The annual BlogPaws conference is just 8 days away and I leave in less than a week. Seriously, where did 2016 go? I feel like I’m always saying that but time really does seem to fly by the older I get. I remember rushing the time away as a kid and now as an adult all I want to do is cherish every single second. As we close in on the start of the conference, I wanted to talk about something. Some people may wonder why you should attend a conference like BlogPaws. There are many reasons to attend, but most important are the conversations. All it takes is one conversation to start something that could change your lie.
Attending the BlogPaws conference changed my life.
Yea, that may seem dramatic but it’s true.
6 years ago I decided to quit my job. I had been with the company for 7 years. At one point I loved my job there and poured my heart and soul into every thing I did. That’s just in my personality when I love something. I’m loyal to a fault. Until, you give me reason to not be. It’s the Leo in me.
I decided that there was more to life than wasting my days inside of cubicle hell and fighting off migraines from the florescent lights. I was tired of being told what to do and not having my expertise and leadership respected.
I won’t get into details but only you know when enough is enough.
I decided I wanted my life to actually mean something. I didn’t want to just work. I wanted to create something. I wanted to have a purpose and substance behind the thing that we have to spend 1/3 of our day doing.
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” ~Rumi
Also, at the same time I had this little puppy at home. Chuy. You might know him. He wasn’t even a year old yet. I resented every single second that I had to leave him home alone while I went to a place I’d grown to hate. I wanted to spend my time with Chuy. It may sound strange but this tiny little Chihuahua inspired me and gave me purpose. Once I put my mind to something, that’s it. Watch out!
To make a really long story, long I put in my 2 weeks notice. It was the most liberating day of my 29 year old life. I felt like I could do anything now!
I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into my business. I was doing all kinds of work because the bills had to be paid from contracting, consulting, and even making cupcake shaped soap. Yup, I’ll leave that for another day.
I knew what I wanted but building something from nothing takes a lot of time and a lot of failures. And let’s be honest, I’m an adult. I have real life bills that need to paid. That means I didn’t have tons of time to “play around” and figure things out. I was figuring things out while working and trying different ventures.
My point is that things weren’t easy in the beginning. It look a lot of trial and error to figure out what would stick with my new life. I knew I wanted to find a way to blend my passion for blogging with my career choice in instructional design.
I even ended up taking a full-time job (from home!) as an instructional designer with a large Fortune 500 company. I didn’t want to but I was running out of money and needed a steady income. I still had my freedom to work from home. I still got to work on my blogs. And I still got to spend every waking second with my Chuy. I knew that this job was a means to an end. A bridge if you will. It tested me but I remained grateful and kept pushing forward.
In 2013, I attended my first BlogPaws conference. I didn’t know anyone. I came back fired up and inspired to do even more!
I came back to Lake Las Vegas in 2014. As I sat down for lunch one day, the co-founder of BlogPaws, Yvonne DiVita sat down next to me. I couldn’t believe it! I’m a nobody! Why is she sitting next to me?! (Well, fast forward a few years and I can tell you that Yvonne is super approachable and is passionate about getting to know all the members of the community!)
We started talking about the usual. What you do for a living, etc.
I mentioned to her that in addition to running my blog business I work full-time as an instructional designer and I have been since 2003.
I remember her eyes getting big as she mentioned that BlogPaws was trying to build a learning community with e-courses and year round educational opportunities. The exact type of thing that I know how to do! I’ve helped companies purchase Learning Management Systems and I’ve spent a ton of time designing and developing training materials. It’s my career.
We agreed that we should follow up with each other after the conference . . . and we did!
I started working on some e-courses for BlogPaws and got the opportunity to do some other contract work with them as well. I attended last year’s conference as a BlogPaws Ambassador and this year I’m a member of the team and a speaker! One thing led to another and last fall I was hired as the Director of Community Education. I’ve never had a job that I love this much. It’s as if this position was created for me. I pinch myself every single day that I get to wake up and work from my home office with Chuy, doing what I LOVE! I also work with an amazing and supportive team.
Fast forward to the present and here I am doing an interview with Yvonne about my upcoming session, How To Create an Irresistible Brand!
You can call it luck but I call it preparation meeting opportunity. I’m not “lucky.” I’ve worked my ass of to be where I’m at right now and I’m not done! There’s still so much left to accomplish and learn.
The point of this post? It all starts with ONE conversation. That one conversation that I had while attending BlogPaws. I wouldn’t be where I’m at right this second if it wasn’t for that conversation.
One conversation can lead to something amazing. Every relationship is based off initiating that first conversation. In fact, there is no relationship without the conversation. Here’s a quote from one of my favorite business books, Fierce Conversations:
“Remember that what gets talked about and how it gets talked about determines what will happen. Or won’t happen. And that we succeed or fail, gradually then suddenly, one conversation at a time.”
― Susan Scott
If you don’t put yourself out there, things will probably stay the same. Take a chance. Attend a conference like BlogPaws. You never know what kinds of people you’ll encounter Stay curious. Be friendly. Network. Do not underestimate anyone! Oh, and always follow up.
What will your next conversation lead to?
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