Tomorrow morning I board a 7am plane with my traveling/blogging pal Jill and fly to Salt Lake City, Utah for our second networking/learning/inspiration event, the Altitude Design Summit. (Our first was Camp Mighty last November.) You would think that I would be jumping off the walls, all smiles and giggles at the fact that after deciding last year to attend Alt Summit, I am ACTUALLY attending Alt Summit. (10 points for setting AND accomplishing goals.) Instead, I am a ball of nerves, feeling full of self doubt and wondering what the heck I am going to say about myself to hundreds of stylish, awesome and smart designers, photographers, bloggers and various other amazing people.
Where is that self-assuredness that people seem to have? Why is it that I sometimes forget that I am awesome? My husband gave me a pep talk last night and I decided today to do the same for myself. Here's how I am going to get over my nerves and shine at Alt Summit.
- Be Enthusiastic. There is such a thing as too much enthusiasm, however it is so ridiculously over the top, you will know way before you even get close to it. Enthusiasm is your greatest asset at an event like this. Get into it! Know your stuff. Do your homework. Put yourself out there! You will not regret it. You will get out of it what you put into it.
- Say Hi to Strangers. Take a deep breath and just go say hi to those people who you know and admire. Before you know it you will be chatting like old friends. And if you aren't? Move on. Not every single person you meet is going to be your best friend, but at least you tried. If you are standing next to someone you don't know, say hi! They are probably nervous too. They might need a hug.
- Assume Everyone is Nervous. I would guess that even the veterans who are speaking or organizing are nervous about something too. Those people are putting themselves out there the most and it takes a lot of guts to be a leader. Tell them you appreciate their hard work. And for all the other new people like you and me? Give them a high five, tell them you are nervous too, laugh about a stupid thing that happened. It's all going to be ok.
- Ask For Cards. People will appreciate not having to offer it and you will get to give them yours. Also, don't be afraid to just hand out your card first! You worked hard on those puppies, show them off!
- Take Notes. Write down everything, including people's names, and try to process everything and store it in memory as it happens. It will go by too fast and before you know it you've forgotten that person's name and the important bit of advice they told you. Listen as much as you can and ask people questions.
- Take a Break. If you feel overwhelmed, tired or nervous, take a step back. Go to the bathroom for some deep breathing, take an hour nap in your room or go for a walk. Keep something that grounds you in your pocket and let it remind you to take care of yourself first.
- Be Confident! You've totally got this. Remember why you came here and what it is that you do best. The best way to stay confident is to avoid comparing yourself to others. The only person you can compare yourself to is yourself. Remember where you were a year ago? Five years ago? Yeah - so much better now. Right? You rock, and don't you forget it.
- Just be yourself. Relax. Take a deep breath and just be the person you are with your best friends and family. That is the person that everyone wants to meet and hang out with.
- Have fun! Do something you've never done before. Dance in the snow. Ask to take someone's portrait. Draw someone a picture. Sing at the piano. Be bold. But... don't drink too much. The last thing you want is a wicked hangover in the morning for the first panel. Space out the drinks, make sure to drink lots of water and take some Advil before you go to bed.
I'm really looking forward to meeting so many new people starting tomorrow! And after writing this post, I think I am finally more excited than nervous. Check out my About page for a picture of me and who I am. Be sure to come find me and say hello, I'll probably give you a hug and a high five, and my card. Safe travels!