If I get up every day with the optimism that I have the capacity for growth, then that’s success for me.
Keenan blogged the quote above the first day of 2013 and my reading of it today is timely. "If I get up every day with the optimism that I have the capacity for growth, then that's success for me." If you believe that every day you can grow, re-invent yourself, and share your best ideas and best self with the world—that is power.
Have you heard of Alt Summit? (Ha.) Even if you didn't attend, you might feel like you have with all the recaps, Smilebooth pictures, business card Instagrams, and Twittering.
For the last two weeks, I've been processing the vast amount of information I absorbed at Alt. I'm hereto forth dubbing it, Alt Summit Extreme Learning. It's basically where you feel like you learn more in three days than you can in a year. That knowledge is also compounded by extreme social interaction from 7:00 AM until late into the night, exceptional persons, fatigue fading into exhaustion, heightened sensory experiences (see: oversized swan in a Marie Antoinette tea party, a real life Clue Party, letter-pressed lunch menus, Stefan Sagmeister in the flesh, and the grandeur of The Grand America filled with beautiful, stylish bloggers from around the world and not enough time to talk to each and every one), and very high heels. It's one big resource party to end all resource parties.
Alt by definition is a blogging conference; however, if you attend thinking only about the narrow specifics of your own blog and miss meeting other bloggers and creators, you're skipping dessert. This is a group of people who travel from all over the world because they want to innovate and challenge "online journaling" into a medium of valuable curated imagery and inspiration, innovative marketing and sales strategy, unique business partnerships, and powerful community. This is a group ripe with ideas, working knowledge, and extreme passion. These are people who can't sit still, most likely have their hands in way too many pots, have too many ideas and too little time—people like you. And that's where I get to my final point. We need to meet in person. Even briefly. Meeting in person with other bloggers who are similar, and yet so different than you, is crucial. It breaks down your working-alone-at-night-with-Netflix mentality, makes you feel alive and connected; sparks your creative brain. It spawns collaborations, editorial calendars, fresh brands, possible sponsorships, and brand partnerships. It can turn what you thought was your little blog on the side into what you always wanted it to be: because you see that others are already making it happen.
And others outside of the blogging industry are finally taking notice. The bloggers we love, read, and admire are partnering with the world's biggest corporations and blowing away traditional advertising mediums. At the same time, many are bootstrapping alongside start-ups and boutique businesses and building their brands to unimaginable heights together. Powerful collaborations between creatives, creators and brands, and investors and bloggers-turned-entrepreneurs, are stirring the pot and creating huge opportunities for anyone who's willing to set aside their fear, take a risk, and start making. (Build. Make. Hack. Grow!)
Alt Summit was a reflection of the community at large; we've stepped away from the stereotypes that have hindered us; away from finicky coupon clippers, letter pressed-obsessed and quote-pinning clones into a world where careful, strategic blogging is a career, a lucrative business, a force in online content curation. We're legitimizing ourselves as valuable innovators on the internet.
*I take no personal credit for my description of the blogging industry as a whole. I'm working on my ideas and I'm *terrible* in photo booths. (See the clicker?) Smarties I'm pictured with: Jenny from The Happy Family Movement and Amy Christie from This Heart of Mine, who is also a Design Mom contributor.