My Review of Rise Conference in Dallas With Rachel Hollis

July 24, 2019

Rise Conference in Dallas

Before I dive in deep with my review of Rise Conference in Dallas, let me first just say this: I didn’t take my big camera, these are all simply iPhone photos and videos and I lived in the moment as much as I possibly could. The fact the Curtis Cullwell Center in Garland has pretty terrible cell reception and wifi just further propelled me into living in the moment and not worrying about anything else except what was going on in front of me and all around me, too.

Review of Rise Conference in Dallas



Let me also say, this blog will be long and filled with snippets of what I gleaned from Rise Conference, but my blog will likely not do my experience justice. There’s nothing I could write that would fully envelope the experience, simply because you’re reading this, most likely on your phone, and not in a huge room filled with 7800 women that are screaming, dancing, praising and having their dreams lit on fire.

Straight up, as Trent Shelton would say.

I’m also going to share some quotes that hit me deep in the feels through the weekend, so you can keep and share them, too!

You ready?

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I am Enough #RiseXDallas[/ezcol_1third_end]




My Review of Rise Conference

Day 2: Own Your Past

Okay, so yes – I’m starting on Day 2 because I didn’t go to Day 1. Day 1 was the Health and Wellness Day, and honestly – I’m a little disappointed in myself for not adding that to my ticket. Perhaps it’ll be something that Rachel Hollis will automatically just include in the cost of the Rise Conference (even if that means making the cost of the tickets more), because after showing up on Day 2, I realized I had truly missed an opportunity and an experience. Especially since working on my health has become such a vital part of my self love overhaul this year.

Rise Conference at the Curtis Culwell Center

So Day 2 is all about owning your past. This means – embracing the journey that got to you to where you are today. We had a couple amazing speeches from Rachel herself, but we also got to hear from Jen Hatmaker and Trent Shelton.

Jen Hatmaker

First up after Rachel’s opening speech was Jen Hatmaker and let me tell you, I don’t know how in the world I spent the last several years of my life without knowing who she is because she is AMAZING. I’ve heard her name here and there, or maybe seen a random quote from her (like “if it’s not a hell yeah then it’s a hell no”) but I honestly hadn’t ever bothered to look her up on social or check out her books.

[ezcol_1third]Jen Hatmaker speaking at Rise Conference[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]She got the crowd fired up about sisterhood and backing each other, in the spirit of community over competition (Rising Tide Society friends are entirely familiar with this concept already, though!). But more than that, that we can all grow when we support each other. She told this story about a friend of hers who landed a big book deal, something that took Jen several years and several tries, and her friend got it the first time, right out the gate. And instead of being happy for her friend, she wallowed in self pity before she realized basically she was being a complete asshole, wishing her friend had had to struggle a bit more to get the success she had.


She realized she needed to turn the concept around and did a complete 180. She began to celebrate her friends success, even those who might be deemed by others has competition. She reiterated that it’s more important to have each others’ backs and protect each other, and to take turns being in the middle being protected.


Then they put up this huge photo on the big screen about these elephants.

female elephants protecting each other

original photo by David Yarrow Photography

The story behind this photo is that this is a herd of female elephants; clearly there are older ones, bigger ones, and little ones. What you can’t see is that in the center of the herd, a mother elephant is in labor with a baby and she is being fiercely protected by her tribe. And once the baby is brought forth into this world, all the female elephants that were once standing guard began to trumpet and celebrate the mother’s accomplishment and welcome the new little one into the herd.

Isn’t that photo amazing and the story behind it utterly powerful?

elephant speech at rise conference

I think out of everything that happened at Rise, this moment was on the most planned inspirational moments of the entire event.

Stand Up For Your Sister


Now, I didn’t take any video of this but if you saw the Made For More documentary, you know what this is all about. We each filled out a sheet, with various questions on it and the instructions were to check off everything you had experienced – everything from losing a child and being a victim of rape, to suffering from depression, anxiety or having had thoughts of suicide. It went super DEEP, y’all.

Then we folded up our papers, and handed them off over and over again until yours was lost in the crowd and you had someone else’s.

