Skip to main content

Late in the summer of 2017, my coaching colleague, John, reached out to me. He said that he and two women from our coach training program were planning a live event in Dallas, Texas and they wondered if I would join the effort. Without hesitation, I jumped aboard. The Intentional Life Lab was launched. 

We rolled up our sleeves and dug into the “live event planning” process. Tracy created the brand and built the website; Peggy found a venue; John created a content calendar for our marketing and promotion; I became known as “IT Nat”, creating the back-end landing page and email systems that would capture registrations, send automated email strings, and generally fixing anything technology-related when it broke.

The date we had planned for our event in November was rapidly approaching. We sold one ticket to my friend Joy. We decided to postpone the event to February, in hopes of reaching people when they were beginning to trail off on their New Year’s Resolutions. Convinced we would pack the house, John and I booked our plane tickets to Dallas in early January.

We sold one more ticket. We made the tough decision to cancel the event.

By all accounts, this process was a failure. We didn’t turn our vision into a reality. We didn’t convince anyone that we were solving a need.

That’s what I thought until the weekend of the event arrived. Because we had already purchased our plane tickets, John and I descended to Tracy’s home in Texas and spent 2.5 days together team coaching, writing down our visions, and crafting plans to make them into reality. You reading this post on Small Town Leadership is one of the outcomes of that weekend. Initially, the 52 Weeks concept was built for another forum, and John and Tracy pushed hard on me, asking me why I wasn’t doing something for myself and attributing it to the brand I had spent so much time building.

Me, John and Tracy – The Intentional Life Lab

Since that weekend, John, Tracy and I have spent a couple of hours together each month via videoconference coaching one another, helping John through the early days of his entrepreneurial venture, cheering Tracy and I on as we stepped into new 9-5 roles at our companies, and more than anything, reminding ourselves that we can find success on the other side of any “failure”.

By all accounts, this is exactly what The Intentional Life Lab was supposed to be. It wasn’t supposed to be a weekend event for a group of self-development seekers. It was for Tracy, John and me to form a connection that has helped each of us grow in unexpected ways.

What does this mean for you? When was a time you showed up to a job you hated, but you met your best friend there? What class did you dread attending in college, but you met your partner in the lecture hall? What team were you on that went 0-10, but your teammates stood by your side as bridesmaids or groomsmen?

If you are bumping up against barriers and feel like giving up, take a step back and take a wider look at the situation. Who is in view that might be put there for a reason?

John, Tracy and I would say that The Intentional Life lab is one of the great successes of the past year. Learn more about their amazing work at and

52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections is offered by Small Town Leadership. If you would like to see how much progress you can make toward making our big world feel like a smaller place, SIGN UP to receive these articles on a weekly basis.

YES – I want to make our big world feel like a smaller place. Deliver the weekly content directly to my inbox!


Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

Leave a Reply