Conferences = swag. Gifts. Stuff in bags for you, the attendee. And Camp Mighty was no exception. Part way through the first day we were pointed in the direction of a room length table at the back covered in wrapped gifts. Different sizes and shapes but each with a name tag on it. Alphabetized. Over 150 gifts on one table.
The gifts were personal. Picked with each of us in mind. Based on our life lists that we had submitted weeks before.
It was a thoughtful way to do swag - hey, a new descriptor, "thoughtful swag". Get organized, you conference planners, the bar is now officially higher. "I'm only going to conferences with 'thoughtful swag'". "I'm in charge of 'thoughtful swag'".
Funnily enough, when I think of that weekend, I don't think of the gift. Not that I don't appreciate it. But when I think of that weekend I think of another gift. Or gifts. I think of the speakers who spoke. The ones who spoke to me. Or had a few words here and there that really touched me. Touched me where I am right.now. Said words that I needed to hear.
Here is the first one that had a personal message - a personal gift - for me.
It's Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day. I had heard her speak at Alt Design Summit last January when she gave a similar presentation on how she grew her blog readership. (By the way, it's probably the most practical description of blog growth that I have heard). But that wasn't what hit me this time. It was something that her mother told her when she was growing up:
The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want MOST for what you want in.the.moment.
If you had been there you would have seen me suddenly sit up straight with that look of "what?" while scribbling furiously. Trading what I want MOST for what I want in.the.moment.
Want another cliche? Here's one: you could have knocked me over with a feather. Literally, figuratively, every which way.
I see shiny bits of paper over here and over there and over behind that other thing. I see shiny bits of paper - all good ones, all beautiful, all unique, all stunning - but ones that so easily, TOO easily drag me off course. Off course from what.I.want.most.
What I've learned, and seem to need to KEEP learning, is that life is a triage of opportunities. I can't do it all. I might WANT to do it all, but I can't do it all. It KILLS me to turn down good opportunities, especially knowing that those doors may close permanently. That chance to collaborate. This offer to write. All good. All paths that fit with my skillset and my interests. But just not what I want MOST. They are just what I want in.the.moment.
So my first learning point from Camp Mighty to share with you is that very triage - learning to be ruthless and focused and driven to go after what I want MOST. To see the shiny bits of paper and bailer twine and string and not get distracted. Being comfortable with saying no. And trusting that saying no will leave enough time and space, both physical and mental, to go after what.I.want.MOST.
To learn that sometimes I need to say no to say yes.