Yellow Conference 2016 Recap
August was one of the toughest months I've experienced as an entrepreneur. After taking on another off-brand project for money, that evidently failed, I started to question my path. Yellow Conference 2016 was here and even though I was excited, I was wondering if it would actually help solve all the problems I was facing. I was seeking tangle, cold-hard facts on what to do to make it through this creative lifestyle alive. I wasn’t looking to simply be inspired, but this was all shaken up when the conference began.
When Jedidiah Jenkins took the stage, I immediately noticed how at-home his energy felt. He came with a conversational and open presence, ready to share his story. As he started to talk about his journey, I noticed how much we had in common. We both previously worked a 9-5 (except he loved his and I hated mine) but felt like apart of us was dying in the monotony of each day. “Routine is the enemy of time,” he said, which perfectly verbalized what I felt during those days and is why I opted for this crazy self-employed rollercoaster I now call my life.
I knew I wanted to be “aware at every moment in my life” just like Jenkins because I knew how precious time was and how fast it goes by. In my current state of entrepreneurial woes, I began to understand that this was the good stuff. Through the lows and the highs I’m constantly forced to be 100% aware of every moment of my life. Nothing is on autopilot anymore and I began to find gratitude in that fact alone.
Not only did Jenkins quit his job, he chose to take on the adventure of biking from Oregon to Patagonia, Chile over the course of a year and write a book about his travels (due when it’s finished). No big deal. What was remarkable was his lack of doubt. He knew it was something he had to do and above all else, he didn’t want to live with the “what if” or the “I should have” when this moment passed. That was the juice for me. Following that crazy, questionable idea planted in our gut, that we often shake off saying “that’s impossible” and opt for something more practical. Maybe that’s where my problems started…
What I didn’t know was that later, Elle Luna would be speaking on the crossroads of should and must. The should’s are the responsibilities planted on us, especially as we become adults. They consist of the decisions we make based on money, what is smarter in the eyes of society, and what’s expected of us. The must is what your heart is yearning for; that weird, nagging feeling we have deep down that doesn’t make any logical sense but won’t go away.
I noticed how Jenkins never considered the should, living by the sentiment that you should “do something that scares the shit out of you.” I started thinking of all the things that literally make me nauseous like pitching to work with huge brands, launching a full-service creative studio and more. As Krysta Masciale, later told us, “if it makes you want to throw up a little, that’s what you should go toward.” Is it that simple? Just figure out what scares you and do that thing?
Jenkins gave another hint which was to “think of a time that you were happy, fulfilled and felt completely like yourself.” The foundation of what your “thing” is lie in those moments. What were you doing? Who were you around? Where were you? Then he went on to say “create experiences you want to be a part of. [Then] figure out how to contribute that feeling to the world.” I promise, my mind exploded at that moment. I thought of how our publisher and founder, Lizzy Okoro, was inspired by the many creatives she met with amazing stories and realized she could share them while including tips and tools to help other entrepreneurs. Thus, BUNCH Magazine was born. For Yellow Conference founder Joanna Waterfall, she wanted a place to gather with other women, have a community, and be inspired which led her to create this gathering. It started with identifying what they needed and then finding a way to share that with others.
“Create experiences you want to be a part of. [Then]
figure out how to contribute that feeling to the world.”
Alexis Jones, another powerful speaker, alluded to this very point by saying our greatest contribution to the world is to first heal, fix, and fulfill ourselves. Sometimes we become torn because we may really love one thing, but fail to see how it can lead to something that helps others. I believe we all have an internal desire to save the world but, as Alexis said, “wanting to change the world is often a distraction from healing our own broken world.” Once we do that, we will have an even greater gift to contribute through whichever medium flows best from us. And the cool part is that our initial desire may not always stay the same. We may go after one huge project, jump into that, and once that’s conquered, realize it’s time to move onto another new passion.
It became apparent that the answers I came to get were a lot different than I was expecting. This year's theme of grit, valor, and heart, were the answers I didn’t know I was looking for. They speak to having courage in trying times, strength of character, and operating from your truest, most authentic self. This is how you survive being a creative entrepreneur.
Tips to an awesome life by Tim Harris:
Make everyone you encounter feel welcomed and loved
Don’t let your challenges hold you back. Conquer them and push past them.
Believe in yourself
Dreams do come true!
Don’t stop believing that.
Believe in others
Empower the idea of others and never get tired of doing so.
Don’t be afraid to be happy and show it
Sometimes you need to cut loose and enjoy this moment you’re in.
You're a superhero
What is unique to only you? Use that as your power.
Don’t complain… be the light
No matter what’s happening, see and be the light.
Remember, “We are a gift.”
Quotes to THRIVE by:
“Passion is the audacity to keep getting back up.” –Alexis Jones
"Believe in your own crazy." –Alexis Jones
"Done is better than perfect." –Krysta Masciale
“There will never be a perfect time. The only perfect time is when your passion outweighs your fear.” –Jess Eckstrom
“If you do your best, people notice.” –Jedidiah Jenkins