The conference is not the boss of you.

Listening to the Legal "LAWsome" Panel at Blissdom

Yesterday in her session about writing what you’re living, Annie Downs reminded us: “It’s your internet!” and “They’re not the boss of you!” As I thought about how to be a perfect conference attender (or not), it occurred to me that the conference is not the boss of me, either. (And for the 99% of you who aren’t here with me this weekend, whatever event you might attend isn’t the boss of you.)

I am far from a perfect conference attendee, despite the fairly high number of conferences I’ve attended over the past few years. I’ve hidden in my room. I’ve forgotten my business cards. I’ve cried when I met famous blogger people. And it was still okay. So, in case you’ve ever felt pressure at a conference or a retreat or a convention, I wanted to tell you something.

It’s okay if you don’t attend every session.
It’s okay if you skip the keynote to call your husband.
It’s okay if you sneak away to take a nap.
It’s okay if you order room service.
It’s okay if you make a second trip to the taco bar.
It’s okay if you stand in line for an hour to meet your favorite speaker.
It’s okay if you cry when you finally get to meet that speaker.
It’s okay if you take home every piece of swag you’re offered.
It’s okay if you leave all the swag with your roommate.
It’s okay if you take notes on paper.
It’s okay if you take notes on your iPad.
It’s okay if you take mental notes.
It’s okay if you hand out all your business cards.
It’s okay if you forget your business cards in your room.
It’s okay if you don’t have business cards.
It’s okay if you tweet soundbites from every session.
It’s okay if you forget what “hashtag” even means.
It’s okay if you schedule posts through your entire trip.
It’s okay if you don’t post for three weeks after the conference.
It’s okay if you make 157 new best friends.
It’s okay if you make one new friend.

You get the picture, right? Whatever you need to do to make this conference (retreat, seminar, convention, annual meeting, vacation) work for you – do it. It’s okay.

What’s your favorite part of attending conferences, seminars, retreats, etc.?

This post is part of 31 Days of Giving Up on Perfect. All month long, I’ll be writing about my fight against perfectionism and my quest to get on with life, already. For more 31 Days, visit The Nester.

Comments

  1. This is good stuff, Mary. So glad I got to see you this weekend! Only wish we’d had more time to chat. Or that I hadn’t been distracted by the food. :)

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Who would’ve thought hotel food would be good enough to distract, right? And yes, I wish we’d found more time to talk. Still, some time is better than none, and I’m glad we got to hang out for a bit!

  2. Absolutely! I go to 4-5 conferences a year. It can be exhausting sitting and listening for 3 days, so I recommend taking frequent breaks. I love meeting my favorite bloggers too. Oh, and room service is a necessity! :)

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Breaks are good! So is remembering that it will take a while to process, just like my friend Dana mentioned here!

  3. Allume was my first conference. I LOVED meeting other bloggers, hearing other people’s stories, and being encouraged that it’s okay to be a smaller blogger! I was overwhelmed with information by Saturday afternoon, though. I am still processing!

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Oh yes, I am definitely still processing! It seems to take weeks at the least after a good conference – at least for me it does!