Last week I had the pleasure of attending Yellow Conference in Los Angeles. Yellow is the brainchild of graphic designer/creative Joanna Waterfall – a conference for women entrepreneurs, creatives, who think differently, to “spread goodness” through all they do. I heard about the conference from my friend Cait who heard about the conference from Promise Tangeman‘s instagram. I clicked onto the Yellow Conference website and within a few minutes of scrolling thought, “This looks incredibly rad! I should go!” And then I look at the dates and thought, OF COURSE, AUGUST. Why is everything in my life happening in August? itsmybirthdayandihave7weddingstoshootand
But sometimes, crazy months happen.
On a quiet morning with Randy before one of my July weddings, I mentioned Yellow. He pulled up the website and started to scroll. “You need to go to this Jamie! Can you make the dates work?” I checked the schedule. Conference 9am to 5pm both days, dinners and hangouts into late evening. I look up flights. “Okay, if I miss this one speaker session, the last one, I can catch a flight back to YVR and be home by 11pm. Just in time for a wedding the next day in Vancouver. So I should do it?” “You should do it.”
I was, really, so glad I made the effort and invested the time to go. I met at least twenty incredible women (I try to be more quality over quantity at these sorts of events – so twenty was a big number for me!!) and was so inspired by their stories. It’s refreshing to be at a conference just for “creatives.” It wasn’t a sea of wedding photographers or just designers. There were women working at non-profits, women working as filmmakers, women as fashion designers, women as children’s pastors, women who were singer/songwriters. I loved the variety of talent represented.
During the two day-conference, the 150 women who attended were privileged to hear the following speakers (9 women, 1 brave man!) – Promise Tangeman, Sarah Dubbeldam, Allie Marie Smith, Caitlin Crosby, Carlos Whittaker, Natalie Warne, Ashley Howell, Caroline Howard, Lindsey Eryn Clark, Hannah Brencher. Every presentation was so unique. I encourage you to check out each of their websites and what they are about. If we could sit down and have coffee together, I’d give you the play-by-play of each talk, but let’s be real, it’s wedding season and I’m writing this post fairly last-minute. So I gave you hyperlinks. I’d said I’m doing pretty well.
When Cait and I walked to Smoky Hollow Studios the first morning of the conference I think we were both a little taken aback by the details of the conference. This was the first ever Yellow Conference – so there was no previous instagrams, blog posts or “recaps” to know what we were in for. Joanna and the creative team outdid themselves. WOW. Every attendee got a mini clipboard with a custom name button (instead of those stick-on name tags!) as well as a customized Yellow Conference tote bag. Inside every tote bag was goodies upon goodies. From nail polish, to coupons for online fashion stores, to notepads, to granola bars, to body scrubs, to cute hair elastics, to tea towels, to a magazine, to thank-you cards. Everything was so cute.
Just the logistical side of putting on this conference left me amazed the full two days. The team managed to sign up an incredible list of sponsors. There were sponsors for chalkboard art, sponsors for the table/chair rentals, for the candles, the flowers, the boxed water, the cactus favours (in yellow pots!), the candy bar, the breakfast bagels in the morning, the Keurig coffee and tea all day, even the food trucks they parked outside at lunch (yes, there were food trucks!) were discounted for us. It was insane.
See, look at this photo. That’s a charging station. With yellow iPhone cords. Attention to detail.
I had a little notebook with me during the conference so I wanted to share a few point-form take-aways and some of my questions to myself along the way… I hope you find the candidness helpful!
From Lindsey Eryn Clark, Be humble. Never think highly of yourself. Serve under another man’s vision. Stay committed. Learn. Always be inclusive, if somebody wants to come alongside of you, let them. Don’t underestimate what you have in your hands. Think outside the box. A dream is placed in your hands so you can fulfill it and live it. (Ask: What do I have in my hands? And how can I use it?) If your dream didn’t succeed, what would happen? How would the world look different?
The Application: Write down your vision. Every part of it. Place it somewhere you can see it. When the days get hard, you’ll remember “why” you are chasing your dream. What would happen if you used your skill for the greater good? Those who fight for and live their dream are often uncomfortable.
From Sarah Dubbeldam, Who were you as a child? Who did you want to be? What were your strengths? Who are you now? Where are you headed? (Book Recommendation: “A Return to Modesty.”) The Application. 1. What have you always cared about? 2. What have I already gained? 3. Our greatest pain is often our strongest area of purpose. What’s yours? 4. Remember your place of inspiration and guard it. 5. Who shares your passion? 6. How can you educate yourself in your desired area of influence? Remember: “The last thing people want to see is what they just saw.” (Book Recommendation: “Art of the Start: Guy Kawasaki”)
From Caitlin Crosby, When the problem is too big, we tend to ignore it. If only one person was homeless, the whole world would rush to help them. Instead, we are overwhelmed. Focus on the one. (Book Recommendation: “The Way to Love.”)
From Carlos Whittaker, Don’t have a bucket list. Do your bucket list. Do as much as you dream. Life is too big to fit in a bucket. Creatives “make” moments. (Ask: How does this relate to my career as a wedding photographer?) Be curator of moments, create an experience that encourages that. Carlos creates moments so people will live their lives instead of their lives living them. Create a moment, receive a moment and rescue a moment, every single day. We must risk shame and embarrassment to help sometimes. Slow down, look up. Open your heart, open your hands. “You’ll never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
From Caroline Howard, Carve out time for adventure. Good stories naturally come when you put other people first. 1 – You have to participate. 2 – Find your passion, what makes you excited or angry? 3 – What you have with where you are. 4 – Find your people. 5 – Take action. 6 – Talk about it.
From Hannah Brencher, Tell one true thing. Then another truth. Then another. Before you know it, your story is outside of you. The things we say we won’t do, we often have to do. The things that rub us like sandpaper are for a reason. Stories are the reason we are alive. We think our passion is elsewhere. It’s not. Stay hungry.
Hey Jamie, what fires you up? What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about raising money. Trying to live non-materialistically. Traveling. Writing. Randy. Love. Blogging. Marketing. Photography. Speaking. Empowering People. Education. Literacy. Country Music. Simple living. Contentment. Being with your spouse often. Falling in love and sharing your story. Fixing things. Justice. Business. Nature. Walks. Air and space to breathe. Eliminating stress.
Sometimes we need these reminders, don’t we? A reminder to stop, to look “up” at your life and say, is this how I’m meant to be living it? There’s much I want to do with my life. Much that fires me up. Much that I want to see changed and much that I want to inspire. I’ve been called back to my knees in prayer and reminded I can’t “make” life happen. Only God does. My part is asking in prayer and waking up every day to work hard towards the direction He has for me.