale-watching boat in. In like middle school. I was part of this group that was like, they were called the explorers. But it was basically an advanced learning group and we took a special trip to Seattle. I lived on the east side of the state. I was sicker than a dog like I was just focused on night growing up I had so much that was my you know, my big experience. fails. It was a Super Bowl.

Anne Gordon 29:36
Oh, man. We’ll work on getting you over that.

Heather Pearce Campbell 29:40
Totally, I needed all the things whatever the wristband, the peppermint, right.

Anne Gordon 29:45
Ginger, all that stuff. Oh, man. Oh, man. Yeah, so when you’re in the presence of a dolphin, it’s like almost impossible not to smile. I believe that, you know, they have this physical smile on their face. Right and But they’re leaping and they’re turning and looking at you as they’re writing the bow wave. And it just brings so much joy when people are in their presence.

Heather Pearce Campbell 30:10
I so see that. And now you get to facilitate the thing that I love about your work. And I know that for people listening, they haven’t probably yet heard some of the stories that you share about transformation in the people who are able to attend. Talk to us about that.

Anne Gordon 30:29
Yeah, it’s what I found is in the very first retreat that I led, it was interesting, I came home and I noticed that some of the people were like, emotions would come up. And they just need to let out their tears for whatever reason. And then after the retreat, I started feeling sad and had all this emotion coming up. And I thought, what, where’s this coming from? I just had this amazing week with the whales. And I had a sold out retreat and all these great people, nobody’s happy. But I realized, because I was leading the retreat. I couldn’t feel it in the moment. But the minute I was home, that spending time with the whales, or even just the retreat, the sacred space of a retreat, it just naturally allows for limiting beliefs and emotions that no longer serve you to bubble up in a beautiful, gentle way. So that they can be released. And you can move forward and reconnect to yourself, nor your inner self, your purpose, your soul, whatever word you want to call it. Yeah. And, and then that natural inspiration and motivation, and reflection just happens all by itself. And I. And one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever seen was, we had a woman come on one of my retreats, this is one in Mexico. And she came with a friend. So I did, she wasn’t even on my email list. She didn’t know me from Adam. Hmm. And she came, so I knew nothing about her backstory. And she was pleasant, a little quiet on the retreat, but pleasant had a good time. And in our very final sharing circle, before we all said goodbye, she shared that seven years prior, her husband had died in a car accident, where the car burst into flames. And she was two cars behind and saw the whole thing. I mean, I get chills every time I tell the story. And I can’t even imagine how horrifying that was. And she shared that for the first time on our retreat. She felt happy again. Hmm. That’s the power of retreats.

Heather Pearce Campbell 32:53
Yeah, well, and even I mean, that is an amazing story, seven years and lots of tragedy and loss, you know, to be living and reliving during that period of time. And I had a sister died in a car accident, in a line of cars in front of us. Yeah, it was. I could relate a little bit didn’t see it. But suddenly traffic came to a stop. And, you know, we had all been together at a family function. And we were headed back home and I had to kind of peel off at a certain point and go to Seattle and other family were going different ways. But everybody had been on this one straight stretch for a while and people were getting out of their cars to you know, talk about why suddenly like this entire high stretch of highway just stop right and then new started traveling. It was in gold, you know, the destruction of the car. And suddenly, anyways, it was really horrible. And that’s the living with the tragedy and the what ifs and, you know, all of my siblings, like, we’ve dealt with that in different ways of like, yeah, we have stopped it. Was she tired? Could we have helped her? Should we have driven? Was it because I texted her to see if she was okay, you know? Anyways, I can’t imagine though. Yes, the visually seeing that and

Anne Gordon 34:17
Yeah, no,

Heather Pearce Campbell 34:19
But I think in life, like even even outside of the depth of that story.

Anne Gordon 34:24
Mm hmm.

