I am barely 24 hours post Type-A Conference and here I am bursting at the seams to share what I learned.
I attended only a few sessions because I got a little overwhelmed over things that seem way more insignificant today than they did three days ago but what I did hear, see and learn. These are lessons to last a lifetime. Things that you can take home and tell your children because they are universal truths.
However, and this is key – most of the things that I learned, I already knew and not in the build-a-better-business way. The things I learned were come to Oz moments for me and the only way I can think to recap Type-A Conference is to dump it all out here.
First let’s tell the easy lessons:
Never write for free! Denene Milner got all up in my head with this during the Freelance Writing for Profit session. My writer friends will understand. My non writing friends will understand never work, labor, process or commute for free. Enough said. I had epiphanies in the Freelance Writing for Profit session that made me re-think how I’d been doing things. And all I can say now is, “BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA” in my best evil laugh. Now excuse me while I go send a break up email to a new client who borders on that working for free thing.
(side note: I’m all happy to do a favor, a one-off for friends or family because they’ve likely saved my ass or loaned me money when I needed it so don’t think I’m all “I refuse to write anything without pay” because sometimes a friend or family needs awesome writing and they of course know who to call.)
Stop being Paralyzed – This comes from Katherine Stone in the Writing, Yes it still Matters session. Truth? I wasn’t going to attend this session. My plan had been to be in the Facebook session but I was assigned volunteer duty for the writing track and here we are.
Being paralyzed means to stop comparing and worrying so much about what other people are doing. We may not be telling our stories out of fear that someone can tell them better. (yeah. Hanging my head in shame on that one. I became so paralyzed that I closed down The Guilty Parent and came back to this blog because I felt like I was in constant comparison mode and I wanted people to forget that I was The Guilty Parent so I could be me again).
I learned so much in the Hands on LinkedIn session that I’m crazy excited to put these tips to use. I was fairly comfortable with LinkedIn prior to this session so I KNOW what I learned is just going to make things that much better. David equated setting up your LinkedIn profile to telling a story – what story you want to tell people is important. One thing for sure, I’m definitely going to take David Binkowski up on his offer to those in the session to seek him out and just ask for help if we need it. The man is a genius.
Now for the hard hitting, oh-god-someone-is-going-to-make-me-cry truths -
First up comes from Disney. Gary Buchanan, from Disney Parks leads the Innovation and Innovention keynote. He’s speaking truths that go beyond Disney parks but are all founded on what Walt Disney (whom I have NOTHING against, I promise) firmly believed when he began the magic and wonder that is Disney. (To those of you who know what I think of Disney, bear with me here.)
Beware of the idea killers – People will try to break you down and hurt your ideas. Don’t let them. You don’t have to marry an idea but do date it. You never know where it will take you.
Play – Turn those Ha Ha moments into A-Ha moments. I cried here. Dammit.
The difference between a laser and a little light bulb that blinks is IMAGINATION. I cried here too. Dammit. Dammit.
There were a lot of slides featuring Toy Story. I wanted to go home and watch it on the couch with the kids IMMEDIATELY. It’s the one Disney movie I can watch 10 thousand times over mostly because I believed that my toys came alive after I went to sleep. Imagination.
Next up is the closing keynote by Erica Napoletano, she runs Red Head Writing. She gives awesome talks. She swears like a sailor, has almost as many tattoos as I do freckles, and says Fuck a lot. I subscribed to her blog YEARS AGO simply because.
Tell the uncomfortable stories – Even if someone hates what you have to say because it’s uncomfortable, you got a reaction and that’s part of the goal; to make your audience feel something.
Unpopular is okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. I was unpopular in high school (shocking right?) and it inhibited so much of what I thought, felt, did or didn’t do. I am good with being unpopular now. I’ve made piece with my 15 year old unpopularness and told her to shut the fuck up because I like unpopular now. It’s hard and it hurts but it has taught me (and so many others) how to roll and do things on ourown.
Actually, I learned a lot from Erika. Like, don’t spend your life living someone else’s “shoulds”. But this one… this one is the best:
”I will never turn down my ambition because someone is uncomfortable with the volume.”
Oh dear Lord how many times in my life should I have heard that. Erika referenced the people in your life who tell you to “dial it back”. These are the people who in some way are either uncomfortable with YOU or want you to change in some way. Ironically, I’ve heard it more since I started blogging than any other time in my life. I’ve sat with those people at conferences. I’ve admired them up close and from afar and I’ve worked closely with them. They’ve told me that I’m too loud, that I swear too much or that I can be a little rude.
And I’m done dialing it back.
I won’t stop the sailor language because it makes people uncomfortable. I won’t be quiet when I’m told that I’m too loud. And if I’m rude in your eyes.. then you probably don’t need or want to be my friend because I’m just going to be one of those people you don’t look forward to spending time with. If you want to be my friend, stop asking me to dial it back. I’ve never asked a friend to dial it back.
Erika captivated me. I participated in a strange game of “finish this story” with nine other bloggers. We each had a piece of a story that we wanted to tell. Mine was ”You may not always like what I have to say, but I will always be there for you.”
I couldn’t even tweet while Erika spoke. I just sat there nodding my head like a bobble head doll on speed and fighting the urge to rush the stage and kiss her.
Sometimes the Right Words are not the Best Words. Think politically correctness here. We often sensor ourselves or choose words less offensive because we think them to be right. Which is fine. Except it’s not. Start choosing the Best Words and forget about what the Right Words are (reason #5487 why I don’t blog so much any more. Too much focus on what’s right instead of what’s best.)
Go ahead and lose your shit. I discovered there are even guidelines for losing your shit. I lose my shit often. I know who to call when that happens. (I love you Mardi) and I always come out the other side of losing my shit better because – There is Value in Losing Your Shit.
I think Erika should be a motivational speaker. I now completely understand that I truly AM fine.
Throughout the talks, sessions, and even our town hall meeting, there was a clear message that stood out: Tell your story and just be true to who you are.
In short, I walked away from an amazing weekend knowing these things:
- Honor my truths.
- Take risks.
- Be who I am.
- Let fear lead and then do it anyway.
- Create my own plan.
- Twitter misses us.
And this last one comes from Journey and Glee of course:
Don’t Stop Believing (in yourself)
If you sense that I’m starting to stray from my truths and my story, please, promptly kick me in the ass and tell me to lose my shit.
What did you take away from Type-A Conference?