(Plus: The BEST Way to Get Together with Fellow Entrepreneurs)
A Personal Story to Prove My Point
My dear, long-time (twenty five years long) friend and I both texted each other out of the blue one weekend. We hadn’t seen in each other in far too long and we wanted to get together. She, coincidentally, wanted to see me too because she had big news to share. She couldn’t wait until we saw each other to share this big news, so she texted a photo to me: a gorgeous sonogram sharing the news of the little, itty-bitty, blob of a human growing inside her.
In the moment, I felt thrilled and happy for her and told her so. I really did feel these feelings, but I was immediately distracted by one of my three children screaming about something. I put the phone down to take care of whatever chaos was brewing and the happy thoughts and feelings quickly dissipated. My friend and I each went on with our days and eventually (days later) made plans to get together, in real life.
A week later, we met up at a local coffee shop. We hugged and sipped our artfully crafted lattes and swapped a slew of stories, catching each other up on everything that has been going on in our lives. At some point, she told me that she was wearing clothes to show off her 18-week bump. Since it was winter at the time, she was all bundled up in a large coat and cozy scarf when we walked in so I hadn’t seen it.
She gently tugged her shirt so it fit snug against her little bump. That’s when I saw it. And that’s when I felt it.
In an INSTANT, I had tears coming out of my eyes, and I felt chills up my spine. As a mama of three boys, seeing her bump prompted the last six years of emotions and experiences to flash through my body uncontrollably. The joy, the anxiety, the miracles, the tears, the baby toes, the c-section scars, the sounds of their first cries, how quickly they grow, it all came back – BOOM – like magic.
Virtual has its place and purpose in our lives, but no text message, no FaceTime session, no phone call could replace what I felt sitting beside her for just a few moments that morning.
THIS IS THE POWER of being with each other in real life.
This particular comparison between virtual and in person communication is a personal example. The same idea applies to your professional life. Conferences, retreats, and camps are opportunities to find this kind of magic for your business life.
The Love-Hate of Virtual
We are social beings. We crave interaction with other creative ladies the same way we need food, water, and shelter. Yes, virtual applications have come a long way. However, being together in real life has a greater impact on our ability to truly connect and stay in the moment. We can hear tone of voice and read body language without the delays and skips created by technology (or worse, the flatness of an email or text). Emotions are more palpable and digestible when we are sitting next to each other. In person, we are more satisfied, have a greater level of closeness and interconnectedness, and are likely to share more of ourselves. 1
Entrepreneurs have a love-hate relationship with social media and virtual tools. We love the ease of use and the broad reach. We hate the time we spend thumbing our phones and straining our eyes hunched over a laptop. We’re often home working alone. Our teams are often virtual. Even with enormous followings online, we still experience true loneliness. Relationships in an online environment simply do not develop as much as a face-to-face relationships 1.
Online relationships deepen significantly after the two people meet face to face or talk on the phone. In most cases, online relationships are in addition to previously developed face-to-face relationships. As in the story of my friend’s baby bump, we already had a deeply rooted relationship. Years had passed and the text messages served as a way for us to connect. But, the true depth of our interaction came to fruition when we were together in person. In our professional lives, we may be able to engage with our audience or find some inspiration from another, but in order to really seal the deal in a relationship, we must get together.
The Creative Conference Solution
The good news is that many businesses have created a solution in the form of creative conferences, retreats, and camps that offer a mix of professional development, inspiration, implementation time, and even the often-coveted rest and relaxation.
The plethora of events offer something for everyone. You can find large-scale, inspirational conferences by Tony Robbins and Rachel Hollis. Or maybe you’re looking for something more intimate like an overnight camp with intimate break-out sessions (hint hint: Camp Climb). Events specialize in content including social media, specific types of bloggers, meditation or mindset, and business strategy. They are popping up all over the world from the tiniest town in Iowa (hint again: Camp Climb) to the glamorous beaches of Bali. This is all proof that in the age of advanced technology, interpersonal connections have taken a hit, and businesses are investing in bringing real life community and face to face interactions back.
Find the PERFECT Event for You!
Founders In Real Life is the place to go to search for live, in-person events geared towards female creative entrepreneurs. FIRL has over 40 events listed already and more events are listed each week. It’s the one place you can go to plan out all the creative conferences you’d like to attend this year. Search events by location, price tag, size, audience, content, and more!
When setting your intentions and goals for the year, make community and in person connection part of your priorities. In person events, like Camp Climb and all those listed on Founders In Real Life, have proven to inspire powerful action for entrepreneurs like you.
Maybe you won’t end up tearing up over your latte, but getting together with your mentors and peers will surely add spark and new life to your business!
Passionate Writer: Krystle Stevenson
founder/creator of Founders In Real Life