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February 16, 2012

Highlights from the Alt Summit:

It's been almost a month since I was at the Alt Summit in Salt Lake City.... Yeah, I'm a little behind. I finally carved out a little time to go over my notes from the trip and now I'm ready to digest them! Even though this conference wasn't a Food Blog conference, it left me with PLENTY of food for thought. See what I did there?

Here are a few of my highlights:

Be proactive instead of reactive. Think of this is in terms of getting organized & getting things done. Instead of hanging out on twitter & facebook first thing in the morning, get to work! Wasting time being apart of someone else's conversation doesn't help you with starting your own. You will have more to show for your hard work if you're actually working.

Don't think of balance as a seesaw. Balance isn't a straight line. Think of balance as if you are juggling balls. Each ball in your life has a different weight. Through the process of elimination, you can decide which balls to let go of and which to hold on to dear life for. You must constantly evaluate and weigh the importance of each new thing you plan on inviting into your life. It is also important to take a step back and evaluate how to make things better so you can continue to juggle the biggest balls in your life (get your head out of the gutter).

Guilt. If it won't motivate you to do something, then it's a waste of your time.

Mothers make the most use of time and are the greatest multitaskers (GO US!!). If a mom has 45 minutes to get something done, she will do it in 45 minutes. As moms, we need to be less hard on ourselves to GET EVERYTHING DONE. Peace of mind comes when you learn how to schedule time in your day to do certain things. Leave your phone behind when you're at the playground and answer emails when you are in the RIGHT FRAME OF MIND to do so. The fact that you're in between two worlds (Mom-ing & Working) is what adds to your stress level. You will find that you are stressed because you can't do ANYTHING at 100%. Preach!

If you are working on scheduling time as a creative person, remember to leave time to be flexible. If you're over-scheduling yourself, you will not have the necessary time to nurture your creativity.

It's nice to be around people who are doing the same things but being around people who are doing the same things DIFFERENTLY is really where you learn the most. I think this applies to life and it's always been my approach. Being around a variety of people brings out different parts of your personality and add dimension to your life/work. There's good & bad to that, but as long as you align yourself with the good, that's what you'll get back in return.

If you're nervous or afraid to meet someone you've been following online in person GET OVER IT. Chances are they're equally nervous to meet someone who knows so much about them. Plus! You never know who actually knows YOU. The nice thing is that people can't blow you off in person. Exploit that!

This one is pretty self explanatory. Basically BE PREPARED. Think of yourself and what you have to offer. What makes you different? How do you stand out? Think of how you would explain what you do best in a few sentences. This applies to LIFE. You should know your elevator pitch when you're interviewing for a job, right?! Have a tagline:  I am the ______ that does ______ from _______. Fill the blanks in with uniqueness. Choose what you are and BE THAT.

Yup. Having a book has a lot of cache and gives you a bunch of cred. It also costs a lot to work on one. So if you think that you're going to make a ton of money on writing a book, just remember there are hidden costs.

Sometimes the big names are just that. Big names. Gabrielle of Design Mom said that she received more traffic from her sister's Jordan's blog than she did by being named one of the Top 50 Websites in Time Magazine. So when you have large goals, remember they may not always give you the satisfaction you desire.

It's all about making connections with people. I get emails all the time about the worth and importance of blog conferences. Should I do it? Was it a good experience? And what I always say is that a conference is what you make it. I've found that the connections with people that you make in person are far more valuable than the panels you sit in on. Sure, there's a lot of relevant information but when you come home and you're back in real life it's the people that you met that inspire you/your blog and your future. It's gold.

This is tied into the making important connections thing. While I was at the Alt Summit, I struck up a bunch of conversations with a diverse group of people and we didn't necessarily talk about blog stuff. Nope. Some of my random, but engaging conversations included topics such as astrology, marriage, adoption, ghosts, veganism, haunted houses, favorite cookbooks, quality paper, what it's like to be a Navy wife, photography, the pros & cons of having more than one child, roller derby, guilty pleasures, champagne, as well as chicken keeping! I'm pretty sure some of those conversations were memorable for both parties involved!

  • If your friends suggest getting burgers in a hotel room late at night. Just do it.
  • You can tell a lot about a person by the props they pick in their photobooth picture.
  • When you get a tip from a reader about a great donut place in the town you're visiting, GO TO IT.
  • Be nice to everyone.
  • You never know where your work will take you! I had the opportunity to meet many people I've admired from afar in person this year because of my blog. I am so grateful for that!

And lastly....

Thank you Ben of Pinterest for that last quote!

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