A couple weeks ago I settled in my seat for an early morning cross country flight to LAX, fully preparing to fall asleep to arrive in Los Angeles rested and ready for a week at ALT Summit with fellow creative and design-appreciative entrepreneurs. Even though I love learning to grow my business, appreciate good design, and wish for more time to exercise my creative side, I never thought this conference was for me. A friend and mentor told me she loved going to ALT because it always sparked creativity. Not only did I rediscover my creativity but I learned some other things about myself during my time at ALT. Here’s a look at the 7 lessons I learned during my 7 days in Palm Springs while at ALT.
7 Lessons Learned During 7 Days in Palm Springs for ALT Summit
Say Yes Even When You Want to Say No
When I left my full-time teaching job, I instantly became an entrepreneur – the kind that’s supposed to thrive at ALT but found myself questioning why I was really going. A week in Palm Springs with blue skies and warm weather? Most would jump at the chance but sometimes life throws a curveball that makes it tempting to say no. In this case the something was my own self-doubt combined with my mother-in-law’s emergency knee surgery.
It seemed like I was looking for an excuse not to go to a place that would put me outside my comfort zone but when I posed the idea of cancelling my trip to my husband, he said, “Why wouldn’t you go? We’ll be fine.”
I know from experience that it’s in moments of discomfort that I tend to learn the most and ALT was no exception. Even though the unfamiliarity seemed daunting, the chance to meet new people in a new venue at a conference that was new to me was just what I needed and made me glad that I went.
Embrace What Happens
Not having been to ALT before, I had no expectations going in. Instead of setting goals for my time there, I decided to embrace what happened over the course of the week. I wasn’t going to be disappointed that I couldn’t get to all the sessions I wanted to attend that were spread out over four different conference hotels, missed seeing friends, or didn’t get a chance to talk to every single sponsor. Instead, I found myself rediscovering a crafty side that I’ve long ignored thanks to an afternoon block printing, making silver hoop earrings with Agapantha Jewelry‘s Dani Paquin, and learning how to wood burn thanks to Wood Burn Corner.
I realized a mutual connection to Haiti while waiting in line for new headshots from Tap Bio in a Frito truck turned photo truck, made new business connections by talking to strangers over lunch (hey Raddish!), became friends with fellow dinner guests while meeting the stars of Dinner Takes All, and bonded with fellow runners during Fit Armadillo’s early morning 3 mile run. Embrace what happens is my new conference mantra!
Expect the Unexpected
As an influencer, I enjoy perks that come with my years of experience like partnerships with fabulous companies, fun products to test, and the opportunity to test out cars through week long ride and drives. The way I write about products or share them on my social channels reflects the way I go through life- with honesty, positivity, and a sense of humor while embracing what happens in stride. The last two were key as I accepted the keys to a Mitsubishi Mirage that was a last-minute pinch hitter for the car I was scheduled to drive from LA to Palm Springs for our week at ALT.
At first glance, I had a lot of questions about this fun size vehicle, including how in the world we might be able to get 2 checked bags and carry-on luggage in the trunk. Turns out you can’t but that’s ok. I’m all about making the best of things so I accepted the keys and off we went.
Our first stop was in Pasadena to refuel us, not the car because as it turns out, it gets great gas mileage! After a long day of flying, a real meal was more than necessary. In search of a parking spot in Old Town Pasadena, I spotted one beneath some palm trees and parallel parked it with ease, noting the benefits of driving a compact car.
Compact car usually means no trunk space and squeezed passengers. As the week went on, we found this to be untrue. Our traveling companion, Lynzee, claimed to have been comfortable in the back seat during the week, sometimes sharing it with fellow conference attendees we saved from waiting for the conference shuttle. We channeled our Tetris experience from years ago and fit a rolling duffel, 2 backpacks, and some conference totes in the back and slid another suitcase in the backseat for the ride back to LA.
