As I look forward to next month’s 2nd Type A Mom Conference, I realize how much has changed for me since I attended last year. I have definitely matured, both as a person and a blogger. I have different hopes and more realistic expectations from this year’s conference, and I’m more comfortable than ever in my own skin.
Last year my one and only hope for attending Type A Mom was to answer the burning question: how can I make blogging my profession? At that time as a blogger, I was consumed with analyzing my site’s statistics, pursuing brand relationships, making the “right” connections, and somehow securing a place of influence – and profit – for myself online. It all seemed so possible, if only someone would point me in the right direction. I pinned my hopes on finding that someone – or many someones – at Type A Mom.
I have to tell you, I left the conference disappointed. I had more questions than answers by the time I got home, and I felt more confused than ever.
My mistake was walking in so single-minded. My mistake was hoping for a clear-cut, bullet list of Here’s How You Do It from the speakers and panels. I do remember being inspired and impressed by many things I heard, but since they weren’t what I was looking for, I didn’t give the experiences much credence.
I also went to the conference hoping to make an impression. I wanted to schmooze with some of the Big Timers and prove (to myself as much as anyone else) that I could swing with the “in” crowd. I did end up in a Big Timer’s orbit at one point, having direct conversation and hanging out for some time.
But again, I was left disappointed. It became apparent that it was less about getting to know me than about having a warm body nearby, and it didn’t take much to realize I was only being seen in vague silhouette. I’ve seen this person a few times since that day, and I don’t think she even remembers having met me. It hurt my feelings at the time, but now I understand.
My mistake was to think that because we read about people’s lives online, we know them. Really know them. My mistake was to overestimate my importance and underestimate this woman’s own personal struggle at the time we met. My mistake was to look for something from her – some validation that I was cool enough to talk to – instead of offering myself to her as a friend she could have used at the time.
My mistake was also to buy into the misconception that there are Big Timers online. Celebrities, if you will.
In the year since my first Type A Mom Conference, I’ve let go of my worries over stats, brand relationships, influence, and even making money as a blogger. I’ve settled into a place where I like my blog – really like my blog; it feels like home. I write out my thoughts, share my perspective, take opportunities with companies as they arise. And what’s crazy is that since I “let go,” more opportunities have come my way (and some with financial compensation).
I also let go of the idea of Big Timers online. True, there are bloggers and social media agents whom I respect and admire, but it’s more for the work they do and not necessarily the personality they portray. And if I choose to seek them out, it will be as a peer and not as a fan. We really are JUST PEOPLE, after all.
My changing perspectives online have been a reflection of growth and maturing in my personal life as well. Nearing my late 30’s, I think I’m finally learning the importance of making myself emotionally available for improvement, relationships, and change. I’m learning how to offer myself to others, and allow the right people and experiences to find me. I had hoped that fog would clear much earlier in my life, but it’s worth it to finally be understanding and living my priorities.
This year as I walk into the Type A Mom Conference, I will be opening myself up to inspiration, guidance, and learning on anything that resounds with who I am. I won’t be necessarily seeking an answer to one question, I will let myself discover and be enlightened by the many voices I hear. I will also be walking in a more complete person, without the need for someone to fill in a quality I perceived was “missing” from me (like “coolness,” or like-ability). I certainly don’t have EVERYTHING figured out, but I’m closer than I was twelve months ago, and oh, how grateful I am for the change.