Entrepreneurial blogger life is not always easy.
Your closest friends tend to be really successful, inspiring individuals, you are invited to crazy cool conferences around the world, and a lot of the time you are sent some pretty awesome products to try out.
(Insert sarcastic “ugh.”)
So when you’ve just arrived home from an amazing writer’s retreat in Patmos, Greece—where you spent two weeks along with Cheryl Strayed and her entourage (including husband Brian Lindstrom and the incredible dynamic duo Rachel Dewoskin and Zayd Dohrn)—you really do have to pinch yourself when you find yourself on the other end of the line to one of the founders of Summit, and they’re offering you a spot on their upcoming cruise conference.
How can you say no?
I feel like it’s a constant battle when you are in this space: deciding what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, inspiring events happening throughout the year are not going to suddenly vanish. So it’s up to you to figure out what you need to do, and what you simply cannot do. Or, you can go to everything, and risk the possibility of shrinking your wallet/bank account so substantially that you no longer have the finances to support the choice. (I’ve heard of this happening.)
Basically, something has to happen. You have to truly shut the mind off and connect with a deeper part of you, which will tell you which way to turn.
So, I decided to go to Summit. After jumping off the call, having a mini-panic-party attack on my own in my bedroom, I re-watched every Summit video on Vevo and YouTube. I knew that no matter what, I had to get myself on that boat.
And I did.
Was it worth it?
Any experience you decide to go on is worth it. I decided to go to Summit because I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to meet some wonderful people, immerse myself in that space and get outside of my comfort zone. Maybe—just maybe—I would even get some epic business collaborations out of it. I had big dreams and visions for what would come.
The thing is, all of the above did (and continues) to happen.
My biggest takeaways, though, are actually quite different.
I decided that I would go basically teetotal, for the first time, on an all-inclusive booze/schmooze cruise to the Bahamas. What I mean by that is that I decided to use this experience as an opportunity to truly test my insecurities. I would go to Summit and allow all my fears, insecurities, worries and anxieties take the driver’s seat. Instead of drinking to limit social anxieties and fears (like “I won’t make any friends,” “No one is going to like me” or “I don’t belong here”), I would stare those fears in the face and keep moving forward.
And I did.
I’ll never forget those first moments on the cruise when I found myself alone, scared and incredibly worried—worried that I had made a horrible mistake and was left to deal with the consequences for the next three days. I was surrounded by people who all seemed to know each other and had friends. It was in those moments when I felt the desire to hit the crowded bar and get a glass of liquid courage so I could diminish these fears and rock it out.
But I didn’t. I sat with those insecurities, and I decided to say “hello.”
That weekend, I made friends, I made conscious choices and I slept much more than I thought I would. I didn’t go to every event, I didn’t meet every person on the boat and I most certainly left fulfilled, inspired—and not hung over!
There is no right or wrong way to do anything. There are indeed social pressures and expectations around, always ready to take you over. I absolutely encourage you to follow your heart, look within and decide what is best for you in that moment. What is going to nourish your soul, support growth and movement and leave you feeling loved and fueled. Do what supports your evolution. Bring awareness to your patterns and put effort into creating new, loving, conscious patterns.
Here’s what I learned from Summit (these apply to any other conference, event, cruise or workshop too):
1. Be mindful about where you spend your time.
No matter how late you stay up, you won’t make it to every event, meet every person or see everything. So let that desire go and build your day based on how you are feeling and what draws you in and challenges you.
If you are excited about a workshop but scared about an element of vulnerability, go for it. Chances are there is something there for you.
2. Sleep is number one.
Don’t neglect sleep. As a nutritionist, I am telling you this from the simple biological reason that it is vital for proper functioning. From a holistic perspective, this is what will keep you alive, keep you present, support your brain—and you’ll just feel better.
3. We are all the same.
Everyone in the world just wants to be seen and heard, no matter how big, successful or well-known they are. When you’re about to go to an event with a list of people who inspire you or who you look up to, remind yourself that we are all the same. Chances are, they have similar fears and could be looking for the same thing.
Not sure of what to say? Have an honest conversation and say how you are feeling. Always choose love and truth over ego and impression.
4. Choose water over alcohol.
This isn’t to say that you can’t have a glass or two (or three!) of wine. Alcohol is not the devil and it will not ruin your life. However, I urge you to use these experiences as an opportunity to grow and to notice what your insecurities and patterns are and what they direct you to do. In general, alternate between alcohol and water just so you can actually function for the entire time that you are there.
5. Create your own pace.
Everyone has different values, intentions and focuses. We are all unique and chances are that everyone who is at the conference is there for a different reason. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re tired, take a nap. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, go meditate. On the flip side, if all you care about is going to the workshops/talks, then just do that.
Get super clear on what your intentions are beforehand and then trust yourself and go with that. At the end of the day, no one cares about what you care about as much as you.
6. Trust your instincts.
Scan the list of events beforehand and trust your instincts on where to go and what to do. As soon as you get to the event, the energy of everyone there tends to take over and you may end up missing something that you were really excited about (could’ve been the main reason you were going). Again, everyone will have different opinions about everything. This isn’t to say don’t be flexible.
All I’m saying is that it is helpful to get super clear on what is most important to you and what you really want to see or be a part of. Let that be the structure for your time at the event.
7. Go with the flow.
And then there is going with the flow. After all is said and done, you may find yourself on the way to a talk and run into someone you’ve been meaning to meet, or find yourself in a beautiful conversation that you don’t want to end. Trust that. Trust those feelings.
There is a fine line between what our minds want and what our hearts know. Go with the flow, darling. There is no right or wrong thing to do or way to turn. If it is meant to be or happen, the universe will bring it back to you.
Author: Chloe Elgar
Apprentice Editor: Lois Person / Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Author’s Own