In some ways, my experience at Alt Summit in San Francisco was very much what I expected: lots of inspiration, lots of business cards/usernames, and lots of goodies! You could tell that everyone was enthusiastic, and I appreciated the community-focused energy that everyone brought to the table.
Like Andie, I found that I was just as worried about representing our business, felt the need to reach further than I could, and was a little drained by the end. A week later I still feel like I'm absorbing the experience! But there are a few stand-out moments that convinced me, yet again, that Andie and I have something very, very special in running Assemble.
Lessons in Running a Creative Business
Mariam Naficy said that in order to sustain creative energy, we must rely on our conviction and courage. These are things no one else can give us--they come from within. I can be a better business owner/mother/friend if I stick to what I believe is true.
Wendy McNaughton reminded me to "Focus on the work, not the showcase." Social media is a large part of what we do as bloggers and artists sharing our views, but at the core of our business is what we create, not who we show it to. This helps me see that the process of making things and evolving is more important than constantly asking for outside validation.
Mike McCue insisted that "Passion and drive aren't coachable. The rest is." He was referring to hiring your team. In Assemble's case, the team consists of only Andie and myself. But how lucky are we to have coordinating drive and passion?? If it were a matter of shaking a few more hands or going over the day with Andie, I'd pick my partner every time. And that should never be undervalued.
I went to San Francisco with the inkling that Assemble, as well as my personal life, could benefit from a deeper sense of self-worth. I am amazed that this "inkling" is actually a loud and clear voice saying:
• Andie and I ARE the authorities on our own creative paths.
• Assemble represents an avenue for success.
• The journey IS the reward.