Heather Pearce Campbell 34:25
I feel like it’s so easy in life to let all of the things pile on where it’s just literally almost impossible to create the kind of space that we need. Right to really truly accomplish a reset right to accomplish an actual break and even on occasion, like anybody who has small children and has tried to plan a vacation like my husband and I joke like is there such thing as a vacation if you have such a like, I don’t know. I’m so decided about whether or not that’s actually a thing.

Anne Gordon 34:57
Different kind of vacation.

Heather Pearce Campbell 35:01
Work vacation, that’s what I call kill. Yeah, I think the struggle is real to actually create space for transformation. And if you don’t have a meditation practice, or you’re not doing that in our daily lives, which we know, we all need to be doing more of my birthright, I think a retreat is a really, really unique opportunity for that. So talk to us about who like when you are thinking about who you can serve, who really needs to be utilizing retreats in their businesses, because, you know, for those of us in this space, and when I talk about this space, I mean, coaches, consultants, online educators, and experts, speakers, authors, but they’re people that live often in the self development world and transformational space, as well as what I call the online information world of business. Who are your folks who are people that if they have not yet considered leading retreats? Like who are they who should be considering this?

Anne Gordon 36:08
Yeah, retreats, as we’ve been talking about, are so powerful, I call them the ultimate transformational experience. Yes, because it does, it gets people disconnected from their daily life and all the distractions and the children and the business and the phone and the email and, and on and on and on, and brings us back to ourselves in a beautiful way. And anybody who has clients that they work with either one on one, or in group training programs, or as a healer, as a teacher, or if you are an author, or an expert, a speaker, and you’re, you’re on a mission, to make a transformation and impact in other people’s lives, and you haven’t considered leading a retreat. What I found is, it’s one of the most amazing ways to connect on a deep level with your clients. Now, when I talk about retreat, I’m not talking about 100 people, right? You know, ideally, the sweet spot is like 12, to 15 people on your retreat. And when you’re speaking on stage, or when you’re giving leading a group program, or you’re even working one on one, you’re more professional with them you are, you’re on the pedestal, you’re the guru, you’re the teacher, you’re the one to follow the mentor. But what you’re in a retreat, you’re that and you’re the buddy that you’re standing next to while you’re watching the whales while you’re doing the zip line. And maybe you’re as scared as they are, when you’re learning to surf. Or you’re, you know, taking this amazing tour or sipping wine together, and in the vineyards of Italy, wherever your retreat is, or doing yoga in Bali, or Costa Rica, it doesn’t matter, but you’re participating alongside of them. You’re sitting together at meals, and you’re sharing stories together. So it’s, it’s you’re becoming friends with these people, and you’re really building this deep, deep connection with them. Yes, in a way, you can’t in any other format.

Heather Pearce Campbell 38:30
But and I was gonna say I think the thing that stands out to me about a retreat, especially as somebody who really regardless of what the business is about, develop, community wants to develop relationships within their clientele, that, you know, a retreat is a phenomenal way to accomplish that level of connection.

Anne Gordon 38:54
Absolutely. There’s nothing like it. And then what it does is it turns your retreat participants into raving fans.

Heather Pearce Campbell 39:05
That like over the top experience that is so extraordinary, you don’t get it in other ways,

Anne Gordon 39:11
Right? You just don’t get it any other way. And so now they are much more likely to, you know, spend more money with you on more maybe VIP days, or, you know, in your high-end mastermind or whatever your next big offer is. They’re like, Oh yeah, I’m in because I spent a week with her. And we had the most amazing time and I love her. Yes, I’m in.