And then as Rachel and Beans called out each thing, you stood up for your sister if that box was checked off.

CHILLS. I must have said “oh, my God” after every single question as I watched hundreds, if not thousands of woman, admit – sometimes for the first time, that they were victims of abuse, that they had dealt with trauma, that they had dealt with loss.

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stand up for your sister at RIse


There was never ONE time that no one stood up. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the convention center, even Rachel was getting choked up on stage. Every single woman walked into that convention thinking she was alone in her story, only to realize how very much not alone she truly was, myself included.

Trent Shelton

Now, let me just say that Trent Shelton was someone I’d never heard of, at all. I might of seen him somewhere on Rachel or Dave’s social media feeds but he had never stood out to me before I saw him speak live, just like Jen. Trent’s keynote speech was a continuation of the theme of the day – which is to adapt and overcome the past in order to propel yourself into the future.

I took three pages of notes just on what Trent had to say. He talked about ways to build emotional resilience, he talked about turning pain into power, ways to make a growth environment, how to find your purpose and four things to quit.

Trent also touched bases on the four things that we all need to quit, and they are:

  1. Quit trying to please everybody.
  2. Just be real – quit trying to be perfect because your transparency will lead to your transformation.
  3. Quit trying to control the things you can’t control.
  4. Quit measuring your life and appreciate it.

And here’s a snippet of Trent’s speech, a little bit long but MAN-OH-MAN – right in the friggin’ feels.

“It’s not gonna break you – it’s just gonna test you,” was about the moment I started to cry (again). YES, Trent, YES.

Owning Your Past

[ezcol_1third] 5 To Thrive by Rachel Hollis [/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]

At the end of the day, Rachel jumped back on stage to dive a bit deeper into the idea of owning your past. She does this by having us acknowledge our fear, listing out our insecurities we have in pursuing our goals. Next, she describes how to overcome that fear by recognizing what makes that insecurity untrue, and by creating a self-assurance statement.

For example (and this was taken right out of the Rise Workbook!):

Insecurity: I’m not smart enough to grow my business.

Past Experience that makes the Insecurity untrue: I learned how to start my company by going to conferences and reading books.

Self-Assurance Statement: I have always figured it out and know I can learn whatever I need.

We spent a solid hour talking about how to stop living in fear of failure, which hit home for me. Big time. When Rachel said, “Even Rachel Hollis didn’t start off as Rachel Hollis,” it made me laugh because I’ll be damned if THAT’s not true!


Day 3: Own Your Future

If I thought Day 2 was going to be hard and introspective, it didn’t hold a candle to Day 3 for me. Day 3 was all about owning the future, and quite honestly – it was scary. Sitting there in this huge auditorium, filled with women from all walks of life, varying levels of success, different dreams and goals and I was like this little blip on the radar. Who the heck am I to be in a room filled with all these dreamers?

Oh, that’s right – I’m a badass. I’m worthy of my dreams. I’m worthy of my goals. You thought I forgot already!? Psssh, nope!

Dave Hollis

[ezcol_1half]So the one and only Dave Hollis, Rachel’s husband and best friend, kicked off Day 3 with a powerful keynote speech to talk about getting comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable.

Dave spoke powerfully about the fact that we, not just as women or entrepreneurs but as human beings need to be muc more intentional with our lives, and make deliberate decisions. Decisions about what? Who we spend our time with, the food we put in our bodies and everything we do because as he said, “the kids are watching.”

The biggest point he made was that we need to basically get out of our own way and choose how our experiences are going to be; are these things going to be central experiences or circumstantial?[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]

Dave Hollis at Rise Conference Dallas



[ezcol_1third]You Belong Here[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]

How She Built This

One of my favorite parts of Day 3 was the roundtable discussion, featuring 3 amazing women in business: Charis Jones, the creative badass behind Sassy Jones; Joy Cho, the incredible designer behind Oh Joy (and she’s partnered up as a brand for Target, what the what!?); and Jamie Kern Lima, a former news anchor turned makeup superstar that just sold her company, It Cosmetics, to L’Oreal for $1.2 Billion.

Yep, BILLION. Bil-li-on.

