For those who follow the hashtag on twitter, this is indeed a real conference that the attendees pay for. And for full disclosure, that conference fee does include park tickets for your family, a few nights in a Disney Parks hotel, and some meals. Oh yeah, and some swag.
I am very grateful and humbled to have been invited back for this, my 2nd conference. It is labeled a “Moms” conference and a couple of dad bloggers are included, and I speak for the other 3 and myself, we are some lucky dad bloggers!
Before I get into the details of this recent conference which I am barely recovered from, I want to share about the 1 standout thing that happened to me at last years conference. One of the speakers, Peter Shankman, the founder of HARO (Help a Reporter Out) said 1 thing that changed the course of my blog. He said, “Get out of your comfort zone.” That may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but it changed my world. It changed my world because at the age of 53 I had never been on a business trip. My son tells me that last years conference was a business trip so I can amend that to say, I never went on a business trip by myself.
1 month after last year’s conference I was invited to Chicago. My automatic answer was no, I couldn’t leave my family; I am the one who runs the house so that my spouse can concentrate on supporting us. That excuse could no longer work because it was an excuse to stay in my comfort zone. With great trepidation, I agreed to go on that trip. It was 1 overnight in Chicago, for a brand I knew nothing would happen with, but this was about me and facing my fears. Again, I feel like a 50+ year old baby saying this to you, but for me and my life it was huge.
As someone who has worked on his fear of flying I have to say the trip out was not easy. But I did it. My doctor has since guided towards help for future plane trips, but that is another story.
Needless to say the trip was a success, I was able to act like a grown-up and network with some wonderful bloggers from across the country. This will not be the last time you hear this, I love bloggers.
Later in the year I was invited on a Disney movie junket for 4 days and because I had left my comfort zone once, I was able to do it again. Granted everything at home fell apart because I really do run everything, but I have to let that and my co-dependence go! Almost all of you know how amazing a Disney movie junket can be, and this trip was exactly that.
But, if you are all still reading this, it is because you want to hear about this years conference. I have to start by saying I had to fly down alone. My son was in a play and my spouse had to fly down with him the next day. Again, this was a lot of practice in letting go, after all, they can’t possibly negotiate flying together without me, after all I am the one who does everything! Needless to say, while they did not do it as well as if I were there, but they did make it!
And I met them as I was on our conference lunch break. Between seeing them and being in the middle of the Disney Social Media Moms cnnference I was beyond elated and talking a mile a minute, of course they wanted nothing more than to hit the parks!
The conference was emceed by Rene Syler of Good Enough Mother.com. She was wonderful in keeping the flow of the day going smoothly and introducing the various speakers. She also added her own personal touch by going over life lessons that she had collected from the various attendees, all of whom are bloggers, who I already loved, and got to know better and love more! I love bloggers!
I am not going to go on a long winded discussion about all the days speakers, but I will tell you what I took away from the event. It is all about positive thinking, how to move yourself forward, facing your fears and taking actions.
All the basics that we all already know, but I believe most of us need to be hit over the head time and time again with, simple concepts: because we too easily slide into fear, complacency, and negativity. I know my cup is half full, not empty, the spirit of the universe (I call that God, you may call it anything you like) supports me, and I have to take actions to get results. But I often forget to put that into daily practice. This conference had a host of positive speakers who reminded me, as part of a very energetic audience, to keep moving forward to reach my own success.
Olympian Shannon Miller was one of the speakers. Women’s gymnastics is my #1 favorite sport and I was a huge fan of hers. I had no idea she was also a cancer survivor and motivational speaker.
Ashley Eckstein also chatted with us, she is the co-founder of “Her Universe,” an apparel company that designs fashion for female sci-fi fans. While I am a male sci-fi fan, it was great to meet the voice of Ahsoka Tano, Padawan from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Plus her company has expanded to include work with Dr. Who, my favorite show.
And Marc Mero, former WCW and WWE Wrestling Champ. His speech was a memorized speech for High School students, which he warned us it would be, so it as not entirely helpful. But he is the first professional wrestler I have ever met, I have been a fan of wrestling for many decades.
Other speakers included Jackie Huba who spoke a lot about Lady Gaga. The point of her talk for me was that Lady Gaga did not become an overnight success. She has a lot of talent, but if no one hears you, then you will never succeed. Similar to Madonna in my opinion, hard work, good luck, and being in the right place at the right time is how you achieve success if you have talent. And that does not happen while sitting at home in front of the TV!
Last but not least was Dayna Steele. She was very annoying, She made us get up and sit with people we did not know. Of course that was beneficial! It is easy to sit at a conference with folks you already know, the hard part is meeting new folks. I always sit right up front so I had already made some new friends, but you can never have enough, so I appreciated this exercise! Plus Miss Steele had a lot of Rock and Roll inspiring stories that were great to listen to.
I have only left you with a brief summary of my conference day, but it was again, inspiring. It is a gift to be able to attend these types of events to get a kick in the ass so I (we) can keep moving forward. And if I ever get lazy, these guys might turn on me!
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Walt Disney World. I paid a conference fee and received free park tickets, some lodging and some meals. All opinions are always 100% honest and my own. I was not required to write this post as part of my conference attendance.