Heather Pearce Campbell 39:35
Right, I see that. I see absolutely how that happens. So for folks right now who are listening and thinking like, yeah, this sounds nice, but right COVID we’re in the middle of COVID. And, you know, I’m sure whenever this interview gets published, we’re still going to be in COVID because it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. What do you have to say to those folks that are like, you know, it sounds great. It sounds good, but it’s just doesn’t seem a fit right now or so that that’s one question, right? Like, okay, maybe, but maybe it’s down the roadways, right? Or is there a way to create that type of connection and transformational experience in an online version, right? Because so many people are trying to figure out how to shift. I mean, every I spoke with a client of mine who I’ve done business coaching with in the past, and she’s a local photographer, and she’s phenomenal. I used to be a photographer as well. And she’s trying to figure out how to do Santa photos. Right, this year over zoom and like, like the Santa experience, I mean, talk about like, I’d never even thought of that, like, everybody, regardless of what they’ve been doing in the past is having to rethink how they’re viewing it right now. And what that looks like. So, you know, one, what do you have to say to the folks that are like, yeah, that sounds nice, but COVID? And then two, well, can you really achieve the same experience or something similar through an online version?

Anne Gordon 41:09
Yeah, absolutely. Great questions. And the answer is yes to both. And that is that right now, even though it seems crazy to be thinking about planning a retreat for your clients, here’s the thing, unless you have a list, a huge list of 100,000 people, which most of us don’t, and, and even then if your clients are not used to you leading a retreat, it may take some, some, you know, they have to figure their schedule out. Some people need up to a year to be able to plan their vacation, etc, etc. So I teach that you want to give yourself nine to 12 months to promote your retreat.

Heather Pearce Campbell 41:52
Got it. So you need a really a pretty long pipeline. I mean, you’ve got quite some time. Okay.

Anne Gordon 41:58
So now’s actually the perfect time to start planning your live retreat. So that you want to have it ready for spring or summer in 2021. So you give yourself you set yourself up for success to fill it. And you’re also going to get better deals right now on hotels and retreat centers, because they’re eager for people to be approaching them right now. And much more flexible about dates. And of course, the airlines are much more flexible and really crazy low prices right now. Yeah. So you know, you could book your vacation, your retreat for, you know, a year from now, and get amazing prices to fly anywhere in the world. Hmm. So even though it seems crazy to think about you, what you want to do is start planning now so that the minute the travel doors are open, and people feel safe. Your retreat is already you’ve got the budget, the prices, you’ve got everything figured out. So you can say, okay, you’re thinking about traveling, come with me, and we’ll have this amazing transformational experience.

Heather Pearce Campbell 43:08
Awesome. Awesome. And for folks who are who is because the connection part really speaks to me, right? I’m somebody that craves connection. COVID is really hard, because like you and I, for example, meta alive. Exactly. Right. Yes. And then our experience has been aside from knowing each other online now, getting to see each other at events. And so for people, you know, like us where the connection part, especially through their business is really significant. What do you have to say for, you know, what they should be thinking about currently, right near future six might?

Anne Gordon 43:45
Yep. Yeah, so this whole pandemic kind of really threw me for a loop, obviously, because this is based on travel.

Heather Pearce Campbell 43:53
And seeing and touching and being.

Anne Gordon 43:56
Being together. And so when this happened, when we all went into lockdown in March, I started thinking about it. And I had never ever considered a virtual retreat before ever. I’ve done online coaching, and I’ve done online programs, but that’s a whole different thing. Yeah. And so I’m like, How the heck can I do that? Because I take people around the world to swim with dolphins and whales. How can that be done virtually? And so I started thinking about it. And I thought, Wait a minute, I lead meditations. So why can’t I lead a meditation where we’re swimming with side by side with a whale or a dolphin? And here’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to get wet. You don’t have to worry about how you look in a swimming suit. There’s no sunscreen. You don’t even have to worry about going underwater or breathing, or even sharks. None of those things exist in a meditation. So I Call them spiritual swims. And so I thought, well, I’m just gonna try this. Yeah. And I, I had a retreat that was supposed to happen in May in the Bahamas to swim with dolphins. So I that’s been postponed. And so I decided I would offer a virtual retreat on the exact same days we were supposed to be together. And it was amazing. It blew my mind. Because what I found is people who came together on the first day who didn’t know each other yet, we did, what we did is we met for two hours every day for six days in a row. And I taught some wisdom that we could learn about the dolphins and learn from them. And I did spiritual swims. And I did a group dolphin energy healing session. And we’d had partner exercises. By the last day one we had tears of transformation on almost every day of the retreat. Wow. And we had on the last day, people were telling each other how much they loved each other, when they had never met before. And it was, it blew me away how powerful the virtual format can be.

