It sounds extreme to say Blissdom changed my life. So stop rolling your eyes, ignore the hyperbole and let me explain.
When I first ventured into this crazy online world…. I didn’t know ANYTHING. I had no idea what to expect, HOW to engage, WHO to engage with …. SEO? What? Stats? Who? Comment love…come again? Branding? Truly I was clueless. But when I stumbled across Blissdom and made the decision to attend, something shifted.
At first I was scared. I didn’t know anyone. And by anyone, I mean Not.A.Single.Soul. And I was desperately afraid I was preparing to walk into an adult version of Mean Girls.
But what actually happened was the complete opposite. I was greeted by a beautiful, smiling Rachel… I instantly made a wonderful connection with Mishelle…. I met one remarkable, talented and KIND woman after another. It was the KIND, the welcoming, the overall ‘we’re-so-glad-you’re-here’ aura of Blissdom that floored me then and has me and so many others coming back each year. Alli and Barbara have created a masterpiece in the shape of a conference.
Blissdom was a beginning for me…. and I don’t mean just professionally – though I certainly left equipped with a myriad of building blocks that have helped me as I have grown… but personally, as well. Some of the women that I met at Blissdom have become my closest friends. They are my biggest supporters, the people who keep me on track and the ones who know just what to say whether I’m happy or sad.
I look forward to Blissdom – for months. So, my decision to accept a job that fell the same week was a hard one. But when I called Alli – both a friend and a confidant – to share the opportunity – she didn’t hesitate, “You have to go…. this is an amazing opportunity for you.” She said this knowing that my not attending Blissdom meant I must back out of not only speaking at a Wisdom Workshop, but also, I must find someone else to host the Video Walk I had scheduled for Saturday morning. This is the support I’m talking about.
Blissdom was the first conference where I was invited to speak. It was the place I wore bunny slippers and everyone laughed (in a loving way) It is the origin of ‘me’ online.
I will miss seeing you all there. I will miss the hugs, the laughs, the late-nights, the learning, the conversation.
I will miss talking video and vlogging, but am so thrilled Jenny and Esther are the amazing teachers they are…. and I’m grateful to them for supporting my decision and picking up the slack when I couldn’t attend.
My advice to you:
Absorb the kindness. You will be in awe as you experience it and will leave stronger for having felt it.
Listen. There are tidbits of gold that fall from the mouths of your friends AND the many wonderful speakers.
Talk. Share. This is a perfect opportunity to let people see the real you – tell them who you are and why you do what you do online.
Laugh. Allow yourself to let your guard down – enjoy these moments you have to connect with new friends and ones you’ve been dying to see again.
Take Notes. There is so much valuable information in the sessions and workshops. You can’t possibly remember it all. I’ve referenced my notes from Blissdom 2009 more times than I can count.
And finally – tell me all about it….. Since I can’t be there – I will be watching for your tweets, your posts and will be living vicariously through each incredible moment.
I hope you leave inspired…motivated, confident in your ability to ‘bring the beautiful’ and connected to many, fabulous new friends.