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Friday, May 6
How to Prepare for Fitbloggin: The Practical Guide for Neurotic Bloggers
Conferences scare me. And if you have signed up to attend a big conference, there have probably been moments when you’ve said the same thing as me.
WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS???
It is NOT that we want to miss the information that will be brought to us. It’s not that we don’t want to meet some of our favorite bloggers face to face. It’s not that some of us (especially the stay at homes) aren’t DESPERATE to get out of the house for a weekend without the kids. And it’s certainly not that we don’t want to go.
It’s the emotional red tape our minds put us through leading up to the conference that gets us.
A few years ago, I went to SheSpeaks, a conference to bolster Christian women who want to speak and write. And thankfully, I experienced every one of the things I will be addressing today while preparing for that conference. So you get the added bonus of learning from all my mistakes.
Perhaps you aren’t attending Fitbloggin. Don’t think this post isn’t for you. These principles can be applied to ANY new and scary situation. Especially if you are neurotic like me. M’kay? Here we go.
A practical preparation guide for neurotic bloggers.
1. The people at the conference are going to be awesome. That includes YOU. No one misses falling under the awesome umbrella. Often times we feel intimidated by the idea of seeing folks face to face. (Me meeting DIETGIRL? YIKES) Well guess what? Bloggers are people just like you. In fact, I think bloggers have a special bond unlike other people. We read about each other’s lives on a regular basis. We are this huge network of socially awkward people. (Otherwise, why would we blog?) Yes, we feel safest from behind the dim light of our laptop screens, where we have time to think about our words and responses. But this is the one time we become a united people group in one place. Like minded individuals who can talk about our experiences with folks who really understand. Focus on that. This is your chance to make new contacts and friendships that will last forever. Embrace the awesomeness that is in you.
2. DON’T HIDE!!!! When I went to my last conference, I was so intimidated by the sheer volume of people (I shouldn’t say that heading into a conference about dieting, I guess) that I panicked. I freaked. Too many faces for this Chicken Little to process. So I committed the cardinal sin of conferencing: I HID IN MY ROOM. And actually, I didn’t come out until the Trac(e)ys (2 gals named Tracy and Tracey, respectively) latched onto me and helped me feel more comfortable. They saved seats for me. The talked to me during breaks. They went outside with me when we needed a break. Why I am telling you this? Instead of hoping I’ll get another set of Trac(e)ys, this time I’m going to BE a Trac(e)y to someone. Reach out and embrace them. Include them in what I’m doing. Those girls saved my conference experience, and I want to pay it forward. I suggest you do the same.
3. When you are walking down the hallways and sitting in classes and eating meals and in general participating in conferency activities, SMILE. I don’t care if you have to slap Vaseline on your teeth to get there. (Just watch out, because Vaseline has 100 fat calories per tablespoon. So don’t swallow it. Plus you’ll get the trots. Don’t ask how I know this…) Tell yourself “I am the prettiest/handsomest person in the room, and people want to meet me.” I used to tell myself that before I lost the weight and felt like hiding. All of a sudden, I carried myself with confidence I didn’t have before. And ya know what? It WORKS. People are drawn to confidence. Even if you are a confirmed wall flower, this can work for you. Make yourself as approachable as you can. Then watch the magic happen!
4. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND PURE IN THIS WORLD: LAY OFF THE PERFUMES AND BODY SPRAYS. This is a matter of personal preference. But when folks are crammed into a room that’s 20X20, and you have put on enough perfume to take down a small elephant, I’m going to give you dirty looks. I know you like the way your perfume smells. But I might not. Plus, there are folks with allergies, and if you send someone into a sneezing fit, everyone is going to know who caused it. If you MUST wear scents, try to keep away from the flowery heavy stuff, and look for some light fruit scented sprays.
5. Don’t stay up all night talking to your roomies. Tempting as it may be, you will regret it on the last day of the conference. So will everyone around you, Mr/Mrs/Ms Grumpypants…
6. When meeting new folks, give them your blog business card. Not only will it help them remember your name, but when they go home, they can look you up and follow your blog. And we all know how exciting it is to get new followers on your blog! (Are you following ME yet? Go ahead and make my day. Become a follower.) It also helps to take lots of pictures. I’m planning on bringing my video camera for some special moments too. So don’t pick your nose in a corner or I might be sending it to America’s funniest home videos!
7. We are ALL at different points in our fitness journeys. Some have just begun, others have achieved the halfway mark, and others still are at goal and in the maintenance phase. NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR JOURNEY, what you have to say is important. Your perspective counts. And even if you aren’t in a certain place yet, or are further ahead than someone else, don’t disqualify another person’s feelings about where they are. I feel MUCH differently about my weight loss journey now than I did 3 years ago in the beginning. But that doesn’t mean the feelings I had in the beginning weren’t valid. It just means I’ve managed to work through that feeling set and moved on to the next group. There aren’t any magic answers to this fitness goal. The journey is different for everyone. No matter where you are, I’ve already decided I can learn from you. And I hope you can learn from me.