The Best Highlights from Attending Yellow Conference 2018!
My love for Yellow Conference has been blooming for years and I’ve never even attended (seriously, here’s an article about me writing about how much I want to go to Yellow Conference). This year I finally purchased an early-bird ticket and booked a flight so there was no turning back. One of my new mantras is to book the ticket anyway. Life will always be busy so sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to go.
So I headed to the conference solo (it wasn’t as hard as I thought!!) and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. This year’s conference theme was “ownership”, something I was happy to dive deeper into after taking the plunge to work freelance full-time just a couple months prior. I walked in ready to listen and ready to take action - and it was pretty dang magical.
Walking into the the light flooded Hudson Loft, I felt warmly welcomed by everyone I met. Creative conferences can end up being rooms full of incredibly stylish “cool girls” (I feel nerdy even typing that but I digress) and it’s easy to feel out of place, not as successful, not as whatever. Joanna (the founder of Yellow Co) acknowledged those feelings and told us she felt some of them herself. It suddenly gave the room permission to let go and just show up as ourselves to soak up the goodness.
Before even getting to the speakers, the swag bag was so impressive and full of purpose driven brands! I discovered two organic beauty products I literally will be repurchasing as soon as they run out [see here and here]. There was also a do-good market place downstairs that introduced me to some amazing businesses that are giving back in big ways and some delicious sponsors to fuel us up!
Every single voice brought a fresh perspective and energy to the bright, illustrative stage that either brought me to tears, broke down a personal barrier, or inspired me to get moving on my professional dreams. The space was curated with incredible attention to detail - they even had a quiet room for introverts to recharge. Very appreciated.
Okay, now there were a lot of badass, amazing, inspiring speakers who shared so many great tactical tips and emotional inspiration. BUT - one of the downfalls with conferences can be walking out with a notebook full of amazing notes that then never get cracked back open to implement. I recently attended a workshop with Shannan Scott (will be blogging it later this month!) and she did this awesome exercise at the end where you write out your favorite takeaways and to-dos on a paper at the very end of the workshop. I decided to put this in practice when looking back at my experience at Yellow Conference too. The theme was ownership, so you’ll noticed a lot of overlapping thoughts with unique perspectives.
[Installations by The Shift Creative and Hanna Snyder]
A branding expert and a bold personality, Alison started her own show, The Alison Show - an audacious move on its own. She spoke about the importance of owning how you spend your time and feeling awesome exactly as you are. She made us get out of our chairs (and comfort zones) to dance and be silly - something that’s easy for entrepreneurs to overlook when they’re constantly glued to their laptops.
Takeaway: Life is a lot more powerful when you’re EXCITED to show up as yourself - and that excitement and self-love is contagious to others.
My to-do: Check myself in the moments when I’m worried of what people might think of me before doing something. Challenge myself to do it anyway - my *only* responsibility is to show up as myself.
This woman is a powerhouse - she’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but she’s a skilled DISRUPTOR of industries. Disrupting industries was a unique concept to me but is really a simple idea centered around asking a single question, “How can I change an industry that has been doing things one way forever and offer a different, better way?”. It’s a framework for solving problems and I left her talk feeling so inspired to pay closer attention to problems that might need solving. She also talked about how she’s uses advertising campaigns to go viral and get her businesses noticed. If you’re interested in that kind of thing, she has a book coming out early next year.
Takeaway: Get intentional and comfortable about disrupting, not copying what’s trending in your industry.
My personal to-do: Look for ways to disrupt the industries I use/interact with to make lives easier. #dreamingofproductideas
Candice is a chef turned food/wellness blogger and author. She shared how she found true success by getting away from what she likes to refer to as “basic bitch content”. You know, the content that’s on trend and shared the same way over and over again. I’m always craving deeper content so her message really punched me in the gut and got me thinking “How can I create deeper content?” and “How can I encourage the growth of deeper content in my industry”. She also has a great podcast for creatives called Wabi Sabi!
Takeaway: Give yourself permission to be vulnerable, embrace what makes you unique because that’s how you cut through the noise when everyone else is worried about being like everybody else - that can only get you so far for so long.
My Personal To-do: Get vulnerable and honest on social media more (yikes).
I love that she talked about how people tried to put her in a box because she didn’t have the natural talent or innate bravery that others did - but she did it anyway. People will always try to put you into a box, but don’t let them. She was the girl who couldn’t kill a spider, but she ended up in Africa changing lives and facing danger at her door and welcoming it in for lunch (literally). What’s braver than living outside your comfort zone when it means you get to live in your purpose?
Takeaway: Don’t let people’s negative opinions stop you - especially when it feels like a calling.
My personal to-do: Hearing no doesn’t mean you stop.
Her gentle energy made me feel so inspired as an introvert. It reminded me that quiet people can still command a room and bring amazing energy to touch people’s lives just by embracing who they are deeply. She was lovely. And she was also a girl who was severely bullied as a child for looking different than others but found freedom in deciding she was beautiful as she is. And now she’s a model booking national commercials, so goes to show you how little people’s opinion of you matters. Owning your own beauty and not feeling less than when admiring someone else’s is a powerful thing.
Takeaway: Beauty is subjective, but is permeates when you believe in it.
To-do: Own your power of being an introvert - it’s really a gift of getting to perpetually surprise people.
“Writer’s block isn’t writer’s block, it’s life block.” Allison said this and the room went quiet. I think it felt like she gut punched the entire room with a truth bomb and I very quickly realized I couldn’t argue with what she said. After hearing her story, I immediately put her books into my Amazon cart because this woman knows how to tell her truth in a way that can’t be ignored. I was so inspired to pick back up a pen and I’m already better for it.
Takeaway: Put the damn pen to paper and write.
To-do: Write to feel better. Write to stay inspired. Write to tell your story, even if no one reads it. You’ll feel better and you’ll be better.
And that was just a handful of speakers! There were several panels and lots of amazing entrepreneurs who spoke about the power of using their businesses for good - helping to solve problems, helping to give back. As someone who loves to work with purpose-driven businesses and values creating an intentional business herself, this conference was a much-needed lesson in staying in my lane and not get distracted by what’s trending.
By the end of the weekend I was filled with energy to tackle new ideas and felt so grateful to have met so many kind and inspiring people. If you’re ever on the fence about going to an event solo - let this be your encouragement to go anyway! I viewed this solo event as just another example of taking ownership over the career I want and I already can’t wait for next year’s event!
Have you ever been to Yellow Conference? Would you consider going next year?