Chicago, IL — I attended this year’s Book Expo America and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as a writer. I’ll give a full recap in an upcoming post, but for now I want to focus on the very incredible speech given by author Erin Loechner, who was the keynote speaker of BEA Bloggers Conference.
Loechner has an extensive history in all things media, from blogging to producing tv shows to now writing books. While it’s easy to look at someone of her caliber as a special unicorn whose success just magically appeared, Loechner reminded her audience that no path to success is smooth. In fact, each journey includes a rocky, bumpy road and we rarely see the full scope of our journey while we move through it. In an engaging speech, the author perfectly defined a creative’s professional journey by comparing it to a mountain hike. When looking at a mountain from afar, it looks beautiful, complete, and possible to climb. However, the perspective gets more complex once up close. From afar, you never see the pebbles, dirt, rocks, or in other words, the nitty gritty hard work.
Breaking down her brilliant analogy, Loechner shared the seven tools she packs with her on her hike to success. In the slideshow accompanying the speech, each tool was identified with pictures of actual hiking tools (like “people” were represented with matches, and “rest” was represented with a bottle of water) — it was so clever!
Below are the 7 tools needed to climb your professional “mountain,” and a quick explanation of what each can do for you.
- Hard work: A little sweat never hurt anyone.
- Curiosity: You will never know it all. Stay curious enough to learn new things and open your mind to creativity.
- Resourcefulness: You don’t need to wait until you “have it all,” to make your dreams a reality. Start with what you have, even if it’s not much. A little bit can take you a long way.
- Perspective: Step back and take a moment to check in with yourself, your pace, and how far you’ve come. Set short-term and long-term goals and think about how you can achieve them.
- People: Selfish work will only get you so far. You need to acknowledge and support the people who acknowledge and support you. Every business, every movement, any thing or person who has ever been influential didn’t get to their level of success without others helping them along.
- Rest: Be kind to yourself. Burnouts are so real and can make work unenjoyable. Keep yourself sane and connected to your mission by taking rests whenever necessary. The world won’t end. I promise!
- Bravery: Sometimes, you have to dare yourself to go beyond your limits. You’ll be surprised at how much you can impress yourself! Bravery doesn’t have to be something outrageous. It can be something as simple as changing your logo, brand name, or even starting (or ending) a blog series. Going out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean forcing yourself into a place you don’t believe in. Be authentic with your choices.
The room was struck with awe as Loechner delivered gem after gem of invaluable wisdom. I’m excited to learn more from her. She gave attendees a copy of her first book Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path, which is now available for pre-order (January 2017 release). If you aren’t already familiar with this blogging queen, check out here site Design for Mankind.