I just got back from Mom 2.0. I spent the last few days with women from all over the country, gathered to celebrate working moms and the power of the written word and social media. For two days we listened to speakers talk about how we can make a difference using our influence, using our voice, using our intentions. My heart is full, my mind spinning. I met and heard from some of my own personal blogging heroes and got to spend quality time with some many of my virtual turned IRL friends. I can’t say enough about these virtues and significance of these friendships in real life. Social media has brought so much joy into my life, but nothing can discredit these unique and very real relationships.
Since I started blogging 2-1/2 years ago, my life has literally turned upside down – and I mean that in the best way possible. I’m working on interesting projects and have amazing opportunities presented to me on a daily basis, much as a result of this small blog you are reading. It has led to new avenues in my career and the opportunity to write about topics close to my heart here and on other sites. Quite often, I am doing a million things at once and have tight deadlines, so to be honest, I looked at this trip as a chance to educate myself from amazing women, but also as a retreat. Believe it or not, even though it was a social media conference, I did not spend the whole time tweeting and posting. I let myself truly be in the moment.
Part of the pleasure of this conference was also staying at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne. Located on a seven-mile barrier island south of South Beach, it’s stunning. It’s serene and to sum it up, pure bliss. From the moment we set foot in the hotel, I told myself I wouldn’t have to leave all weekend. With the view of the sea every which I turned, I was set. The setting absolutely complimented the goal of the conference: to inspire and instill us with passion. One morning, I participated in a yoga class overlooking the ocean. It was really a few days of allowing me to stop and put everything in perspective.
The conference attracts a lot of savvy social media moms, many of whom are pioneers in this space. Now that I’ve been doing this for a while, and my work has taken a new direction as a result of this blog, I felt very comfortable. At prior conferences, I felt more like an invader, but not so much this time. I was in a room full of other women who are working in this space, so many of whom I wanted to learn from but felt more on a par than ever before. That’s a good place for me to be in. In several discussions, I heard that success is not all about numbers and statistics; it’s important to keep true to yourself in this space. My goals of this blog are probably very different to other bloggers, so I am no longer intimidated by these conversations. I care about stats, of course, but they are certainly not my main goal. Like with any path, it’s important to know who you are and I am not trying to be like anyone else in the room. I want to be myself.
Over the course of the weekend, I heard a few buzz words and I am going to carry them with me as I set my own goals:
AUTHENTIC, ENGAGE, NICHE, PASSION, INTENTION, COMMITMENT, CONNECTION
The conference was very supportive of all our endeavors, without addressing them directly. I’ve heard from Brené Brown, the key note speaker in the past, and as always, she has always made me think about my goals and I was anxious to hear from her again. She talked from her heart about the darker things in life that hold us back. Her focus is shame (that’s what she studies for a living and is the topic of her next book) but she always brings it back to courage and determination. She told us that it’s okay to fail and that we should own the stories since we cannot write the end of a story that we do not own. Owning our story and sharing our words, embracing what makes us vulnerable and facing our fears, that’s what is important. It’s important not to hold ourselves back because we fear failure.
Wow. Yes, it gave me a lot to think about. While I do not often share my personal stories here on this blog, I do get pleasure out of writing from within, but I am always afraid of over-sharing. About that, she said:
“The most connected posts are the ones that make you nervous to hit publish and sometimes you just need to put it out there. You don’t need to over share and you should only share your most intimate stories with your friends who have earned them.”
She also said that we need to find the courage to tell our stories with all of our hearts. We have to make a connection … and have at least one friend who will help move a body.
When I heard that, I immediately texted my best friend back home who is not in the social media world to tell her I would move a body for her. I don’t think she understood, she didn’t text back (I’ll explain it to her tomorrow!). But the truth is that there are many women in this space for whom I would also move a body. The connections I have made via social media are truly special and sacred to me and I do not take them for granted. When I looked around the room, I was constantly reminded of the immense amount of pleasure I get from this space. The women I have met are EXTRAORDINARY, and I think that my next post will highlight these amazing women.
I haven’t mentioned the White Party or the hour we tried to beat the world record for creating the most widespread social network message. Imagine a very large group of women standing around the pool tweeting this:
You inspire me. #DoveInspired
It was surreal. There was actually a representative from Guiness Book of World Records in attendance! It was truly magical and really showed the power of social media. The goal for their sponsor, Dove, to donate $15,000 to Girls Inc., an organization inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold. We didn’t win, but we came close. Many of you probably received that tweet from me, now you now why.
And that’s the power of social media and the power of this conference. For two days, I stood in a room full of women who will move bodies, who make things happen.
That’s what I want to take with me and feel for a days, weeks, months to come. To stay in the moment and remember that I am good enough. I can move mountains when I set my mind to it, with the right inspiration and support. We all can. I came home with new ideas, new hopes, new ambitions. For that, I am grateful.