I make no secret of the fact that I love to learn. Every year I make sure I reserve time to learn something new and develop existing skills. This year one of the most exciting things on my calendar was attending Blogtacular – an annual blogging conference where creative bloggers gather to share, inspire & learn.
So this might seem like the part where all non-bloggers exit, right? WRONG!!
Stop right where you are because today I am here to tell you not about the blogging lessons that I learnt (though they were plentiful) but the life lessons that this fabulously warm and inspiring event awoke in me…
A room full of people you don’t know doesn’t have to be scary
I’ve been in situations where the above statement didn’t quite prove to be true. Where I pushed myself to attend something alone and spent the whole time feeling a little bit out of place, a little bit awkward and a little anxious.
It is events like Blogtacular that make me continue to push. In a room full of over 300 people, I knew that there would only be one familiar face (not including those I recognized from the internet, obvs). That is a pretty scary prospect. But Blogtacular welcomes everyone with open arms; everyone was smiley, friendly and like-minded.
This isn’t an isolated incident though – the Makelight Community makes me feel exactly the same (and ironically I discovered many of the Blogtacular faces were Makelighters too – so maybe that is telling me something about where I fit in).
You just have to keep pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone until you find your tribe. It’s cheesy, but it’s true. Yours might not be the blogging community (though if you are a blogger I cannot recommend attending Blogtacular enough, I know I will be back next year) but look for places that do catch your vibe. It might be joining a club (oh hey book club, one of my favourite ever yes activities) or taking a class. You will not regret the failed attempts when you are high on the buzz of feeling part of a fantabulously fantastic group!
Connection is the core of happiness
This little gem was part of Lisa Congdon’s opening address. In fact you will notice that I derived a lot of wisdom from her talk. I am a newly discovered fan girl of this fabulously talented artist and creative being.
Connection is the core of happiness. It seems so simple, but we often forget it. Everything that I hold dear is the connections, or relationships that I have. My friends, my family, my colleagues, my blog readers (if anyone is out there, hello * waves *).
I needed a reminder that I should make more time for them. But not just time, actually quality time. I’m bumping it to the top of my to do list…
If the answer isn’t hell yes, say no
It might seem a bit strange for someone so focused on saying yes to mention the ‘n’ word. But when Lisa Congdon stood on stage and reminded us about the importance of looking after ourselves – it came with a stark reminder that sometimes that means saying no.
We are no strangers to that in team Year of the Yes – frequently preaching that you need to say no to some things in order to say yes to the things you really, really want to do. But it is easy to get caught up on the Yes train and a gentle reminder that you can’t do everything is always welcome.
Take the time to listen to other people’s stories
Kate O’Sullivan reminded us of this in the context of a discussion about community. It isn’t just a lesson that is exclusive to bloggers though.
Social media is meant to be about conversation and interaction. But I think there is actually a danger of them all becoming megaphone platforms where you just talk about yourself and forget to listen to other people.
Stories and storytelling is part of our essence and listening to other people is just as important as having your say. It’s a good reminder for life as well as our online presence.
You Don’t have to chase everything you see others doing
Pinterest is a case in point that success isn’t necessarily about following the crowd. And Enid Hwang illustrated it beautifully.
It can be really tempting to keep one eye on what you are doing and one eye on what everyone else is doing. But then you get distracted and can end up veering in directions that aren’t right for you.
Stay focused on what you want to achieve and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing…the more focused you are on your own path the quicker you are likely to get there.
Your time and energy are your most precious resources
A fabulous nugget of advice from Enid that needs no further explanation. Time and energy are precious, use yours widely.
So you see, every learning experience – no matter what topic it is on – can help to give you perspective, it can help you to grow, and it can give you some much needed reminders.
Go forth and engage in lots of learning, you lovely lot!