What I Learned From Attending a Podcast Conference (and it wasn’t about podcasting)

Last week I attended the Podcast Movement Conference in California.  It was the first time I’d gone, and wasn’t sure what to expect.  As the time got closer, I wondered if I should even go at all.  It’s such a long trip, and I’ve been traveling so much lately that I’m pretty worn out.  And I’m not crazy about huge crowds either.  But in the end I decided to go.

John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield

John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield

I learned so much there – and it wasn’t really about podcasting.

First, despite the crowd, I ran into people I knew from other conferences.  Even people I had spent an entire day or days with before.  So it was easy to not only catch up on the news, but also to share from the heart.  Not just the surface, “Nice weather we’re having,” small talk.  That was completely unexpected, and a blessing.

Second, I met some people on the first day who I really connected with and saw again and again.  We got to share what we’d learned and how we were experiencing the conference.  That was fun.

This was one of the few conferences I went to where I didn’t feel like shrinking into the background, like I was less-qualified or less-capable than many of the attendees.  Not that there weren’t some really accomplished people there, like Pat Flynn, Michael Stelzner, John Lee Dumas, and Amy Porterfield.  But I’ve grown so much in my own sense of self and who I am in God’s eyes that I didn’t feel intimidated or inferior.  I could appreciate their accomplishment, and it didn’t take away from mine or how I felt about myself.  As I said, I’ve often felt that way in the past, so I saw how much I’ve grown.  I guess I'm finally getting comfortable in my own skin.

I also saw that when I seek to give and serve, rather than to get something, I have a WAY better time.  Every day I would pray to be a blessing, to simply connect with the person or persons God wanted me to meet.  And every day I met some pretty interesting people.  It was an adventure to see what would happen.

I talked with a guy named Travis who’s trying to balance his time between YouTube and a podcast, and maybe make them work together.  I met a man from Germany who’s trying to get men and women together to talk about technology.  I met a woman who’d lost more than 100 pounds by overhauling her diet.  Now she’s lifting weights and in incredible shape.  I thoroughly enjoyed each conversation.  By going with no agenda, I was able to be fully present with each person.  Something I haven’t done before – at least that successfully.

When there were groups of people standing around talking, I actually went up to them and introduced myself.  We had some great discussions about leadership, science, teaching, health, and more.  Even though it felt a bit scary for me, I did it.  And was rewarded with even more great discussions.

I visited briefly with Cliff, from whom I took a podcasting course that helped me launch Finding Your Groove.  And I had dinner with my podcasting coach and producer, Ed.  Two highlights of my week in California.

Cliff talking about taking your podcast to the next level.

Cliff talking about taking your podcast to the next level.

Relationships old and new were what it was all about.  And though I did learn something about podcasting, what was more important was this reminder.  It IS all about the relationships.  Business is personal.  And relationships are what hold this world together.

Maybe you don’t podcast, or even know what that is.  Maybe you’ve never heard of the people who are my virtual mentors.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that they’re people.  People who love, serve, and care deeply about what they do and who they do it for.  Just like you.

Who’s in your circle?  Who can you love and serve?  What relationships do you have that you can pour yourself into, and who invest in your life?  Why not get in touch with them today and say “thank you”.  And share with the community about what relationships are important to you.

New York Skyline on my way home

New York Skyline on my way home.

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  • Great insights Kathleen. And so encouraging to hear how you have changed since starting on the podcasting and blog journey.