Heather Pearce Campbell 46:27
Amazing. But it sounds like you take some of the philosophies and just the knowledge that you have about what creates real connection and transformation in the context of a retreat and just are applying those to a totally different format.

Anne Gordon 46:43
Exactly. And so when I say it’s a virtual retreat, this is not a an online event where I’m lecturing the whole time, it’s not just me teaching, it’s bringing in as many aspects as I can, that we will experience on a live retreat. So bringing in some movement, bringing in play, bringing it laughter, bringing in activities and group sharing circles and so on, to create that retreat feel in a virtual format.

Heather Pearce Campbell 47:12
Yeah. When really like you are the facilitator of my experience, not, you know, just standing up and teaching and lecturing and correct. Yes, yeah. Well, I I love this. And I think that, you know, everybody right now is figuring out how, how do they show up in new ways? How do they create connection in ways that they haven’t before? Because the alternative is painful, right? That was with a gentleman earlier today. And he’s like, you know, a huge part of his business like you dependent on travel. He was a speaker, he does a bunch of travel photography, and you know, and then he’s, you know, and I think he’s probably in his 60s, early 60s, if I were to guess, but he has a girlfriend, and they have a hard time seeing each other during cut, you know, and it’s just like, all the things if we cannot figure out how to create new pathways for connection, yeah, new opportunities for connection in our work. And in, you know, the way that we show up and serve our clients, I think that we all are missing out.

Anne Gordon 48:20
Yeah, absolutely. We all have plenty of family time. If we are, you know, living in our homes, we’re getting lots of great quality family time, which is beautiful.

Heather Pearce Campbell 48:30
On the other hand, a break from that.

Anne Gordon 48:32
Sometimes we need a break Exactly. So but what we’re missing is quality connection time with colleagues, with peers, with people who are facing the same challenges that we’re facing. And that’s where a virtual retreat can serve that need. And so I started teaching how to lead transformational virtual retreats. And I do it in a virtual retreat format, which is really fun. It’s usually a one day, six hour day or two days, three hours each day. And I incorporate some fun games, and some partners share different activities, as well as providing content, so that people with I model, the virtual retreat, while they’re learning how to lead one, and it’s super, super fun.

Heather Pearce Campbell 49:26
Well, and I love that. I mean, I think that this is a resource that’s so many in the folks that I serve, right, who were an online business, like everybody should be considering this for their business and as a way to supplement the experience the connection of their community, the connection to their clients. I think your gift right, you’ve got a gift around virtual retreats.

Anne Gordon 49:46
I oh, yeah, sure. So I created this. This basically it’s a workbook where you can work through and it’s called the virtual retreats Planning Guide.

Heather Pearce Campbell 49:59
Yep, and for people People that are listening, be sure I’m going to drop all of the links so that you can connect with and I’m going to drop her link to this gift at legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast, which is where you can find all the show notes. So and continue, tell us about this guide.

Anne Gordon 50:14
Yes, so basically, it’s going to give you tell you exactly what you need to think about what you need to include in your virtual retreat, and it’s fillable. So you can just write right in the guide and work with it, use it as a tool to create your virtual retreat. So I’m happy to share that with you all. And one thing I’ve learned about virtual retreats now that I’m doing them, it’s like, why haven’t I been doing this all along? They are the perfect lead in to promoting and build momentum for your live retreat, or whatever your next high end offer is? Because let’s face it, offering a retreat at maybe $3,000. And includes travel, and maybe it’s somebody in your email list that you’ve never had any interaction with. Right? That’s a big ask the big ask, yep. But a virtual retreat that you lead at maybe 197. Or somewhere around there is an easy ask and easy. Yes. And after spending time with you on your virtual retreat that know like and trust factor is like, exponentially higher. And you can say, Well, if you had fun today, join me on my live retreat, or join me in my mastermind or sign up for VIP day to get more of me.

