Pursue your passion and find your people
This weekend I had the pleasure of pow-wowing with a group of amazing individuals at The Blog Connect, a conference for bloggers held in Philadelphia. While it was my first time at the event, it is the event’s third year and, I have to say, I hope there are many, many more!
The theme of the conference was “Find Your Roots” and geared specifically at middle-level bloggers. As anyone who has been paying attention, or who can scroll through my feed will realize, that’s not me — I’m brand new! I nonetheless was able to find myself immersed in a group of like-minded people and came away with some great action points that I’m excited to implement here. (Teaser alert!) I left this day feeling truly inspired by what an individual with passion and drive can accomplish.
Here are a few of my major takeaways (written as I sift through my notes).
1. Be your authentic self.
This was a common theme among the conference speakers, but the masterminds behind Just Bloggers: No Explanation, AK Brown and Diamond Hudson made the point stick for me. This blog, anyone’s blog, is an extension of self. I’ve outlined what I have set out to do, update on a regular basis, attempt to be responsive to what you like and would like to see more of, but, in the end, without my unique perspective, portrayed through my writing style, and my passion driving this work, I wouldn’t be here and none of you would be reading this. (Seems pretty basic when I write it out, but it’s those little driving principles that can get lost through all the noise. Am I right?)
2. Bring everything back to your “Why?”
Antionette Minor, previously known as The Young Professionalist, and members of a panel, which included my yogi friend Jessica Lawlor, at Jessica Lawlor & Co., all discussed circling back to the reason why you created your blog and what you hope to accomplish with each thing you do. As with any major organization, be it a nonprofit attempting to eradicate a disease from the world, or a company, attempting to drive its bottom line, all have a driving “why” behind them. So does this blog! And with anything I choose to share with you all, I should be able to draw a line back to that why.
3. Achieving your dreams means altering your lifestyle.
This seems a bit bold as I’m typing it, but our evening keynote, Tara Gentile at cocommercial.co, was right on the money. If I could achieve my dreams with my lifestyle several months ago, I would have. But the reality is that I did not prioritize my writing and, instead of making changes, I was making excuses. We discussed this here! The great example is that I’d make excuses to stay in bed for a few extra minutes rather than get up and make time for my writing. I’m positive that I will not miss those extra hours of sleep when I’m looking at my book on a bookstore shelf one day.
3. You define your own success.
I probably should have been able to figure it out on my own, but even if I had, I’m sure that Sarah Von Bargen at Yes and Yes would have said it much better than I. As she was discussing how success will look different from person to person — which makes sense, we all have different wants and needs to be fulfilled — I had a highlight reel in my head of all of those little, but really impactful moments in my life where I have felt successful. Turning off the lights in my first apartment after college, looking around at a home that I had entirely made and supported on my own is top of mind at the moment. That was a success.
Today, success for me was chasing my dreams at a conference I never would have thought I belonged at six or even three months ago. It’s counting myself among so many of the creative minds and goal-crushing personalities that I met. I can’t wait to do it again next year!