How the Illume Retreat Helped Me Overcome Imposter Syndrome

March 22, 2019

The Illume Retreat has always been such a huge part of my heart and every year it feels even more exciting and humbling to share it with you in this way. Illume is a three-day, all-inclusive retreat experience designed to help you dig deep into what it means to build an authentic business that is filled with purpose.

In 2017, Illume became even more special to me because it was the first year I brought this intimately restful retreat to my hometown of Waco and to the b is for bonnie studio.

I don’t have the words to describe how exhilarating and special it is to open up your home to talented and tenacious creatives from all over the country as we gathered together to dive into the vulnerable, powerful experience that is Illume.

The time spent together is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. By the last day, it seems we’ve become long lost friends, laughing, chatting about what’s next as we gather around the table, and soaking up such a sweet time of community together. There are times we laugh so hard we cry and other times we tear up from such honest conversations.

Every single attendee has such a special place in my heart.

I could go on and on about how much Illume impacts my business and life, but one of our 2017 attendees, Dannie Lynn Fountain, said it so beautifully.

How did you feel about your life (or business!) before coming to Illume?

I was in a place of transition and I was lacking clarity on what my next steps/moves should be. I was unsure about some of the strategic choices I was making in terms of positioning and tone of voice. (I also felt like my own personal work-life balance was lacking.)

How did you feel after the Illume Retreat ended?

I had a lot of clarity on my next steps – I had been interviewing for an awesome full-time job, but gained perspective at Illume that highlighted why it wouldn’t be a great fit. I also felt more equipped to go through the same thought process on my own in the future.

My voice was much more clear and I had a better understanding of how I wanted to position myself in the market. I also got some much-needed clarity on work-life balance.

As you’ve made progress over the past few months or years, how would you say what you learned at the Illume Retreat has encouraged you, equipped you, or supported you?

Just a couple months after Illume, a ‘wild and crazy’ opportunity presented itself to me. I was offered the opportunity to interview for a full-time role at Google. Because of the work we did at Illume, I was able to better evaluate the experience and whether it was a fit for me. I did end up interviewing for the job and I’ve been working at Google just shy of two years now.

I wouldn’t have been able to go through that process without Illume. I was feeling a lot of imposter syndrome around whether or not I was ‘hireable’ after having been a full time entrepreneur. I also was underselling my talents and gifts. Illume helped provide perspective and the tools to change these things.

If you could speak encouragement to someone on the fence about joining the Illume Retreat community in 2019, what would you share?

I tell nearly everyone that I speak to that in the past 3 years (2016-2019), Illume is the only conference I have paid to attend. In that same time, I’ve attended more than 100 conferences as a speaker, presenter, etc.

Illume was specifically the event I sought out for my own personal growth and that investment has paid dividends.

Outside of that, Illume is also a very special place. The intimate group size, the way that you’re all housed together in one location, the space that Bonnie holds for you to go deep and be vulnerable – it all works together to create an event that’s hard to replicate and deeply spurs your personal growth. At the end of Illume, we do hotseats – I listen to the recording of my hotseat nearly every day as a reminder of the things I am focusing on.

Catch our Illume Retreat Recaps Here!


Oh my heart. I am so honored and humbled by the women who join me around the table at Illume. These women inspire me, encourage me, and challenge me to dream big for not only my business, but also my life.

Will you be one of the few to join us here in Waco in 2019?

REGISTRATION IS OFFICIALLY OPEN FOR OUR OCTOBER 14-17, 2019 ALL-INCLUSIVE RETREAT EXPERIENCE HERE IN WACO. RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY!

How the Illume Retreat Helped Me Overcome Imposter Syndrome | b is for bonnie design #illumeretreat #impostersyndrome

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I'm Bonnie -- a designer, brand designer + strategist, writer, wife, and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon! I'm passionate about building authentic brands, encouraging small business owners to chase their dreams, and spreading joy through design. It's a delight to have you here, lovely! Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, won't you?

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