I’ve been in denial for some time but the truth is irrefutable. ProBlogger is done and dusted. That plush hotel room and big soft white bed all to myself, towering golden pyramids of pina colada macarons and cheerful Phil (sorry Hank) bringing me a perfectly made double shot cappuccino each morning is all but a distant rosy memory.
Now I am back to the clutter and the chaos and writing with children underfoot – quite literally. The two year old is currently under my desk conducting a serious debrief with her crack team of teddy, tiger and new recruit, pink rubber starfish, recently promoted from the bath (and she’s doing it like a total boss, I might add).
This was my first bite of the ProBlogger cherry and it was a hell of a meal. Being one of 700 people, all intensely learning and intensely networking was, well… intense. It charged me and drained me in equal measure and judging by the pale, dazed faces in the lifts at the end of day two, I wasn’t the only one.
It was, in a word, brilliant.
There were golden tools and insights into blogging, productivity and monetisation that were well worth the ticket price alone. There were brilliant keynotes about building community and discovering your Why – and a Why bigger than yourself – that struck a huge resonating chord. And there were women. So. Many. Women.
Glorious, gorgeous, animated women. I can’t remember the last time I was among so many. Creative entrepreneurs, personal bloggers, savvy marketeers, one woman brands and businesses. There were the seasoned bloggers trailing admirers wherever they went and there were all the newbies like yours truly, wide-eyed and lanyarded (so a word), stuffing way too many macarons into their gobs and trying not to look completely overwhelmed. There were a handful of excellent blokes too but for once they were a minority. The chicks ruled.
It’s no secret that blogging attracts women in record numbers. It is, it seems, the ultimate chick magnet. We love it. We get it. And it’s easy to see why. Blogging is freedom, flexibility and autonomy, it’s an open platform for women’s voices to be heard. We can write what we want, when we want and broadcast it to as big an audience as we want, anywhere in the world. There is huge power in that.
I know that for me, this online space I am creating is kinda thrilling, like an illicit affair. I’m reclaiming something of my own, I’m carving out time and wading my way back in. And each time I hit publish, another piece of track gets laid down.
Every woman I met at ProBlogger was doing the same. Every woman I met had a compelling story to tell. Her reason for being there, the big idea she was chasing, the vision she was seeking. These weren’t small dreams. These were the kind that scare the shit out of you, the kind that won’t leave you alone, that haunt you in your sleep and demand you do something about them.
On the wall next to my desk, I have a vision board. It’s been a yearly ritual of mine for the last ten years or so, collecting words and visuals that symbolise what I want to do, be and have in my life over the next 12 months and beyond.
There are photos of my family, happy and healthy (including one of Hank and I in India, right back at the beginning as a reminder of how far we’ve come). There are motivational words and handwritten goals. There are photos of the whitewashed villas and azure sea of Santorini and the cascading cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, sleeper trains winding their way up into snow-capped mountains, first class air travel and expansive beach houses. Family. Freedom. Travel. Art. Adventure. It’s all there.
That board is my happy place. I know it is all on its way, some of it is in fact already here, and I am working my butt off to manifest the rest.
But something I noticed after I returned from ProBlogger, was what completely dominates the top right hand corner. Photos of women. Smart, successful women; like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Maya Angelou and Nora Ephron, Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed and Clementine Ford. All creative, curious and out there doing (or who left a legacy of doing) their own awesome shit.
I realised that all these magnificent women were on my wall not only because I wanted to emulate their creative success but because I wanted to attract more of them into my life, as friends, mentors, clients and collaborators. I want to be plugged into that energy, I want to be supported and encouraged and validated by a community of change-makers and risk-takers, of kindred women who relate to my experiences and who will champion my successes. As I will champion theirs.
Well wouldn’t you know, here they come in a veritable flood, ready to share the knowledge and lead the way. The gorgeous duo Megs Limpus at Blooming Healthy and Jessie Reimers at Get a Fresh Start, the lovely Amelia Lee at Undercover Architect, the brilliant Bright-Eyed & Blog-Hearted beauties particularly my awesome accountability crew Sarah Jensen, Tahlia Meredith, Bree Hogan at Starbrite Warrior and Sarah Poppy at the Working Mums Collective, plus my long-time friend Sandra Muller at Heading for the Hills (pictured) and the fantastic online global community of ProBloggers, to name just a few.
Community and collaboration were the two biggest takeaways for me from ProBlogger 2015, and it is already happening in spades.
No wonder blogging brings in the babes.
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