In the end, the Mitsubishi Mirage surprised me. I had really low expectations for this vehicle that didn’t have the bells and whistles of more recent cars I’ve driven but it got us from Point A to Point B and back to Point A without any problems, giving me a new respect for budget friendly cars nicely priced at $19,000.
It’s Ok to Put Myself First
So many times I attend conferences feeling overscheduled and burnt out at the end of a few days. With ALT being a full week my dear friend, Lisa, and I decided in advance to take one day away and head to Joshua Tree to prevent conference fatigue.
Instead of sitting in sessions, we hopped in our Mitsubishi Mirage for a road trip to Joshua Tree. With no agenda for the day, we drove and stopped when we wanted. We marveled at the blooming flowers that Lisa said were unlike any others she had seen in previous years, listened to birds, gaped in awe at rock climbers who looked like specks as the dangled from rock faces, meandered along desert paths, and clambered up rocks just to see what we could find.
Taking a mental health day from a conference in Palm Springs that already seemed like a vacation according to my Instagram felt indulgent but putting my own needs ahead of the conference agenda was more important.
Take Away 1 Thing
“Take away 1 thing,” friend Amber Dorsey advised as she walked the room, looking at the flat lays being assembled in her workshop. As collections of items were being arranged and being photographed from above, she told us the secret of flat lays lies in taking away one thing to make the composition feel less cluttered.
I thought about this strategy in relation to our lives. What if we all took one thing away to simplify our lives and cause less stress?
While at ALT, I learned new technical skills, made fabulous connections, and pondered what’s next for me and my business. I returned ready to put my learning into practice and continue learning from the incredible women I met while mentoring others. I also learned it was time to take one thing away from my life.
For years there I’ve supported people who haven’t returned the favor. Instead of being a constant presence in my life, they come to me only when they need something but are silent when I reach out. They’re cagey about what they share, never cheer for my successes like I do theirs, and pretend to be your friend when they’re really not.
I’ve decided there aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks in the years to feel obligated to be friends with those who are my “sometimes friends.” I’m taking those sometimes friends away from my life to leave my time and energy for my real friends who are always there.
Recognize the Good
Somehow I have a talent for choosing return flights on Southwest Boeing 737 Max jets without knowing because for the second trip in a row, my return flight was abruptly cancelled. All nonstop flights home were booked but making a stop wasn’t out of the question. Having dealt with this on my recent Toyota Grand Slam trip, I called Southwest and was immediately connected to Adrian in Chicago.
While researching my options, he found a single seat on a nonstop flight home open up and fingers working fast, he grabbed that last remaining seat for me. To say I was grateful was an understatement especially because finding a flight home from my Toyota trip wasn’t so easy.
Since I always like to recognize the good, I gave Adrian a shoutout on Twitter and tagged Southwest who is going to recognize him in their own way.
May we always find the good in every situation, even ones that can be challenging!
Life’s Too Short to Not Eat All the Donuts
If you know me or follow me on Instagram Stories, I exercise in order to eat! I firmly believe life is too short to not enjoy what you love and I happen to love a good donut! Or In ‘N Out Burger. Well really, both if you followed my Instagram Stories while I was at ALT!
If you’re in Palm Springs anytime soon or next year for ALT, stop at Swiss Donut delicious donuts (my favorites include old fashioned, maple bacon bar, and buttermilk bars), bubble tea, and croissant sandwiches the size of your head. Other favorites include:
- Tropicale for the vibe and cocktails
- Elmer’s is a classic diner but with better food
- The Broken Yolk can’t be beat for breakfast
- In ‘N Out Burger because it’s a classic that’s always worth the trip
When it’s time to leave LA and you’re flying out of LAX, LAX Tacos is a drive through where you can grab burritos, tacos, and fresh churros or park in their little lot and enjoy a bit more of that Southern California sun before you fly home.
No compensation was received for this post and all opinions are my own. I personally paid for all expenses related to ALT Summit except the Mitsubishi Mirage which was on loan for the week courtesy of Mitsubishi.