Last month I went to my very first Altitude Summit in gorgeous Salt Lake City and, you guys, I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the massive stage complete with person-sized “ALT” letters, overwhelmed by the sponsor rooms that looked like extraordinarily well decorated homes, overwhelmed by how they somehow made all of those huge conference rooms and the halls smell so incredibly flowery and luscious, overwhelmed by the 600 new friends I was about to make and their incredible wardrobes, business cards and over-the-top enthusiasm. Overwhelmed.
I was so flummoxed by it all I couldn’t even put together a sentence when Heidi asked me (several times throughout the day – I think she thought I was having a stroke or something!) what my first impressions were. Finally, at about 3:00 on that first afternoon I think I stammered, “I don’t know. It’s just all so. I don’t know. Overwhelming.”
What struck me upon a little more reflection is that I had never – EVER – been to a conference where everyone was having FUN. Everyone was looking forward to the speakers, was torn between missing the awesomeness of Alison Faulkner or sitting in the coziness of the Wayfair lounge. The food was good. The sponsors were amazing. It was all just so fun! You have to understand, we lawyers go to conferences for “continued legal education” credits, which essentially means 8 hours a day of glazed over eyes listening to speakers who oftentimes have no business in public speaking, eating sad hotel food over a working lunch, drinking cup after cup after cup of horrible coffee, having vendors assault you with the law firm management software that will change your life!, swag that amounts to nothing more than pens and stress balls, rinse and repeat for three days. Oy. No wonder I was overwhelmed, right?
But I digress. Back to the awesomeness. Here are my takeaways from my wonderful first Alt Summit:
– From the inspiring Lisa Congdon, I learned not to be apologetic about my creative career (or my desired creative career). She said, “Own it, and own all of it.” Yeah, so I’m an ivy league trained lawyer with nearly 15 years of experience. So what? I want to be a blogger when I grow up.
– From the awesome Alison Faulkner, I learned her top secret to establishing a successful brand (which she admits was a little bit of trickery and not a secret at all): don’t be afraid to get started! You have to expect to run into the revolving door, and run, run, build momentum, run, run, and then leap out of the door…only to hit another revolving door. It’s okay. Just get into that doorway. (Sounds familiar, yeah?)
– From my new friend, the impossibly cool Cathleya from Momtastic, if you want to be a contributor, approach editors the right way – make it easy for them to hire you. Offer ten ideas, not just one. And create kick-ass deliverables.
– From the incredible Tiffany Han, identify my goal, write it down, and then surround myself with post it notes with the goal on it so that I can’t forget it and can’t ignore it.
– From the hilarious, deep-thinking, emoting, Spindoctors-loving Dallas Clayton – there are no rules.