Although I may not have learned a lot like some people did (Clearly I attend too many geeky events), I did take a few things away and I’m not just talking about the copious amounts of swag that I had to smuggle back across the border (minus the kettlebell that I won and was afraid customs might take away from me for obvious reasons).
I work in a position that forces me to talk to people. From completing interviews for stories to shaking hands and making conversation at receptions, I have to be social in order to get what I need, promote the organization for which I work and foster relationships within the community.
But in social settings outside of work, I shrink into the background hoping that someone will take pity on me and draw me out.
I learned that I couldn’t do that at fitbloggin’.
I mean, I could have, but I wouldn’t have gotten anything out of it. I find that conferences surrounding social media are only as good as what you put into them and standing on the sidelines watching the world go by is not being an active participant and the focus there was active. A 5k run, kettlebells, zumba, trampolines – it was all there. And if you didn’t want to be in any given session there were booths and conversations in the halls providing tons of interactive opportunities.
And there were firefighters, too!
I learned to ditch my fear.
Years of being invisible taught me to hide and I’ve yet to become comfortable in large social groups. But here I was, surrounded by people of all shapes and sizes, fitness levels and abilities, backgrounds and stories. What did I have to lose? By the end of the conference, I did make an effort to talk people up, not sit at the empty table first and join others in fun.
I know I talked about facing fear last week, but I need to in a lot of other situations beyond running. I’m constantly afraid of rejection and I need to get over it and improve my self-esteem and self confidence.
Although my effort wasn’t all out, I got out of my comfort zone a bit, interacted with some fabulous people and will make an effort to continue those conversations into the future.
So maybe I didn’t learn anything new about blogging (but blogger’s constant hiccups have taught me that I need to transition to self-hosted a lot quicker than I am) or fitness , but life lessons are just as important.
If you’re shy like me, a conference is where you need to be.
Hopefully I’ll see YOU at fitbloggin’ next year.