It's easy to get into a funk. I work primarily by myself in a creative field. So while I'm constantly searching for inspiration, I don't have many people to bounce ideas off of. That's where Alt Summit comes in. Surrounded by creatives for three days really gave my personal store of inspiration a well needed fill up. I listed to so many incredible speakers and met some equally incredible new friends. I learned a lot from the speakers and my new-found friends were the perfect cheerleaders. You see, I thought up all these great ideas but realized I was a bit too scared to execute them. But you throw in all these amazing ladies I was meeting, and they gave me the courage to go for those new dreams and act on those new ideas. #mindblown
So because I love lists, here are some take aways from Alt Summit.
Align your goals with your core. It's so easy to become overwhelmed. In fact nowadays it seems like I'm always overwhelmed. But in the "Overcome Overwhelm" session with Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society and Whitney English of the Whitney English Blog I learned that you need to strategically pick and choose which projects you work on. When you go about saying yes to everything (like I do a lot), it's easy get bombarded with projects you're not so passionate about. So Whitney suggested identifying your core and choosing projects based on what aligns with your overall goal. And to figure that out you need to identify your values, passions, strengths and purpose. During the conference I became to do some soul searching, checking in with myself and evaluating where my business is going. Hilary and Whitney's session was the perfect way to start off the conference.
Get Creative. I went to a panel about "Growing Your Community", and my takeaway for that session was "get creative". I do need to get creative! Oh, yeah. I forgot! The panel encouraged us to get creative in marketing and reaching out to our audiences. After their talk I was inspired to try new things and experiment and just get out there. When I was writing my thesis in architecture school, my professor assigned us five experiments. It was up to us to create and develop experiments relating to our thesis. For my experiments I created all sorts of interesting projects, and looking back those projects and my final thesis were some of my most creative projects. At the time my professor assigned experiments I had no idea what to do with something so open-ended, but now I see so much value in that assignments. In fact when I experiment with cameras and photography I certainly feel very inspired and creative. (This panel consisted of Jen Hansard of Simple Green Smoothies, Susan petersen of Freshly Picked, Jessie Artigue of Style & Pepper and Salem Stanley of Vacation Races)
You'll never please everyone. Maybe I am but I don't consider myself much of a person to want to please everyone. I probably air more on the inconsiderate side. haha. I went to a roundtable with Jill Nystrul of One Good Thing where we discussed "Creating Compelling Content For Your Blog". I immediately liked Jill. She gave a lot of practical advice. And I appreciated the reminder that I'll never be able to please everyone. It certainly reinforced what I was learning at the conference up to then. I love a good reminder.
Progress not perfection. Ben, oh wise one. Ben Silbermann of Pinterest gave the closing keynote, and it was just so candid and refreshing. I met Ben at the SF Alt Pinterest Party and immediately liked him. He's a very kind, down-to-earth guy, and his closing keynote was very much align with that first impression I had of him. He told us not to let failure hold us down, but to instead focus on what works and build on that. I reminded myself that every bit of progress is good progress. I get so bogged down with wanting to be in control of everything to make things perfect, but progress not perfection is a much more realistic goal.
This is my journey. Oh, it is? I lose sight of this pretty often. I think about what I should be doing and what other people are doing. In the "How To Get the Most Out of the Next 2 Days" session with Sara Urquhart, she emphasized "THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY". I should map out the direction of my own business. I am ultimately the one who lives with the consequences, who does all the dirty work, who makes all the hard decisions, so why not do it my way? I want to figure out the best way for me, and ultimately look back on my failures and successes and know that I remained true to myself.
Lead with passion. I walked into "Emotional Analytics: Well-Branded is the New Well-Rounded" with Erica Domesek of PS I Made This without a clue. In the session description it just sounded great, and honestly the other sessions at that time slot sounded boring. But this accidental session was definitely my favorite. Erica is the exact opposite of me; at first she was hard to swallow, a little too loud and extrovert for my comfort level. Then as I listened she grew on me. Erica is an incredibly passionate and warm woman with a lot of ideas and a whole storehouse of energy. She's amazing and incredibly inspiring. Listening to her you just get the feeling that she sincerely wanted every single in that person to succeed. I loved that about her. It's no wonder that her businesses and blog, PS I Made This, are such successes. She runs her life on passionate, and that alone is admirable. I want to lead with passion and to live without regret.
Go for it. The resounding encouragement of my fellow attendees was "GO FOR IT, MEG!!!" I have to owe much of my positive experience to the seriously amazing ladies I met. They just met me yet they were so confident in my abilities. With their encouragement I've already took a leap with some of my ideas and was surprised they actually worked! I owe it wholly to them because otherwise my fear would have kept me from pursuing my goals. holla.