It’s been 2 months since I returned back from the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World, and it seriously has taken me this long to decompress and find the words to share some of what I experienced. Before I left for the conference, I had plans for post after post, recounting the entire event. Once I returned home, I realized I wanted to take some time to savor my experience and let the lessons that I learned marinate a bit. One of the workshop presenters, Amy Jo Martin from Digital Royalty, encouraged attendees to “find your why”, and I needed to do just that. Why do I blog? Why are my stories important to share? Why do I do what I do? I found my why…for now, and so today I want to share 5 important lessons that I learned at the celebration.
1. Be prepared to capture and share life.
Ramon DeLeon who has earned international recognition for his Domino’s pizza franchise using social media talked a lot about how he uses video and pictures to create a following. The thing that stood out to me most, was pictures of himself as a child, as well as more recent photographs of his family. In one of the shots, we saw him standing with his father who was holding a videocamera…like father, like son!
Ramon talked about how his childhood, and the experiences he had as a child helped form the man he is today, and that made me even more determined to write, blog, record Ayva’s life. I want her to know, always, where she comes from and be able to look back on moments of her life and identify how different experiences helped her to become the woman she will become.
2. Be a weed.
Peter Shankman began his workshop with, what could be taken as a challenge. Be a weed. Sure, weeds have haters, but they are able to stand the test of time, and they don’t give up easy. Gardeners, y’all know. Weeds pop up even when there is hardly any dirt! You never see roses growing in the cracks in the sidewalks, you see dandelions, though. Those little suckers are determined to grow.
In the blogging world, there are the “rules”. You do this if you want to work with brands, grow your readership, get a book deal. You never do this. You always do this. Oh, and we never do that. Well, I’m not content with just being a pretty flower. I want to sprout up in places that are least expected, and doing things that folks didn’t think I could do. Yup, being a weed sounds right up my alley.
3. Have a goal. Also, make a plan.
It’s hard to get anything accomplished when you don’t know what you want to accomplish. Couple the not knowing with no plan, and you have a recipe for failure. Seriously. Lisa Druxman from Stroller Strides discussed starting her successful fitness program franchise business, and attributed much of her success to planning. In her talk, she said, “Nothing that you want to do is ever going to happen if you don’t make a plan.”
I have to agree. It’s easy to fly by the seat of your pants and complete things haphazardly as you think about them. If you’re lucky, you’ll never forget to do the important stuff at the right time. If your luck is just average, chances are, it’s going to take you 10 times longer to accomplish your goals without a plan. For the last couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of planning, and I’m really starting to see the results of the work. Like, tangible results. That rocks.
4. Don’t let life become an unforgettable blur.
Meg Crofton, the President of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, greeted us at the start of the conference, and even before the sessions began reminded us to live. She talked about Disney being in the experience business, and shared stories of families making memories there. When she said, “Don’t let life become an unforgettable blur’, I’m sure I wasn’t the only blogger who had to stop for a second and reflect on the way that we are experiencing life.
As a blogger, there’s a lot of, “This would be a good post”, “Oh, I should take a picture to tweet”, “I’d better check-in on Facebook”. While I’m busy updating my status, life is happening. While I’m making sure to put the right keywords in my post, life is happening. It doesn’t matter if I have internet access or not, life is happening. I realized that as much as love social media and blogging, I need to make sure I’m living. Offline. So, I’m not as concerned about tweeting all the time. I could care less about Klout. I want to live this life, not just tweet it.
5. Being a woman is an asset, not a liability. Same for being a mom.
Going to a fancy resort and being treated like royalty (no, seriously, royalty) for being an influencer is great for the self-esteem. Heck, the event is called the Social Media Moms Celebration. I’ve been celebrating being a mom since I became one, and it’s pretty amazing to do so with a group of 150 or so other moms! Not only that, but everywhere I went in Disney World, it was clear to me that the company values women. Executive Chefs, Entertainers, the President, women were large in in charge. I felt inspired by the women that I met, and determined to encourage my friends to be fabulous and feminine…with no apologies.
The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was, by far, one of the best professional, and personal, experiences that I’ve had. I was inspired to do more than what I was doing, and I was reminded that my family, my Ayva, is why I do what I do. It really was a magical time, and it was nice to be able to bring some of that pixie dust home with me to push me to the next level.