I have been so blessed to have been apart of the second annual utopYAcon. It almost seems impossible to put into words the energy, support and community that encompasses the conference. When you bring together hundreds of authors, bloggers, readers, designers and photographers, you expect to learn about writing and sharing stories of your favorite characters. In reflecting on the experience, some of the most amazing moments of the conference came from the life lessons learned.
Jen Sincero taught me to do the scary thing. If you feel excited and scared about inspiration that strikes, you are on the right track. Fight the fear and take action before your brain has time to talk you out of it. Don’t be afraid to fail and fail often.
Carol Kunz taught me to have compassion. She inspires me to be a better person and love the people around me. Her mission to brighten the day of strangers is endearing. We need more people in the world like her.
Cydney Lawson taught me it’s okay to jump up and down in your chair when you are excited by an idea. She has an infectious smile and isn’t afraid to share her passion.
Teal Haviland taught me it is never too late to live your dream. Not only is she a great writer and photographer, she is a kind and caring person.
Janet Wallace taught me, as always, to live outside my comfort zone. She leads by example and is never afraid to follow a crazy idea and create something magical.
Mostly I learned from the utopYA community that you never know what small kindness can change a person’s life. You never know when the person sitting next to you is struggling with the same fears and insecurities, when a smile or hello may make someone feel noticed and accepted. By simply making the decision to introduce yourself to a stranger you can make a life long friend or brighten someone’s day.
I learned it is your choice to be the person you want to be. To push through the fear and do something great. I may have learned a thing or two about books and writing, but the life lessons learned from the many amazing people too numerous to name will stay with me for a lifetime.