7 Life Lessons from Problogger 2015

7 Life Lessons from a Blogging Conference #PBEvent

Last weekend I attended Problogger conference 2015 (#PBEvent for those of you playing at home) for the third time. And for the first time I felt compelled to write a recap.

Only the things I want to write about today aren’t about how to make the perfect pin, or how to handle SEO or any of the other actionable, helpful and practical tips from the many sessions.

My takeaways were very personal and applied not just to blogging, but to life.

So, inspired by Kelly’s amazing post yesterday, here are 7 life lessons (different to hers!) I learnt at Problogger Event 2015:

1. It’s not enough to prioritise your schedule, you have to schedule your priorities.

The first thing I did upon returning to work on Monday was to ensure my work calendar had ample time dedicated to meeting the big budgeting deadline looming towards me.

The second thing was download Fantastical on all my devices and set up a calendar that would work for me to schedule in work, blog and social time.

If I’m prioritising scheduled events, I’m prioritising the wrong thing. Instead of running to other people’s demands, it’s time to make my own. And that means booking in time to do the things I want to do and not apologising for being unable to do other things during that time.

2. Live your life by your own dreams

Someone-Else-Dreams copy

It was a lightbulb moment for me when I heard that in Brandon Cowan’s talk about how he became a successful app developer. Brandon was talking about following the traditional path of school, university and job.

For me, a creative outlet has always been something I needed to get by in my life, and words have often provided that. The only time I wasn’t writing was when I was painting. But in the last year as I’ve been sidetracked by succeeding in my traditional career I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching about what I really want my future to look like.

I don’t know the answer yet, but when Brandon references following someone else’s dreams I had a bit of a kick in my gut – what I want, what I’ve always wanted, is to be a stay at home mum. So why am I busting my butt to follow the ‘traditional’ career path laid out in front of me?

Why am I trying desperately to be all things to all people when my priority right now, the obvious one, is to focus on becoming a mother.

3. You need to make space for your own creativity

If you schedule everything you can and batch process things where possible to streamline, you can give yourself a break of brain power to enable your creative mind to work.

My life is so jam packed that when I don’t have to be working or blogging or installing lights or going to the bank or many other things I’ve been trying to do, I just sit in front of the TV and do nothing at all.

Lately I’ve even been too tired to even colour in.

This week I’ve given myself a bit of a break. I’ve allowed myself to do things within the hours I’m scheduled to do them, and do other things within my free time. As a result I’ve already written 4 posts and my colouring in has picked up again.

4. Changing direction is not a sign of failure, it is a sign of life

It’s okay to change direction. It is okay to do things differently because something isn’t working. It doesn’t mean you have failed, it just means you’re still alice.

When we set up this website it was designed to be a place for anyone to write anything they wanted and reach a larger audience than they would be able to on their own. It was designed to be a blog/social media hybrid with forums, accounts, direct messaging and more. We even intended to unlock it at some point so people could post without censorship or editing.

That never happened.

What happened instead was a group website and, more and more, what happened was a Tamsin website with the occasional guest post. And it isn’t working. Most people who write for KK&T have other blogs of their own, and many are unable to make the commitment to write regularly. Many bloggers who heard about KK&T find it just as hard to grasp the concept of a group site as non-bloggers to grasp the concept of blogging at all. And the idea of turning this into any kind of profitable business has stalled.

So we’re making a change. I’m making a change. From now on you’ll see a lot more me, and I’m going back to my roots. Back to writing about whatever makes my heart sing. Back to blogging.

5. Those who are the meanest are the most hurt

Heather Armstrong from Dooce said something that resonated with me:

“The people who are the meanest deserve the most compassion.”

Although I may not have gotten the words completely right.

When people come online and write horrible things on your blog. When people send you mean messages via Twitter. When people cut you down in front of others at work, say horrible things behind your back, or try to sabotage your success – how hard must life be for them that they need to do this to you?

What hurt are they experiencing that hurting you makes them feel better?

It probably doesn’t. Not really. No more than cutting actually lessons the pain you feel from mental illness. But something is hurting them so much they are willing to lash out at another human being to lessen the pain.

That’s awful.

And those people deserve our care.

6. You may not realise the impact you have on others

On the second day I put up a photo of my friend Mrs Woog on stage, tagged her and wrote “So proud of my friend Mrs Woog on stage as Australia’s most successful personal blogger telling it like it is. Love you xx”

Apparently I made her cry and she made a point of telling me how much what I had written meant to her. I had other bloggers stop me and tell me I had written such a lovely thing about her.

Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about it. I didn’t think it was all that lovely or exceptional. I didn’t intend it to be nice. I didn’t intend it not to be, of course, but I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary from what anyone else would be saying, or what Woogs would hear all the time from the readers who love her.

But it meant something to her, and that just served to remind me the things you say to others may have a much bigger impact than you thought they would.

