Last year was my first Dad 2.0 experience. I was clueless, overwhelmed and – in some ways – defeated, before the event ever began.

See, it was my first time ever organizing a robust sponsorship engagement for an event of this caliber. And, I didn’t have much experience to go on, because it was was first ever blogging, social media, online influencer conference – ever. I had experience planning events, pretty big events at that, but not something on this scale with so many moving parts and agendas. And, my team got started late, so I could hear the clock ticking time away as new stresses got added to the pile.

And then, it was time.
And I knew I wasn’t ready.

I was excited. And nervous. And worried that I wasn’t going to do it right. But if life and it’s engagements have taught me anything, it’s that at some point you just have to poo or get off the pot. And there was no getting out of this one!

It took a lot of deep breaths.
And a lot of coffee.

And a lot of depending on my teammates to help smooth out the wrinkles.

But it was also trusting in the easy friendliness of the group. After a few spontaneous and encouraging conversations, I didn’t have to force my smile. It was a genuine auto-response to the kindness of the event admins, the fun and creativity brought by other sponsors and the (can I say this without sounding like a brown nose) coolness of the attendees.

The whole experience – even the lessons learned – ended up being such a positive impact…on my perspective as someone who works hard to represent a Brand and work with online influencers, and also as someone who cultivates her own small online garden.

And it reminded me of a conversation I had with someone in late 2014…one of those complete strangers you meet thanks to Twitter.

You know how that goes. I liken Twitter to the African watering hole where all the animals come together. If you keep an open mind, you can learn a lot.

We met during a chat and her attitude and experiences inspired me so much. After the chat, I DM’d her and asked for a bit of time to pick her brain. Such a lovely soul, who strongly encouraged me to seek out my own kind by attending local social media networking events, and if I could swing it, by attending a conference.

She also told me…

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Take the time.

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Don’t be/feel alone.

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Develop new relationships.

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Keep learning.

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Find your tribe.

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Invest in yourself.

Things I would have told anyone else, but things I couldn’t hear from myself. I had to hear them from someone else. And in this case, I believe the key was that she was working full time for a Brand and – at the same time – was investing in her passions via freelance opportunities (like me). And on top of that, she was an engaged mom to a boy who needed extra time (like me).

So, I listened.

2015 has come and gone, and I jumped on the opportunity to attend as many gatherings as I could make happen, whether they were small workshops, extravagant conventions or events where I was representing the Brand.

I haven’t seen it all, but I have certainly seen more.

I’ve got a different perspective now, and I’m WAY MORE comfortable with what’s ahead. I can’t tell you how excited I am about Dad 2.016 now that I’m at this place. This event, the people who run it and the people who attend it, make it worthwhile in so many ways. Only two more days to go…

Are you familiar with the Dad 2.0 event?

You Should Be

What events do you find worthwhile? I’d love to hear what you think!

I’m on the path of growth, moving forward, taking my Twitter-friend’s words to heart. There are so many opportunities out there to inspire and challenge us to greatness!