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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Influence Conference Recap #2: Why I Almost Didn't Go (and why you SHOULD)

     I so desperately want to participate in The Influence Conference Re-Cap Link- Up, but I'm finding myself holding my cards really tightly to my chest these days.

I did not know how much This Conference would change me...there are lots of things on my heart that I haven't even shared with Tim or my family so far (my dad  had minor/expected surgery yesterday so we're still letting the dust settle).

But also, I'm still just "sitting" on things and letting them sink in.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm changing the rules just a bit.  ;)

     I think there will be a lot of people using the Influence Network links who (perhaps) didn't go to Influence this year...for various reasons.  I wanted to share reasons why I DIDN'T go last year (and almost chickened out in 2013) in the hopes that it will help give someone else the courage to go next time.

If you DID did The Lord speak truth into your life and expectations about the conference? What would you say to encourage someone else to go next year?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

     The second purpose is to link back to it next year so all those first-timers can find some encouragement in 2014. ( I wanted to write it now while it was all still fresh in my mind).

      I also wanted to include tips & things I was glad I did before the conference (i.e. prepare your heart), but this post was getting, um. Long.  To say the least.  Check back in the near future.  I'll link back as needed.

Ok.  Get comfy.  :)

I will tell you that when someone asked me about this conference (before I attended), I would dodge the question.  

I was a.) completely overwhelmed and b.) did not know what to expect.  

Here were some of my fears, and my attempts at talking you OUT of them, in case they're your fears, too...  

I will be the smallest blogger there...

    Um. Some people there haven't even started blogging, yet.  They just wanted to come learn, make connections, and hear about Jesus.  <<<<<  That  =  awesome.  

I don't have time to network beforehand....

     Don't sweat this.  I didn't network THAT much (too scared = silly), and I still had an amazing time, and felt like I connected with some wonderful people.  

     This was a series of instagram exchanges I had with my (new) friend :) Rachel.  (Posted with permission).  I'm posting these just so you can see how easy it is!  Rachel posted a photo and used the #influenceconf hashtag...and the rest was history.  

     I know it seems a little ridiculous that I'm posting this, but one of the points that Kate made during her session was, "Don't assume that people know the basics."  I was a social media newbie (and still am).  I had no idea how to reach out...the entire world of twitter was lost on me.  (I'm getting better).  ;)

If you're new, intimidated, shy, etc.  This is for you.  :)

 (my old name was hollysoyoung) These are all separate Instagram posts, but our convo. is highlighted in pink.  The former teacher in me was SO excited to HIGHLIGHT! Heehee!

And we didn't even get a picture together.  :(  But I did meet her in person, and she's adorable and lovely.  

     If someone doesn't respond, don't sweat it.  Everyone has their own "stuff" going on.  Use the hashtag. Reach out.  Keep trying.

 If anything....tag me (@theyoungmuseum).  I love stalking/having stalkers.  :) You won't be able to get rid of me.

(keep in mind, 2014's hashtag might be different)

No one is going to want to meet me....

I have nothing to say on this one.  Stop thinking that.  I want to meet you.  Jesus wants to meet you.  That one is just dumb, and it's a lie from the fire-y pits of hell.  (Dramatic, right?)  

My clothes aren't cute enough...

Guys.  This one is also dumb.  This was a conference full of women from all walks of life.  Wear what you like.  Wear what you feel comfortable in.  These people have never seen you before, so technically, everything in your closet is new.  ;)  I saw jeans...maxi skirts...dresses...leggings....Except for the first night ( I wore a dress/denim jacket), I wore jeans everyday.

I need to go when I've lost more weight/gained more followers.  

Why?  I really want you to think about this answer.  I'll share mine so you can take comfort. 

 My answer comes from a place of vanity and pride.  I didn't want the first impression that people saw of me at a conference to be a.) chubby and b.) a mediocre blogger.  <<< that was hard to admit! 

Because, you know...being thin and popular are requirements if you want to be a disciple for Jesus.  

Moses stuttered.  Paul got the tar beat out of him on a regular basis.  Ruth and Naomi were dead, flat, broke.  

Stop making excuses that come from shallow, empty places for not doing the work of Jesus and ENJOYING things you think might be scary.  I'm talking to myself here, too- sweet friends.  

Let's be confident.  Let's continue working on our goals while moving forward at the same time.

I've lost 9 pounds, thank you very much.  ;)  

((drops the mic))  

Music starts: "I'm sexy & I know it...."  

It's going to be about being a "pretty blogger..."  The sessions will be..."We're's how you can be pretty like us..." 

     This could NOT have been farther from the truth.  The Conference founders are some of the most genuine, sincere, down-to-earth bloggers I know.  You're already beautiful because you are made in the image of God, and He loves you.   I got the impression, that these ladies're already beautiful. You don't need a 45 minute session telling you "how to be that."

Let's be about the work of our Father and focus on our hearts during this conference.  

(Don't get me wrong, there were some really good "strategy" sessions...but they were also Christ-centered and incredibly helpful for my HEART)! 

It's going to be super have to stand out.  

     Holy Smokes.  Not true.  My new friend Katie from a place to dwell spent the entire car ride home walking me through The Basics of Twitter (haha), and taking notes for me while I thought out loud (I was driving).

At dinner one night, several other girls gave advice, opinions, and helped brainstorm ideas about ways to become better writers.

Dinner with creative types, writers, new friends, mom's, bloggers, fellow believers = a dream come true!

At the conference, I found a safe place.  

When one of us succeeds, we all succeed...because the goal is to reach people and build community. 

And hold hands, ride unicorns, and slide down rainbows.  ;)  

Jessi ended with this.... (and I cry my head off just thinking about it), 

"We love you.  You are our people, and we are your people."  

* * * * * * * *  

I hope to see you next year.  I'll eat you up, I love you so.  

Love & also one of your people, 

#wildandfree  ;)