I sat down with Victoria Yoga Conference organizer Carolyne Taylor to chat about her approach to bringing people together for yoga community events. Taylor has been putting on the Victoria Yoga Conference for four years, and she is often fondly referred to as Victoria’s very own Oprah. Carolyne is also the founder of other local organizations YouUnlimited and 24 Carrot Learning, which are focused on building a closer community and creating more opportunities for people to share their passions.

Here is a list of the top 7 things that Carolyne recommends when you are bringing people together for a big event in your community:

#1 People before Process:

When planning a large-scale event like the Victoria Yoga Conference, it is easy to get caught up in the particulars. Although attention to detail is important, connection is the reason we all come to these events in the first place. So, if you are feeling inundated with organization, emails, and errands, just remember: people come first, and the process will follow.

#2 Heart-centered Decisions:

Our heads are always the first to tell us we’re doing something wrong, or that we’ve made a bad choice, or that we’ve taken on too much. It is our hearts that will always lead where we need to go. Your heart will always catch up with your head, but your head may never catch up with your heart.

#3 Trust Your Intuition:

On the topic of heart-centered decisions… When you are in the business of building community and planning events, you often feel ideas coming on. You might be wandering in a new place or exploring an unknown part of your city when you see something that inspires you. Trust it and follow it. That intuition often comes from seeing a need for something in your own life and in the lives of the people around you.  Stay connected and keep your ear to the ground for what that need is.

#4 Self-care:

Putting on events and bringing community together can be an overwhelming and exhausting task. Big events require a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation and planning that can leave organizers feeling drained and under-appreciated. It is crucial to tend to yourself in these moments. Find rituals that you do everyday in order to ground yourself. It is best to be in the practice of letting go, especially of the things that are not serving you.

#5 Nominate those around you:

Find those people who are natural leaders with a passion, who can take on a pillar of your event or cause. Share your vision with your community and entrust people to be leaders in their area of passion. This allows you to spread the work, but more importantly it gets people involved in a deeper way.

#6 Take feedback graciously (and with a grain of salt)

The more at the forefront of the public eye you are, the more people will have a say about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but it doesn’t mean you have to take it on. Take feedback graciously – ask yourself what the important lessons are to be learned – and wish people well on their journey.

#7 Where attention goes, energy flows:

If you want to make something happen – do it now! You breathe more life into the things that you dedicate your energy to: that is the only difference between the people making things happen and the rest of the world. If you love bringing people together and connecting community, then pursue that passion and share it with the people around you.

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