Alt Summit Recap: Be Brave

It’s been almost two weeks since I returned from Salt Lake City, where I was fortunate to attend the grand dame of all blogger conferences, Altitude Summit. You may remember that I made a trip to NYC this past summer for Alt Summit, but the conference in Salt Lake City is the flagship conference.

Alt SLC 2014 Friday Lunch

Image via Justin Hackworth.

It always takes me a week or so to process something as big as Alt. It’s one of those buckle-your-seatbelts kind of rides where you meet more fantastically talented people than you thought possible to exist in the world, you have conversations with sponsors and brands that leave you giddy, and a whole new universe of possibility seems tangible and within your grasp.

Alt Summit SLC is 72 hours crammed full of stunning and elaborate decor, insightful, witty and often hilarious presentations by speakers that are your beloved heros, parties more fabulous than you can even fathom, fashion for DAYS, and business cards that leave you speechless with delight. It’s….. a lot. In the most amazing way possible. But still, a lot.

Alt SLC 2014 Thursday Party

Alt Reps: Queens of the Photobooth. Image via Justin Hackworth.

Both times I’ve gone to Alt, I’ve come home wound so tightly with inspiration, I wanted to tackleeverysingleprojectlikeRIGHTNOW. And then I go to bed the first night home… and wake up feeling completely overwhelmed. It’s a self imposed inundation, but it’s knocked me for a loop twice now. I muddle through a few days, not really knowing how to take the first step. And then slowly, one little insight at a time, the brilliant ideas begin to organize themselves and I start to see the path forward.

I’ve been a little stuck for a few months, not really knowing how to move forward. Minnow + Co. is so dear to me and so unexpected, it is everything I’ve ever dreamed of for a “job”… and that leaves me a little overwhelmed by the enormity of what feels like a wide expanse of uncharted waters in front of me. As I made my way out to Alt, (travel delays meant I had PLENTY of time to ruminate) I had a feeling I would know one way or another what the next step would be.

Alt Summit, for me, reinforces every instinct I have about the work I do. Being there, surrounded by my tribe, reassures me that I’ve found THE CAREER – the one I didn’t believe existed. The one I’ve been looking for my whole life, the thing I want to be “when I grow up.” A career that gives me chance to take risks and be OK with failing. A job fueled by passion. A job where I’m able to not only try out my own crazy ideas, but collaborate with other astonishingly talented bloggers on even bigger crazy ideas. No more trying to find a “grown up job” that would elicit approval from certain conservatives close to me. Screw that. This is IT for me.

Alt Design Summit

Image via Justin Hackworth.

Alt Summit also gives me concrete, irrefutable evidence that I can be completely myself, guard down, unbridled, unfiltered… and people other than my mother will be pretty excited about it. For someone who spent a large chunk of her life trying to fit in, blend seamlessly, bend to fit into certain sized boxes, and form myself to please others, this is a revelation unto itself. From my two Alt Summit experiences, I’ve learned that not only do I have the gumption to walk up to my blogging heros, smile fearlessly, pull out my card and introduce myself, but I also have a knack for introducing my friends to people who I think will appreciate their talents and skills. Every personality test I’ve ever taken has very quickly pronounced me a “Connector” and it’s completely true. I adore connecting people. It makes me a great cocktail party date. And it makes Alt Summit a blast for me.

Alt-SLC-Business-Cards

The business cards of Alt SLC 2014, A.K.A. – network yo face off.

If Alt NYC is where I found my tribe, Alt SLC is where all of the dots connected, all of the pieces clicked into place and I realized that the only thing holding me back from sailing this self-made, minnow-shaped ship was fear. And who has time for that? Not I. From Jenner Brown‘s session on video, a few key pieces of advice remain seared in my brain: be bold, be brave, be authentic, and be original. For me, this is everything I needed to hear and take to heart. It’s time.

I arrived home from SLC with a handful of huge, life-altering decisions awaiting my return. I don’t sit in contemplation well – I fidget, I fuss, I get angry. I just want decisions MADE. I don’t like limbo. But I am so, so glad that I listened to the little inner voice that told me to hold off making any decisions until I saw what Alt Summit needed to show me.

Be-Bold

And how did the chips fall? Well, some changes are in the wind. (Expect mischief.) First, we’re selling our house. Who wants to buy an adorable, fully renovated cape-style house in the seacoast region of New Hampshire? (Featured on DIY Network, no less.) Bring on the race to get it ready to list, the constant need to CLEAN UP THOSE LEGOS, the making of cookies so the house smells good for open houses, the offers, the counter offers, the agonizing wait. And then, off into the next chapter and the next change.

Alt Summit has played a tremendous part in my life as a blogger. I can’t stress this enough. So much so that I wrote five separate posts of gratitude after NYC. This time, I had the absolute honor of serving as an Alt Rep alongside MJ, Paige, and Emily, which was a lovely experience from start to finish. Guess what? Four women really can share one bathroom and still be ready for Alt Summit by 7am.

Alt SLC 2014 Saturday Morning

MJ, Emily and me. We were already missing Paige. Image via Brooke Dennis.

To everyone I met in Salt Lake City – thank you. You were the tiny points of light that have kept me lit me up inside for two weeks now. I’m still working on reaching out to all of you. To the speakers, I took as much of your wisdom, your experience, your candor, your wit and your hilarity as I possibly could home with me to keep me company in moments of self-doubt – thank you for being warm, welcoming, and authentic. To the sponsors who supported Alt Summit – thank you for the gorgeous displays, the out of this world lounges, and your true understanding of us bloggers. To Gabrielle and Sara, I adore you both to the moon and back for what you’ve given to bloggers like me. A thousand thanks.

Alt SLC 2014 Saturday Morning

The Alt Rep Debrief. Image via Brooke Dennis.

PS – I’m not done talking about Alt Summit yet. I…ahem….well, I’m going to a post on what I wore to Alt. Yes, even non-fashionistas like myself can write about fashion. And there may be more. But I needed to get this post out first.

xoxo
Ellen

9 Responses to “Alt Summit Recap: Be Brave”

  1. MJ

    How lucky am I to go on this fab journey with you! Miss your spirit. Until the next time. xoxo

    Reply
  2. molly

    So excited for you! This stirs up all kinds of excitement and emotion that I felt from just that one day at Alt NYC. I can’t imagine the goodness that comes from SLC. (SOMEday or next year, I hope!) I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for you. I’m cheering you on behind the scenes!

    Reply
  3. Shalagh Hogan (Say Shay-la)

    I followed MJ’s boost to your post and am glad I did because I have a feeling that what you’re saying needs to be what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying? Your clear writing and enthusiastic honesty assure me of what I have already known. I am headed to an Alt. Meanwhile, I’m kicking it with the authentic, brave, bold, and original. Good luck selling your house!
    Love,
    Shalagh (say Shay-la)

    Reply
  4. Aaron Cummings, SLC

    Was this your first time to SLC? How did you like it?
    As you are selling your house how about moving here?

    Reply
    • Minnow + Co.

      It was my first time to SLC, Aaron! It was a great trip. The Grand America is spectacular, the mountains are gorgeous and there are a TON of great restaurants! I’d visit again in a heartbeat! For now, we’re staying in NH, but as my husband is a former competitive snowboarder, the allure of powder is pretty strong. :) Thanks!

      Reply

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