I’m still just floored that it’s been 2.5 weeks since the Creative at Heart conference. This was my third time at C@H, but it’d been 2.5 years since I’d attended! I went to the first two rounds in 2015 and they transformed my business. Not only that, but my heart was transformed after spending those conferences investing in myself. I wanted my business to grow before that point, but 2015 is where I really decided to pour my heart out into our clients and our work. It’s where I decided I’d stop treating my business like a “side gig” and that I’d step into my role as boss lady/CEO/wedding photographer. So needless to say, when I found out the conference was coming to Raleigh it was a no brainer. I haven’t been at the point where I feel like I’m just surviving in business for years now, but I knew I wanted change and I wanted growth. AND I wanted to hear more about balance and unconventional schedules and just wanted to feel known by women in the same place as me.
And goodness, did those four days deliver all that and more. C@H is such a well rounded conference. They’ve got all the feels and all the practical. They’ve got heartfelt “how are you really doing?” talks that have you reaching for the c@h tissues you got in your swag bag and they’ve got you scribbling all the notes as you learn about tangible ways to better your web presence. It’s jam packed. And I totally came out of it ready to sleep for a week! This was the longest conference yet! 2.5 long days PLUS a welcome party the first night. Phew. And of course, I came into it with a messed up knee. But honestly, I didn’t have any time to think about being in pain, so it was probably for the best as far as timing goes! I also think this was the prettiest venue yet! The Merrimon-Wynne was our little home and we loved it and filled up every inch of that space with joy and women wearing floral prints :] And seriously, the sweetest people run and attend this conference. The #communityovercompetition movement is totally embraced in this setting and people are cheering for you before they even really know you! And everyone totally gets the weird ins and outs of small business ownership. The late nights and the working weekends and the financial headaches and intense pressure of doing it on your own. They just get it.
This year the big takeaway for everyone was “bravery.” How brave are you willing to be for the life you want to live? I’m SUCH a creature of habit. And the biggest obstacle that is always in my path is myself. I hate change. If I’m “getting by” then I’m satisfied. But that mentality doesn’t propel me towards the life I want to live. It’s good for a season, but not for a life. And that truth punched me in the heart over and over and over again. C@H happened at the perfect time for me and I’m excited to make some changes so that I can go after the life I know I’m meant to live.
Here are my favorite moments from the conference:
- Ubering for the first time! Seriously, Ashley and I had never been and we had a blast meeting our drivers. We felt real cool and casual and “city” after we got over the initial anxiety of it all.
- Surprise speaker aka LARA CASEY! Eek! What a great surprise! She started off the conference PERFECTLY and had us all thinking about our legacy and our unique individual targets. Annnnnd now I want to buy all of her books because she made me cry happy tears pretty much immediately.
- Having a brief conversation with Katelyn James about motherhood made me SO happy. It’s so sweet to hear that someone’s had the same experience as me. Not knowing how much they’d love it, being a little scared they wouldn’t, and then falling over the top in love with being a mom…but still not out of love with their business. And bonus: she changed SO much of her content when she spoke because being a mom has transformed her in the best way! And I always love when she gets some Jesus up in there.
- Chipotle for din. For real. That’s always a win. But eating catered Chipotle and talking with other photogs in the same stage of business as you? Even bigger win.
- Sitting next to Klaire Dixius and catching up on life and purpose and marriage and everything.
- The marriage break out session with Ashley and Tyler was SO wonderful and totally not long enough. I gained a lot of practical tips from what they shared about working together and it was cool to hear how many people are also working with their spouses. David and I have some major organizational restructuring coming our way and it’s gonna be great!
- Chatting with Abby Grace whenever I could pull her aside. So grateful for her impact on my life and my business!
- Shanna. Skidmore. Omg. Ashley’s been telling me about her course for awhile now, but she just totally stole the show! Her money mindset talk was a game changer and brought SO much freedom into the money conversation.
- The hand lettering breakout with Alex Bray. Because it was fun and we all need that.
- Sneaking off whenever we weren’t in session to hang out with my BFF who lives in Raleigh. We hung out in the airbnb and went to Cheesecake Factory and got to pretend we lived in the same city for a hot second.
- Kat’s final talk where she really just asked us to dig deep and share. We got to hear people say yes to quitting their day job, yes to maternity leave, yes to marriage counseling, yes to having a LIFE. It was beautiful.
- Coming home with a full notebook and a full heart, absolutely ready to spill everything to David.
- Bonus: long car rides to and from Raleigh with Ashley. We got to talk life and business and racial reconciliation and hard stuff and fun stuff and it was probably just as refreshing as the conference itself.
Phew! That’s a lot of good stuff! Here’s to making it happen again in 2018! *fingers crossed*
And here’s some recap photos by the talented Holly Felts!
Oh Katelyn. Just love her every time.
Every single detail was beautiful! There were so many places to mingle.
The most beautiful conference room!
Can you spy me looking super sad but really just focusing really hard on my Chipotle?
Annnd here’s my iPhone recap. Aka the one in the middle is from my first Uber hahha.
So much goodness in one collage.
Late night treat hugs and perfectly branded tissues.
Two ladies who super inspire me! Abby and Katelyn!
Annnnd all those SWVA ladies. It was so fun that there were so many of us!