Have you ever walked into a room full of people and realized that you just don’t fit in? Like you felt like you did once upon a time, but you have changed to the point to where you aren’t in the same headspace you once were? You’ve either gotten older or wiser, or maybe you’ve just realized that life is too short to spend it trying to impress anyone.
That was me recently when I went to a blog conference.
Don’t get me wrong, the conference itself was amazing. The organizers did a great job, going above and beyond expectations to create an amazing event. But my heart just wasn’t in it. And I’m sure that was pretty much apparent to anyone I spoke to.
Here’s the thing: I’ve been speaking at conferences all over the country for four years. I LOVE connecting with other people who want to grow their blogs or brands. It’s one of my favorite things about what I do. I love sharing what I’ve learned through all of my successes and failures and try to make sense of all these years of chaos to help other people grow their businesses and succeed. It makes my heart burst with joy when someone tells me how their shop has exploded with sales or how their blog is gaining traffic every day from the things they’ve learned from me.
I also love conferences because it gives me the opportunities to have face time with my sponsors that I typically talk to via email or an occasional phone call. I’ve been blessed to create partnerships with brands who believe in me just as much as I believe in them – and I am always grateful for that interaction.
But then there are the others who sometimes leave me feeling a little weird. I almost said outcast – but I truly am comfortable in my own skin. I am the girl rocking blue hair and flip flops in a sea of stilettos. I am who I am – no matter who is around me. I act no different if I am by myself, with my husband or even rubbing elbows with a true celebrity (not the blog kind). Forty years on this earth has taught me that life is too short to worry about how someone else perceives me. As long as I can be proud of who I am in front of my God, then I’m cool. My heart, my laugh and my hair are all incredibly big.
So as I’m wandering around in a sea of folks who are so very different from who I am, I realized that I was in the wrong place. Once again, it’s me – not them. I made the choice to try and fit myself into that world, which honestly I’m just not a good fit for. (See, one of those failures.)
I left that conference and then went the very next night to see my favorite band (Fall Out Boy) in concert. After 20 years of playing music together, those four guys were still having a blast on stage. They laughed and danced and had as much fun as the crowd did. It kind of left me wondering why I kept doing conferences if they didn’t make me happy anymore.
My point isn’t about how I feel bad for myself, it’s more about how you – no matter what situation you’re in – can look around and say “This doesn’t work.” That could be a room that’s driving you nuts, a church you don’t feel like you fit in any more, or even a friendship that requires more energy for worry than for fun. It’s ok to walk away. It’s ok to take a long, hard look around you and say you need to step back or change direction.
None of this has to do with my blog – it’s all about the conference circuit and how I want to change my own direction. Ok, I guess it has a little to do with the blog, because honestly instead of traveling all over this beautiful country, I just want to stay still for a while and work. I’m ready to throw myself into one of the biggest projects I’ve ever taken on and enjoy every last second of it. I want to do my own thing, dance to my own beat, and sink my teeth into creating things that I’m smitten with. Because that’s the part that I truly enjoy.
Yesterday I started working on the house of one of my best friends. We’ve been friends for 25 years and she has given me the honor of literally letting me have free reign to decorate her entire house. She and her husband have spent the last two years doing all of the major repair work to the house, but haven’t decorated it at all (because they have no idea on how to even start) – so I’m going to jump in with both feet and start turning her entire four level home into something that reflects them and create spaces that will welcome their friends and family to enjoy.
It’s going to be a long process, but I’ll also get to do things that I’ve never had the chance to do before and even have a little fun to go along with her bold personality. I can’t wait to share all of the awesomeness that’s headed your way. I’m thinking epic proportions.
Saying no to traveling lets me say yes to spending time with my family, my friends, and even my work. All of which I love. And that’s better than a swag bag any day of the week.