Wow. Am I seriously just now writing this blog post? I attended Creative at Heart Round 1 (back in January), and on Tuesday, it sold out for their upcoming Round 3 in Charleston in under 3 HOURS. Ahhh – can I tell you just how excited and honored I am to say that I have been a part of such a movement as this?
Back in October of last year when I first heard about Creative at Heart, I remember hearing the words “community”. It was a word I would hear more and more frequently in the coming months – starting with my attendance to the Making Things Happen Conference, followed by the Creative at Heart conference – and ultimately resulting in my entire 2015 ‘word of the year’ – “Invest”. This word “community” has completely rocked my world this year, and it’s so crazy because the first time it really STUCK to me is when I heard it being used as one of the describing words for this conference.
In the past 3 years of running this business – I’ve learned a LOT. Both about myself and who I am as a business-woman. When I first started my business, I was superwoman. I fully intended to do it all and succeed at it all. While I did do pretty well in my business in that first year – I totally burnt myself to a crisp while doing so. Here I am – a wife and a mother and a full-time corporate employee, coming right off of an 8-hour shift and diving straight into cooking dinner (or not on most days), holding Skype sessions with clients, attending networking socials, building ‘connections’ (notice I said ‘connections’ and not ‘community’). I did it all. I did everything I possibly could to make myself feel like I was succeeding.
But something was still missing – I needed something else, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Well, the truth of the matter is – I needed a couple of things. One was BALANCE – but that was extensively covered by my experience described in this post (Oh, how I love you Lara, Gina, Rhi, Amber, Nancy & Will, Karen, Casey, Carrie and all of the MTH crew!). The other one I desperately needed, as well, was COMMUNITY. My husband was pretty supportive – along with the rest of my family and friends, but they had no idea about the wedding industry, planning, being a creative business owner, etc. They could support, but only inasmuch as a person does pushing a child to reach for the stars. They provided me with ‘general’ support – which, totally don’t get me wrong, was SO helpful and I am so grateful for it – but I needed/wanted more, friends!!! I wanted friends who were just as excited about brides, weddings, styled shoots, gorgeous churches, beautiful calligraphy, fluffy flowers, and Kate Spade bags as I was! Who absolutely despised tax season, and receipts, and spreadsheets, and financial planning as much as I do!! And on January 4 – the day that I stepped into a room full of 60+ creative business women – I found it! It was like I had found a room of sisters that I had always had, but we had just been separated at birth! Hahaha.
I totally learned SO much applicable knowledge from this conference (still working hard to blog consistently, Katelyn! And to use the right terms to boost my SEO on my blog and social media, Krista!) – honestly, I’m still working on implementing some of the information, even know (and will be for a long time!). But friends – the real piece of this conference that really pierced my heart and left a mark was the #communityovercompetition. I felt like I was in competition with no one. I honestly felt like I was in a big class with a LOT of my friends and we were all there learning TOGETHER (in a pretty kick-butt, oh-so pretty and inspiring environment!)
Even once the speakers completed their own teachings, it was like they immediately sat down and converted into students – just like the rest of us! They learned just as much as US from the other sessions! They showed us that they were real people, just like the rest of us – needing community, wanting to be real friends. They shared their business models, different tools that have helped them, shared what some in the industry would never share, with the tone of ‘they’re not stealing my secrets! If they want the information, they can work for it just like we did!”. Ugh – so discouraging! And ultimately, so lonely.
Above and beyond all of that, this conference ignited something within me that I never saw coming, friends. Something was laid on my heart during this conference and since then, I haven’t been able to lay it down. This conference gave me the passion (and community base) to chase a dream that I never even thought I had! And SO many of the friends and community that I was able to build during this conference are becoming such a support system for me while I chase this crazy dream of mine. I am so grateful for you all – my community. My friends. And I am so grateful to this conference for lighting my heart on first to not only chase the passions that I have in my heart, but to grab a friend or two to take along with me for the ride. Community is essential, friends. If you don’t have one – you need to get one. Quickly.
It’s not hard. It just takes one person to say yes to your invitation to lunch. One person to say yes to a Skype date – or coffee! Even one person to respond to an email! Carrie Grace said it best – “Consider the person next to you. What if they are only 2% more lonelier than you? Don’t be afraid to be the FIRST to reach out.”. Ah! I’m building mine – and it is a BEAUTIFUL thing.
We are better together than we ever are apart, friends! Go build yourself some community! XOXO