These women sat and talked about how they built their respective empires – what lead to them leaving their prior careers, what they overcame to get to where they are and they spoke honestly about sacrifices, parenting and motherhood.

It was inspiring!


How She Built This at Rise Conference Dallas

The Grand Finale

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Rise Conference without a GRAND FINALE!! For some dumb reason, I recorded this vertically … so, sorry about that. I was too busy loving every minute to care!

My Biggest Take-Aways (and a few things I didn’t like)

I went to this conference alone. Initially, I was supposed to take this trip and make it into a girl’s weekend with my friend Sarah, but due to some unforeseen and devastating circumstances, Sarah couldn’t go and I decided what the hell, I’m still going to go.

And I’m truly, truly glad I went. Going to conferences like this are absolutely something I totally recommend doing for anyone who wants to grow as a person!

I got to have my heart heal a bit and I got that excited flame of possibility lit bigger than it’s every been before.

I realized some bigger dreams of mine, some I didn’t realize were hiding right beneath the surface – like, writing a book. I’ve always thought, maybe I will? Maybe I should? And when I got to the airport, I bought a legal pad and just started writing and the words just flew out of my pen onto the paper.

I did get to meet some incredible women – including Becky and Marie, who I carpooled with every day to and from. They were staying at my hotel, and we made fast friends.

Since the conference, I’ve been inundated with friend requests and I have been put in touch with some incredible women.

BUT … all the ups didn’t come with a few downs.

For one, and this was the biggest issue – there were simply so many women there and the fact I came alone – I hardly saw the same woman twice the entire two days I was there. In a crowd filled with nearly 8000 women, I felt pretty alone. As someone who struggles with anxiety, the crowd was a lot to handle – even for someone as extroverted as me. I spent my lunchtimes alone in my car, sitting in silence – because it was just a lot of overload. Overload on feelings, on introspection, even just the sound of cheering and clapping and singing and dancing.

I even told the Hollis Company in the post-conference survey that I would have gladly paid 2-3 times the money for less people to be there. The crowds made it difficult to take pictures with the adorable photo-op setups they had, and made it even more difficult to purchase merchandise. I ended up waiting in line for over an hour just to get a coffee mug; I mean, it was a cute mug but that wait was insane.

And just being bratty here … but, the DJ’s constant bullhorn was a bit obnoxious. Great DJ but the bullhorn every 5 seconds made me feel like I was at a sporting event rather than a woman’s conference, haha. About halfway through the first day I gave up trying to plug my ears every time that darn thing went off!

But if those are really my only real complaints? Psh, yeah. It was an amazing once in a lifetime experience for me and absolutely one I’d recommend to anyone who wants the opportunity to RISE!

In fact, it was such an amazing experience that I couldn’t leave Dallas without putting a permanent reminder to always rise (to meet the sea).

Rise to meet the sea tattoo

A big thanks to Raul with Anomaly Lifestyle Art & Tattoo for staying late to give me some fresh ink!


Free Inspirational Quote Downloads

As you can tell, the Rise Conference in Dallas was one of the most inspiring and life-lighting flame-fanning experiences I’ve had and in my book of notes (legit, 64 pages of notes and guided growth!) there were a rather large handful of quotes that socked me in the face and I couldn’t WAIT to come home and share them.

If you click on whichever one(s) you love, it’ll take you to a second page to download! Feel free to share and use on social media, or with anyone you think needs to hear it!

I hope you enjoyed this review of Rise Conference and I hope that if you decide to go, that you have such an amazing and transformative time as I did!!



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  1. […] I did her 90 day challenges and joined her for lives and all the things. I even went to the Rise Conference in Dallas in July 2019, which was fun in ways but very bad in other ways. I actually wasn’t super […]

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  4. […] are ones I grew up watching. I love the whole concept of saving elephants, too – after the Rise conference over the summer, elephants have become one of my new favorite […]

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I'm Ashley! Family and wedding photographer in Phoenix, but I travel all over the desert southwest to hang out with the most incredible people. I am obsessed with puppies, extra hot coffee, incredible light and firmly believe that love conquers all.

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