So it’s important to make sure what you are saying is kind. And sometimes that means saying things you think people already know.

7. If you ask for the impossible enough times you might just get it

Another Brandon Cowan gem.

We don’t know what the universe has in store for us, and we don’t know who is listening. But if you keep putting what you want out there, you never know when someone who can make it happen must just be listening to you.

So never stop asking for the impossible. One day, you might just get it.

What did you learn? Have you ever been at a conference and heard something that changed your life?

  • Gary

    I remain aghast that anyone would want to send you nasty or mean comments or messages. I can understand disagreement and criticism but being nasty and mean reflects more on the person writing such words than on you and your co-writers here. The mature and considered way in which you conduct yourselves is always an example of how to communicate via a blog.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Unfortunately it’s just a part of putting yourself out there. Something Dooce also said was that what lets them hurt you, is what makes you amazing. It hurts, because you’re letting yourself be vulnerable and that’s why people read you.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      PS: Thank you xx

  • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au/ Kelly Exeter

    Oh wow – T I got goosebumps when I read this:

    “Why am I trying desperately to be all things to all people when my priority right now, the obvious one, is to focus on becoming a mother.”

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I honestly really hesitated about putting that in. My career is important to me and I’m working so hard at it and I don’t want to neglect it at this stage, particularly as I may not be able to be a mother, but that’s where my heart is. So it’s time to prioritise it.

      • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au/ Kelly Exeter

        I can imagine. But I bet it feels amazing to have articulated it!

  • Monique Fischle

    There is so much I love about this post. You are one incredible woman.

    Two of the biggest things I took away from Problogger were this:
    – If you don’t try, that’s an automatic fail – Brandon Cowan
    – Courage isn’t a feeling you wait for before you take action. Courage is doing it scared – Darren Rowse

    Both of these were a bit of a kick up the bum for me. Problogger has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring events I’ve been to. I’m trying to continue riding the inspiration train and for something good to come out of this.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      You’re pretty freaking incredible yourself! The event was such a kick up the bum for me and there were so many amazing people doing amazing things it’s impossible not to be inspired!

      • Monique Fischle

        Right? I’ve been talking to everyone at work about it. It’s been really good. I’ve also been furiously writing ideas in Evernote and hoping to turn them into something great.

  • http://www.soniastyling.com/ Sonia from Sonia Styling

    This year – unlike last year – I had so many more personal takeouts. Which I feel like is so much more powerful, meaningful and important for where I am right now. It was really, truly lovely being around you. You were like this calm retreat amongst the high energy and noise and I really appreciated your company. x

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      It’s so odd for me to think of myself as calm! But I guess that’s what old age does to you. It was a pleasure to spend time with you and I hope we get to do it again soon xx

  • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of PBEvent, but I loved this post T… It’s nice to see you sounding so positive again… and I agree with everything you’ve said here…

    So many things resonated with me – and I’ve applied nearly all of these to my life over the past couple of years as I’ve focussed on becoming a published author… Making room for the work, and not being afraid to change direction… all that stuff is so important!

    I’m also really glad you’re going back to your blogging roots – KK&T as a group blog was a valiant failure, but I know from personal experience, going back to my own blog was the best thing I ever did – and I hope you get the same satisfaction as you make KK&T your own space once again – I’ve wanted you to do that for years! :)

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I was waiting for you to comment! I knew you’d like this post and I knew you’d agree it was the right way forward. Thank you for your support xx

  • http://lmbwebdesign.com.au LisaMB

    I hadn’t been to the ProBlogger conference since 2012 and I think that might be the trick, not go every year!

    Anyway, while 700 people was way too many for me, I went there with a clear agenda of working on my business blogging and trying to work out how to convince my small biz website clients to blog.

    I came away much better informed from Dan Norris’s talk, the small biz panel, Kelly’s and Ruth Soukup’s sessions. I also became more focused on my Why, which actually helps pave the way to creating more content. Oh my brain!!

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I think if I didn’t go one year I’d suffer the worst FOMO ever!

      The why is so important and such a big part of what we do.

  • http://www.themultitaskingmissus.com/ Gina Soldano-Herrle

    This post is amazing and resonates very close to home for me. Especially the part about following other people’s dreams and not focusing on your own. I’m trying to focus on my own right now and have just come to terms with that recently. But, it doesn’t make it easier when someone asks what my career plans are and I respond with I’m not sure yet. How am I supposed to say “I want to be a stay at home mom” when I’m not even a mom yet and everyone else thinks anything less than a successful career is sub par?
    I think this even sounds fantastic and I’m glad you got so much out of it. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I hear you!! Particularly when I may not even be able to have kids

      • http://www.themultitaskingmissus.com/ Gina Soldano-Herrle

        I hope that you can someday and accomplish your dreams. :)

  • http://www.normalness.com/ NormalNess

    I have loved being a part of Kiki & Tea so much. I think
    you will do great things with it and can’t wait to see how it evolves.

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