Creative South 14. Just Show Up.

{ filed under Inspiration, Conferences }

Leave a comment and I will randomly pick TWO people to each get a single ticket to the conference. Workshops, Hotel and Travel not included. I will pick the winners on Thursday, March 27.

I was nearing 40. I was feeling lost, uninspired and frankly I hated my chosen profession. There were many reasons (divorce, lack of confidence, fear…) that brought me to this stage of personal and professional burnout and I actually was starting to actively work on reversing my outlook on everything but I was pretty spent and trying to find that fire that I saw so many other designers have burning inside. I wanted to have that drive that makes you not want to sleep or to get up early just to get back to the project you have been working on.

I have been working as a one-main shop for almost 15 years now. I do not know if I could imagine it any other way. But with that comes loneliness. To look back and see how much time passed without real human interaction, bouncing ideas of others or just chatting about current events. The water-cooler talk as they say. I was on what I now see as a self-imposed exile. It was time to build that life-raft and sail out into the ocean and find civilization again!

Enter Creative South 2013.

I showed up not knowing a soul (except for my good friend Ashley who made the trip with me) and feeling like I was out of my league in almost every way. Seeing these young and talented folks was somewhat daunting. But in stark contrast to what I just said above I actually am a real people person and very outgoing. Once I get out there. So I got out there. I talked to everyone I could, talking shop, talking life. Listening to speakers who were going through or had gone through the same things I have. Life happens to everyone. It's how you embrace it and tackle the problems that help define you. These were not tutorials on how to make a vintage logo badge these were tutorials on how to be a better/nicer/stronger/funnier/more humble human being. How to make real change in your life and in others using the power of design.

But more than that I gained friends. Not just "I know this guy" type of friends, but the real deal. A support network like I have never had. Conference mastermind and head honcho Mike Jones has since become family to me. After Creative South we went on to have further adventures at WMC Fest in Ohio and are already planning our trip for this year. We talk online daily and offline at least every few weeks if not more. 

I walked away from Creative South feeling energized and ready to take action. And here's the thing. I actually did take action. As soon as I got home I re-evaluated every aspect of my career and did a full overhaul. It is still a work in progress but the person that will show up to Creative South 14 is far and away different than the one that showed up last year. I am proud to be not only a sponsor of Creative South 14 but to have a table to give away goodies (maybe sell a few too). I am going to participate in LIVE Typefight even though I am such a newbie I second guess that decision every day. But you know what? Time to get out there. If you want to play with the big dogs you cant pee like puppy, right? Oh yeah… I will be throwing down on the guitar with my buddy and fellow designer FJ Ventre for the event mixer as well! 

If you want to play with the big dogs you cant pee like puppy, right?

Mike and the entire team have this unique ability to make a conference that will be packed to gills with hundreds of attendees feel like an intimate get-together at a small coffee shop. They have created a community environment that I cannot imagine another conference achieving (ok, our friends to the north at WMC Fest are pretty awesome too) and the value you get even when you include travel and hotel can not be beat. I just do not have the money to attend some of these conferences that cost 3x more than my mortgage payment.

If you are feeling like you need a head check, show up. If you are feeling on top of the world, show up. Do yourself a favor and just show up. Don't wish you had gone when you see the endless Twitter stream, photos and blog posts. Get your tickets and come hang out with us.

Creative South. Where you will arrive as friends and leave as family. 

Leave a comment and I will randomly pick TWO people to each get a single ticket to the conference. Workshops, Hotel and Travel not included. I will pick the winners on Thursday, March 27.

comments powered by Disqus