BlogHer '10 Recap: You Are Powerful
I went into BlogHer '10 thinking about the recap I'd write AFTER it was all over, which sounds weird, doesn't it? It's true, though. I've been to five BlogHer Cons (plus BlogHer Food '09) and I work here, too. I know the scene. We come. We connect. We laugh. We cry. We learn. We get angry. We wear great shoes. We're overwhelmed. That stuff -- it's the same every year. This year, going into the conference, I was really tired before I ever landed in NYC. Because I was tired, I thought my best bet was to look for the fun -- to really dive into the fun -- and make that the focus of my recap. I thought I'd come back after it was all over and make you laugh. I should have known better.
What happened instead was that I found myself almost hyper-focused on small conversations. Overheard snippets of your words. Quiet whispers between two or three people in corners. Outside around the ashtrays. Huddled around tables. On floors outside of parties. Connections being made while the noise of 2400 women raged around you. Those tiny, almost too quiet conversations pulled me in, and I re-learned lessons that I've always known.
You. Are. Powerful.
But many of you don't know it -- or don't recognize it -- or don't own your power.
I cannot count how many times I heard one of you brush off a compliment, earnestly given. I cannot tell you how many times I heard a woman, shyly and almost apologetically, talk about what she writes about. I cannot count how many times I saw talented writers uncomfortable when another woman praised her blog. I cannot count how many times I saw women uncomfortable with their own success.
During the final keynote, I listened as Gloria Feldt talked about your power. I listened as she tried to tell you that the expo hall was filled with Fortune 10 companies because of YOUR power. I listened as Marie Wilson, Simran Sethi, and, Alison Stewart told you that your voice is important and you can achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve. I listened and I was thankful. Strong, powerful women were telling you exactly what I wanted to tell you. Surely we would all walk out of that keynote and feel able to embrace our power. What a wonderful way to end an event that really should send you home feeling strong, proud, and empowered.
But five minutes after the panel ended, an enormously talented blogger was brushing off a compliment that I was trying to give her. And at the same moment, our 14 year old daughter (who is also an incredibly talented writer and was a finalist in the community keynote) was telling Gloria Feldt that she had no power.
She's 14, so I'm trying to go easy on her. It's hard to own your power at that age. But the rest of you, I'm not going easy on you. For the next 12 months, I'm going to spend a lot of time owning my power and encouraging you to own yours. That's the lesson that I'm taking away from BlogHer '10.
What did you learn? Blog it and leave a link in Mr Linky or in the comments below.