I can do hard things.
I remember the Being Boss girls, Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson saying this on their popular podcast that I frequently listen to, and it has stuck with me. Even though I had been to Designer Vaca in 2015, I still had some apprehension about going again this year. I was worried about spending the money on the trip when I had expenses for kids at home, worried about whether or not I would fit in (I am older than the average attendee) and then, if I really deserved it.
Yes, as terrible as that sounds, my frugal-scarcity-mindset at times plays tricks on me, and I felt like maybe my business wasn’t big-enough yet to warrant another learning trip. And maybe it wouldn’t be as good for me the second time around.
But because of my husband’s encouragement and deciding to take my youngest daughter with me (Take Your Kids to Work Day for ninth graders coincided with my trip, funny enough) I pushed myself to go – to do the hard things. And am I ever glad I did!
There was no sophomore slump for me at this year’s Designer Vaca.
If you haven’t heard of it before, Designer Vaca is the brainchild of Promise Tangeman and Alyssa Yuhas. This was the 5th year that they have been gathering designers together at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs for a little bit of learning, respite and networking. The speakers last year were amazing and this year certainly didn’t disappoint either.
The first session opened with Carlos Whittaker, a thought leader, blogger, musician and communicator from Georgia. His delivery and enthusiasm was both hilarious and contagious, and I found myself immediately drawn in. His life’s work is based on Making Moments (also the title of his book) – choosing to live ordinary moments in an extraordinary way. I found myself tearing up as he recounted a story about sharing a chance moment with a homeless man named Danny, and inviting him to sing with him, and how that impacted his life.
Listening to Carlos, I immediately got out of my own head. I actually felt sort of stupid for being so much in my own head. Practicing mindfulness is something that I am constantly working on, as so many years of concern and worry over things that didn’t matter has been something that I want to leave behind. And immediately I realized that I made the right decision to attend Designer Vaca –
I do deserve it.
Later that night, I was blown away to learn that the next speaker was world-renowned photographer Jasmine Star! My years working as a makeup artist, and specifically in the photography department at Langara College, gave me an appreciation for all photographers – and Jasmine is known as one of the best (I have been reading and referencing her blog for years too). What I didn’t know is that she has been slowly pivoting her business away from photography and towards helping other entrepreneurs. She is so smart and connected and real about it all – I came away with a lot of tools that I can use and implement in my own changing business.
And the last morning, yet another surprise on the agenda, was the Being Boss girls. Being a fan-girl already, I have that funny feeling like I already know them well. I appreciate their business-bestie-banter coupled with real-life action steps and musings. Kathleen was sweet enough to give my daughter Chloe some real poignant words of advice about being yourself and not to worry to much about what others think as you move through high school. Sometimes hearing that from someone other than your mom means a lot!
So my sophomore year at Designer Vaca did not disappoint. In fact, I feel more clarity in the action steps that I have learned to move forward. Sometimes just getting out of your daily routine and taking time to reflect can be the best thing for your business. I have been to many conferences over the years, with some being as large as 700-800 people to others with attendance topping over 3000, some being great and others not so much.
Every time you make an investment in yourself and your business, there is always that internal pressure to a) learn something and b) to come away feeling good. The organizers and attendees at this conference are inclusive and very friendly and any of those ‘weirdo-fraudy’ feelings I had going in quickly dissipated.
Last, I was so thankful to have Chloe with me, and witnessing her seeing all of these cool women killing it in their businesses. She said to me on the way home, “Mom, thanks for taking me. I think I had the best Take-Your-Kid-To-Work-Day of anyone in my class!”
And I have to agree with her. It was the best for me too.