I just got back from an amazing writer’s conference last weekend, called the Tribe Conference. Ever since then, I’ve been awash with new ideas, new contacts, new opportunities.
I’m writing a quick blog post about it, partly because I really want to, and partly because Jeff Goins asked me to and I’m totally fan-girling right now.
Here are 3 things I learned from Tribe Conference 2017:
You have to put yourself out there if you want to be noticed.
When I arrived at the conference, I was introverting so badly. I truly wanted nothing more than to listen to the sessions and then hide in the bathroom during the breaks so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. Maybe even hide in the bathroom during some of the sessions, too. But I knew that it was important to put myself out there, so I forced myself to talk to people during every single break.
By the time I left on Sunday evening, I had a stack of business cards, loads of connections, and lots of opportunities. I had people asking me to be on their podcast or come speak at their event. I had gotten lots of amazing feedback about my new book, The World In Your Living Room.
Perhaps most importantly, I had had fun. There’s no doubt that I was exhausted, but it was a good exhaustion, like how you feel after a long day of manual labor.
If I hadn’t been willing to put myself out there, I never would have had any of those experiences or opportunities.
Networking is so important…but not what you think it is.
I have always hated the idea of networking. Walking up to people you don’t know, telling them how awesome you are, trying to engage in meaningless conversation until you’re sufficiently “connected”…everything about networking gave me the heebie-jeebies. It made me want to run away and hide in a bathroom again (you see a theme here, don’t you?).
I realized last weekend that I’ve been looking at networking all wrong.
At the beginning of the weekend, one of the speakers, Marsha Shandur, said something that totally set me free. “Networking,” she said, “is simply you talking to people that you like about things that you are both interested in.”
Well goodness. I can do that. You can do that. Anyone can do that. It’s not only easy, it’s actually fun!
Inspiration comes from breaking out of your routine
Don’t get me wrong, there is enormous value in having a regular time to write or do other creative work. But inspiration rarely comes from what you already know and expect.
I’ve been brimming with ideas and excitement this weekend because I got out of my comfort zone and talked to people with different perspectives from my own. They asked good questions, gave good insight into and suggestions for the projects I’ve been undertaking. They made me think in a way I never would have on my own.
That is the power of breaking out of your comfort zone, out of what’s familiar to you.