In the two years I’ve been blogging, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few different conferences. I love going to conferences! The more I attend, the more I want to seek out to attend! I take away something new and valuable from each conference and always leave feeling recharged and newly inspired. I’ve also experienced what I like to call “conference regrets“. If you’re not sure what those are, they are the things you wish you’d done at a conference, but either forgot or were too intimidated to do, for whatever reason. I feel like I get brave after the conference is over, except then it’s too late to go back. I’m almost sure that every blogger has experienced “conference regrets” at least once in their career. What I’ve found to be most effective for tackling this problem is to take some time, prior to attending a conference, to set some small personal conference goals for myself.
I was recently invited to attend The 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort. I can still remember how magical it was when I opened that email containing such a special invitation! I think I let out a squeal that was probably heard around the world! It was such an honor to be invited and I really couldn’t believe it had happened for me. I KNEW I had to make every moment of what would be a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” count! So, in the weeks leading up to the conference, I proceeded to jot down notes on post-its until I’d put together a list of my personal goals for this conference.
At first I felt a bit overwhelmed by this goal-setting because I didn’t know what to expect from the conference itself. I’d heard so many stories and read several posts from others who had attended in the past, but I really wanted to focus on what was most important for me to take away from the experience. Finally, I compiled a list of 4 intangible things I’d be bringing with me to The 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, so let me share these things with you!
The first thing I brought to the conference was my love for Disney. I believe each and every one of the invited attendees has a love for Disney that’s unique and special. My own love for Disney stems from my childhood. I grew up in Southern California and our family was fortunate enough to live very close to Disneyland. (It was just Disneyland back then, not Disneyland Resort) As a child, I got to visit the park about once a year, usually during summertime. Visiting Disneyland with my family, as a little girl, is one of those childhood memories I can still actually recall vividly.
My love for Disney has grown by leaps and bounds as I’ve grown up. (Confession: I’ve actually never grown up though) I’m a proud Disneyland Resort Annual Passholder and visit the parks as frequently as I can. As a mom, I’ve had the opportunity to create special Disney memories with my own daughter. My love for Disney also carries over into many other aspects of my life too. I try to live life in “a Disney way”, which is something other lovers of Disney can fully understand. To be in an entire ballroom filled with other Disney-loving moms (and a dad) was an amazing experience.
Optimism was a very important thing to bring with me as well! It’s beyond important to come to a conference with an optimistic attitude. I consider myself a “Glass Half-Full Kind of Girl” and always try my best to see a positive side in every situation. Each conference is an new opportunity to connect with other influencers and often times, brands. If you walk in with a positive attitude and are full of optimism, it’ll draw people towards you and they’ll to want to get to know you. It’s also something that will make brands want to work with you. I’m always optimistic that something good is going to happen. Remember, “If you can dream it, you can do it!” Stay optimistic!
I’ve saved the best for last. I think courage and confidence are the most vital things you can bring to a conference! I am speaking from experience and as someone who has had “conference regrets” in the past for not bringing these with me! As I entered the convention center at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and started to walk down the long hallway, it felt as if my breath had literally been stolen away. (in a good way) Hanging from the boughs were these amazing and enormous banners! It was surreal. I had mixed emotions at the moment before I entered the room for registration. On one hand I felt like royalty, on the other hand, doubt started to set in and I began to second guess myself. You can’t do that! You CAN’T doubt yourself! This is where courage comes into play!
If this starts to happen to you, just do what I did….I gave myself a pep talk (inside of my head of course). I told myself that I needed to remember my courage! I needed to have courage and confidence because I was there for a reason! I needed to have courage to approach people and make those connections that I’d come all this way to make. I needed to have courage and confidence in myself when others would ask me about what it is that drives the passion behind my own blogging. It’s important to remember that you are worth something! You are just as good as anyone else at the conference! If you think for one moment that you aren’t as good as some of the “bigger bloggers” who may also be at the same conference as you, just remember, they were once just like you! Honestly, if you approach most of those women, you’ll find that they aren’t as intimidating as you envision. I’ve become friends with many of the “bigger bloggers” and I can say they are some of the kindest, most uplifiting women in social media and, often times, will even help you out.
I packed all 4 of these intangible things into my suitcase and took them with me to The 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I walked into that conference with all that I needed and I did my best! What’s most important to remember is why you came and what you hope to achieve. As you can see, I took a leap of faith (or should I say a jump of faith). Believe in yourself and don’t ever lose your courage or confidence!