Sitting down now to write this post I’m having a really hard time finding the words to convey the awesomeness of last week. All I can really tell you is that this is going to be a really long post, and to get a coffee first.
For the first full 24 hours I felt like I was just trying to get the ground under me. This trip that I had been dreaming about for months was finally here. I was IN VEGAS. Sunday is kind of a blur. I was picked up by the awesome Showit guys at the airport and rode back to the MGM Signature in the FIX bus. I threw back a beer with Krisd like I known her my whole life even though we’d just met 30 minutes prior. Sunday evening I attended a buffet dinner at the Cosmopolitan with 100+ other Showiteers. It was so incredible to have all of that joy in one room. So many hugs all around, and so many awkward pauses trying to match the person to the profile picture. And then Monday morning I started in with the classes. I can tell you now I definitely tried to do too much (I’m sure you’re shocked). That day I heard David Jay, Mike Larson, Gabriel Ryan, The Grovers, and Jose Villa speak. This next bit of advice applies to any future conference attendees. Yes, any conference. Know why you’re going, and what you want to learn before you go. Write it down. Strategically select your classes/workshops/things to attend based on that. It is way too easy to be pulled all over the place thinking you’re going to learn a lot just because you’re hearing “successful” people speak.
Just one thing I want to share with you from Monday that David Jay said. It’s an old Hindu word, Genshai (no idea if I’m spelling this correctly) which means to never treat someone in a ways that would make them feel small. I’m sure this will be it’s own blog post at some point. But I am so honored to be a part of a group that strives for this.
Tuesday I knew would be a good day because the barista spelled my name correctly. That morning I met up with Khara Plicanic for a Thirst Relief Mentoring Session over breakfast. I didn’t have a lot of big things written down that I wanted to learn from her. But she’s just so awesome I learned anyway! She helped me articulate a lot of things I had been feeling but didn’t know how to best put into words. Things I want for my business, ways to structure packages, how to talk things through with brides. I didn’t write while I was there with her but I went back time after time all week jotting things down that resonated with me from our conversation.
Tuesday I heard Jasmine Star, Karen Stott, and Mike Colon speak. What I loved most about that day though was the evening. I attended the Pursuit 31 Soiree at the Palms Place Penthouse with 50+ other fabulous women and we ate cheese, prayed (like woah these women can pray powerfully….it is a BEAUTIFUL thing) and took super fun pictures of each other. This is probably the event I am most sad that I didn’t bring my camera to. Thankfully others did, and Katrina Miller of Reece & Katrina captured these of me.
I’m doing my best to talk through my experiences and not just the pictures I took. One of the absolute biggest things of the whole week was meeting so many incredible people, and building relationships with people I already know and love. As Jackie said yesterday, next year I need to get a picture with every single person I hug. Sadly, I didn’t do that. But you can see me below with the darling Christy Tyler and my roommate for the week the effervescent Tamara Lockwood. LOVE them both. A huge person for me though that I don’t have a picture with is Kat Harris. Kat works with Mike Colon, you can see her blog here. I comment on her blog semi-frequently and I was really hoping to meet her. After hearing J*’s keynote I spotted her on the other side of the room and marched up to introduce myself. You guys, she KNEW WHO I WAS! And she hugged me. And she asked me about how I got started with wedding photography. And we talked about what an amazing God thing it was and how she ended up working with Mike. I don’t think I can put this in bold enough terms. Taking the time to really talk with people will always make a bigger impact than you think. When you show people that you value them, they will respect you. I only hope I can display this same genuine care in every aspect of my own life.
This next picture is from Christy that Amanda took for us. I would absolutely be remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly wonderful it was to meet and get to spend time with these fabulous APW ladies: Emily, Katie, Christy, Allison. You are each so incredible. I can’t wait to spend more time with each of you!
Wednesday morning my iPhone charger died so I needed to run to the Apple store. This was incredible for my sanity (just getting outside and walking in the sunshine) and completely fortuitous timing. I had a mentoring session set up with Justin & Mary Marantz originally scheduled for Tuesday, we’d moved it to Wednesday, and Mary emailed while I was walking to Ceasar’s Palace Forum Shopppes to say they had an elopement come up for THAT NIGHT and could we reschedule for Thursday morning. Also, did I want to second shoot the wedding with them. I’m pretty sure my response was something like “YES AND YES!!!!!! And what perfect timing because I’m on my way to the Forum Shoppes now and I can get a wedding appropriate dress.” I’m that professional. I literally emailed her back about shopping. Clearly I wasn’t thinking straight.
I got a charger, found a dress as quickly as possible, and power walked back to the Signature to hear Jeff Jochum‘s keynote. I think I took more notes during his 35 minutes talking than I did during any of the two hour platform classes. He talked about our why in business and in life, about the state of the professional photography industry, taught us how to test the power of our positioning. I could go on and on.
From Jeff’s talk I sprinted up to the room to change and then to Justin and Mary’s platform room to help them set up. Mary’s talk was INCREDIBLE. Truly inspiring. She talked about dreaming big and doing bigger. And boy oh boy did I walk out of there with things to ponder. No time then though! I sprinted up to the room to change for the WEDDING and snapped this picture of the sunset before dashing out the door. I cannot thank Lauren enough for loaning me her 50mm and Joe for loaning me his shootsac.
The wedding was beautiful and I’m just showing this itty bitty Instagram sneak peek for now because I haven’t talked to Justin & Mary about using the pictures yet :-) It was SUCH an honor to be included in Ashley & Jeremy’s wedding.
Thursday morning I got up bright and early to meet Justin & Mary for my mentoring session. And let me just tell you, Mary rocked my world. We talked about my why, and my big hairy audacious goals. We talked about the business I want to build, and then we talked about achieving it. Big changes are coming, and I could not possibly be more thrilled! :-D
Please pardon the awful hilarity of this picture and just take it as documentation that I did in fact see the sunshine while in Vegas and that I am in fact friends with Lauren and Stacy. Also as a word of warning NOT to schedule a super late flight out…you’ll end up waiting for hours and hours and taking silly pictures like the one above.
A g&t on the flight and I was finally home. Completely exhausted. And each day since I’ve felt just a little bit less like a truck ran over my body. It’s not gone yet, but I’m thinking by this weekend…hopefully.
I cannot wait for next year. (I’m bringing Wil with me for sure!)