Heather Pearce Campbell 51:37
Hmm, I love that. So using it as actually an introductory experience, not the final experience. That’s nominal. Yes. Well, and you’re right, the online world, we have such an opportunity right now to come up with new ways of doing things and creating new ways to serve and right. You know, I think the online retreat idea is really fun to think about, and I think probably intimidate some people who have not led retreats before. So if you’re listening, like I just love the idea of a like a done for you guide, like fill in the blanks go. That’s from somebody who has so much experience leading retreats of all kinds now both online and in person, and really knowing how to create a transformative, you know, transformational experience for people. So and where do you like to connect for people that are listening and that think I want more? And obviously, they can go get this gift? We’re gonna shoot for them? You know, where they find the show notes? Where do you like to connect online? Where can they find you?

Anne Gordon 52:46
Well, the easiest thing for me is probably email. Okay.

Heather Pearce Campbell 52:50
And we’ll drop your email in those links as well. What Final Thoughts? Do you want to leave with people who have listened and have been part of the conversation today?

Anne Gordon 53:01
Well, first, gratitude for spending your time with us today. Really appreciate that. And just, if you’re thinking, no way I could pull this off. Just know that really, a virtual retreat is so simple, and it’s not that hard to fill, that if you just start building your schedule, and list the activities you want to put in there. It’s amazing. It really fills up quite fast. I believe that you know, you’re in when you put in time for partner shares and, and sharing circles and all of that. It’s like six hours as a piece of cake to fill. So anybody can lead a virtual retreat. It’s a great addition to your offers to your services to your business. And once you start leaving a few of those don’t be surprised if you get the bug to lead a live retreat down the road.

Heather Pearce Campbell 53:56
I love it. Oh, I love it. Well, Anna, thank you so much for joining us and sharing. And you just had quite the story. I there was so much in there that I didn’t know about. And yes, I love it. I love your connection to nature being a big fan of nature in the natural world myself. I really, I mean, I think I just posted on Instagram last night like how much I’m missing that sense of adventure because one thing I would usually do in conjunction with business like i’d schedule a business trip is that either take my family with me and we plan time for adventures or I tried to find a little bit of time to myself maybe at the very end before I fly back to like you know even in San Francisco which there’s not you know, I mean you’re in a big city but I took and that was I think were you there at the mastermind.

Anne Gordon 54:45
Yeah, yeah,

Heather Pearce Campbell 54:46
That was maybe me for the last gv ology the last place I’ve seen you.

Anne Gordon 54:51
Yeah, so it was like November or something.

Heather Pearce Campbell 54:54
Yes,in San Francisco and I took Sunday and literally walked like 17 miles and went to the waterfront and, you know, so those things that usually for me involved finding nature or finding beautiful scenery are so rewarding and so, so fulfilling. And so we just have to find new ways to do that right now.

Anne Gordon 55:18

Heather Pearce Campbell 55:19
I love your message. I love that it’s really about connection and transformation. So excited to share your gifts. So, if you’re listening, be sure to visit the show notes. Connect with Anne Gordon, and thank you and I really look forward to seeing you again in person hopefully in the not too distant future.

Anne Gordon 55:35
Me too. Thank you so much for having me. I always love spending time with you, Heather and, and it’s been a real privilege to share with you and with your audience. Well, thank you.

Heather Pearce Campbell 55:45
We’ll talk soon.

Anne Gordon 55:46
All right. Bye. Bye.

GGGB Intro 55:52
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit, and Great Business podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. four key takeaways links to any resources As mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at legal website warrior.com slash podcast, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us to keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.