After returning home from my fourth Creative at Heart conference, I was thinking back to the very first time I signed up — all the way back in December of 2014 for the initial round (see my previous recaps here and here!!). It’s crazy to see how far this has come since then, travelling all the way from Virginia to Charleston, Maryland, Denver, and to Memphis this November. But even crazier is to reflect on how far I’ve come! I was a nervous wreck that first conference, wondering how I, an introvert, would be able to keep up during essentially 3 days of networking. Now, those three days are something I genuinely look forward to! I’ve realized a few things along the way that have helped overcome this anxiousness and I want to share them with you!
1. The Buddy System
We probably all remember our second-grade teacher using the “buddy system” during field trip days; well, this is also how I approach conference and workshops. Whenever possible, sign up with someone you already know so you have a built-in support system. If you can’t sign up with someone, try to meet a new buddy before the conference even begins! CAH requires an overnight stay, so step out of your comfort zone and use the Facebook group to find a roommate; take some time to get to know one another before the first day so you already have a built in friend upon arrival. Bonus point if your buddy (ahem, Emily) is an extrovert because they will introduce you to new buddies!!
2. When in doubt, buy a new dress.
I don’t know about you, but I never feel as confident as when I’m rocking a new dress. Maybe for you it’s something else – shoes, a fresh notebook, or even a new Swell bottle. Whatever that may be, bring your confidence booster so you are ready to put yourself out there! This conference brings in so many talented small business women and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to chat with Katelyn because you left your A-game at home.
3. Schedule a day off… post conference.
When investing in a conference, you know that means giving up time with your family and spending your hard earned money on this learning experience. And trust me, with speakers from all over the country like Abby, Mary, Bonnie and, of course, our very own Kat, it’s absolutely worth it! But, to ensure you’re making the most of a conference, you’ll want to give it your all. Which, for us introverts, can be exhausting! Trust me, I speak from experience when I say it will be tempting to skip out a group dinner or go to bed early during the late night treat. But don’t… I promise, do not miss a minute! The weekend goes by in a flash and while it’s hard to be “on” for that long of a period of time, it will pay off from all the amazing women you will meet and build connections with that will last a lifetime. By Tuesday, however, you’ll need a break to catch up from all the extroverting you’ve been doing the past few days, so plan for a day off where you can think about everything you’ve learned and catch up on some sleep!
I’m not sure if reading this put any of you at ease, but let me tell you this: don’t let your fear stop you from making a business changing move. Whether that’s attending a conference, reaching out to a mentor, or changing your business plan, Creative at Heart can help you accomplish those goals. Make sure you check out registration for Round Six in Memphis, going live on August 8th! Here’s a mix of some digital and iPhone images of what you’re in store for during a weekend at Creative…
The gorgeous welcome dinner for speakers, panelists, and volunteers!
Some of our swag!!
Love these two — thanks for all your help during round 5!
Panel groups — one of my favorite parts of the entire conference!
Late night treat – yum!!!
Nothing better than the wonderful friends you will meet!