Have you ever been a part of an event that was life altering for you? I’m talking about those events that when you walked away you felt like a million bucks and on top of the world. No one could drag you down, or take away from what you just experienced.
I recently had one of those moments and I wanted to share it with you.
This last weekend I attended Tribe Conference. Tribe is a conference for people who are interested in growing a tribe or group of people who follow their art, writing or any other topic associated with creativity. I had an absolute blast and I hope I never forget it. That shouldn’t be too hard as I have already signed up for next year’s conference.
My History of Conferencing in 3 sentences…
For the last 15 years, I have attended conferences on all sorts of topics. Leadership, youth ministry, pastoring, counseling and several others. I have done my share of the circuit in the Christian conference world and have had mostly good experiences.
But this conference was different
And by different I mean I had the best community experience I have ever had at a conference. People came from all walks of life and we did life together for almost 3 days. That’s not easy to do – and Jeff Goins killed it.
I was nervous out of my wit’s end walking into Tribe. I have never been to a writer’s conference before. Feelings of doubt and insecurity rushed over me as I walked into the Frothy Monkey for my first “writer meet up” before the conference even started.
But it didn’t take long for the humanity of others to come rushing in, either. I was able to experience community and care full force as I stepped into the weekend. Here are some lessons I took away from my time there.
You belong here
This is the vision of Tribe Conference. As a pastor and “conference goer” for over 15 years I have rarely seen it lived out as I did this weekend. Jeff has created a culture that is second to none with writers, authors & creators. I’m telling you – this conference is life-giving.
From the first downbeat, I sensed a feeling of belonging and I knew I was a part of something great. This feeling only grew through the weekend. I also learned something else important.
Other people don’t have it all figured out either
I met and talked with several others who seem to be right in the same place I am. We have different strengths, styles, and goals but we found common ground in that none of us have it all figured out. We’re all in process and at times the struggle is quite real. But because of our common bond of struggles we were able to form community quickly.
I lost count at the number of times I said, “Me too!” out loud. There are few words that bring others together more than those.
Words escape me when I think how comforting this is to me. I’ve only been writing for a year and a half and feelings of inadequacy fly to the top of my list of struggles. It did my heart good to see others right where I am at times this weekend.
Meeting your heroes can do wonders for your soul
It’s fun meeting people who have influenced you. The heart flutters and your palms sweat, but it’s good for you. Many of the heroes I met began as a profile picture, blog post, webinar or online course. This weekend I was given the opportunity to experience them as a real person.
I walked away from just about every conversation thinking to myself “Gosh, they are human, too!” When you can discover the humanity between each other, it’s good for your soul.
I also learned that when you meet one of your heroes, there’s a chance your Dork Goblin will make an appearance. Thank you to Yes Yes Marsha for that insightful lesson.
This is great, but what does it have to do with me??
Great question. Here’s an even better one – how does all of this help you to not suck at YOUR relationships? Here are some thoughts for you:
1. When you are in an uncomfortable space, go all in.
Don’t hold back. Go all in. Don’t allow yourself to write stories in your head. Don’t cloud your mind with “But”’s or regrets. Just walk up and have a conversation. I PROMISE YOU – others have the same fears you do.
2. Ask really good questions and tell good stories
When I had the opportunity to meet some of my heroes I would mentally prepare and have a few questions tucked away to ask them. Or, I would have a quick story to share about how they helped me. I was not only able to serve them well, but they were able to serve and care for me more than I could imagine because I came prepared.
When you can learn to ask good questions and tell stories in your relationships, the potential for healthy, God-honoring community grows rapidly.
3. Allow God to surprise you.
Just be open to it. You won’t be able to be ready for it. This happened moment after moment for me this weekend. Here are just a few of them:
- I counseled a woman who was grieving the loss of her marriage.
- I sat next to one of my heroes almost all weekend who I met for the first time at the conference.
- My new book DON’T SUCK was promoted from the stage. Seriously?! Yes – seriously. I about wet myself.
- I had lunch with a 41-year-old single guy who is struggling to find community and healthy relationships.
When you allow God to surprise you, he will use you to do incredible things. Don’t ever forget that.
4. Allow new & blooming relationships to grow you as a person.
This is one of the purposes I love about relationships. When you allow others into your chaos (and they let you into theirs) crazy and amazing things can happen. You grow as a person. You stretch beyond what you thought possible and are challenged to become someone better.
I learned a lot this weekend. About myself, others, writing and what it means to build a tribe. But more than anything, I was reminded one more time how important relationships are and how we are called to do this together.
If you are a creative in any sense of the word and wonder what succeeding in a community can look like, you need to go to Tribe Conference and experience it first hand.
Your Call to Action
It’s time to take some action towards getting better at your relationships. Download my free book DON’T SUCK and get started today.