How the annual TRIBE Conference delivers its magic every time.
Where dreams can come true
I have this secret I want to shout out to the wider world: There is this magical place where dreams can come true!
No, it’s not Narnia, Wonderland or Disneyland.
It’s the Tribe Conference.
WHAT is Tribe Conference?
This annual weekend conference for writers, creatives and entrepreneurs in Franklin, Tennessee, grew out of an experiment of sorts by Jeff Goins.
Who is this guy?
Well, I found myself asking that same question in the summer of 2015 when I stumbled upon his bestselling ebook, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).
Had I written before this? Heck, yeah! But, other than personal journaling, everything I had written was for someone else. (Except my first unpublished novel, co-authored with a friend, in fourth grade!)
I had been so busy raising three kids alongside my job of leading up a local outreach to international students in my area, I had forgotten the joy of creating art and writing for fun, much less for something more.
You Are a Writer became the spark leading to something magical. First I joined TribeWriters, Jeff’s online course and community, in August 2015. Then, in 2016, I stepped into the magic of the Tribe Conference. I was hooked. 2018 was my third year.
(L) Jeff and Andy (Traub) – Dynamic, caring men who form the backbone of Tribe. (R) I'm honored and grateful to call Jeff a friend now.
So, WHY is it Magic?
The magic isn’t about faeries or stardust or cotton candied moments of exhilaration. The magic of Tribe is found in the melding of messes, message, meaning, motivation and movement.
We all have them. And when we bring our messy, authentic selves into the work we create, we produce our best work. At Tribe we can be who we really are: awkward, imperfect, peculiar geniuses.
Speaker after speaker shared candidly with us how they messed up. Where they failed. How they got off track. Whether it was Melissa Dinwiddie’s admission of “not fitting in,” to Joseph Michael’s story about getting rejected as a pizza delivery boy – or any number of other cases – the speakers are approachable and real.
Heck, the Tribe Conference even has its own official "Awkwardness Ambassador," Marsha Shandur, to help us navigate the experience with humor and insight.
(L) With old Tribe friends Nicole Akers and Judy Herman + new friends Anthony Moore and David Kadavy; (C) With speaker Marsha Shandur; (R) Hanging with speaker Mike Kim (and getting some powerful marketing advice in 30 seconds!
This year, especially, the magic in the message – the through line of everything for me – was this:
Be your authentic self – yes, and – above all, know your audience, who you are creating for.
This through line echoed in the talk of every speaker. Todd Henry called us to this with his opening talk on Day 1:
Make something you love every day for someone who will love it.
And Ken Davis, the final speaker, wrapped it up with this challenge:
People who impact others the most powerfully have a clear purpose. Ask yourself, ‘Can my purpose be taken away?’ If so, you need to think about that.
(L) I had met Deb Meyer last year, but now I've finally met Shelly Pordea, (C) Jordin Kelly, and (R) Jan Cox, all women I've connected well with virtually. What a joy!
For me – and most attendees – the deepest level of meaning at Tribe Conference comes through the relationships springing forth from a mash up of creatives coming together for a weekend.
Many of the people I’ve met each year were once mere names in a Facebook group to me. Until I met them face-to-face. This cements a sense of meaning, at least for me. It opens a door to a broader sense of knowing.
For in our virtual world where we often can begin relationships, there’s just nothing like the face-to-face encounter. Tribe Conference does that.
(L) Doris Swift was my first Tribe friend "in the flesh" two years ago! (C) Jeff up on stage conducting an interview on publishing with Mike Brennan, Chad Allen and Joe Bunting, all Tribe friends; (R) With new friend and speaker, Melissa Dinwiddie.
Tribe Conference overflows with motivation. Whether that emerges through the presentations of the 15+ leaders who grace the stage, or the dozens of “on-the-ground” interactions among attendees, motivation to be better is not in short supply at Tribe.
But there is a compassionate quality to this motivation unique to the Tribe Conference and its attendees, I believe. This is not about one-upmanship. This is about being on the same team, recognizing the journey is not easy and we’re here for one another.
And that leads us to something so powerful and our final piece of magic.
(L) Sandy Kreps is really the "secret sauce" of TribeWriters, Jeff's right-hand woman! (C) Jeff came out as The World's Greatest Showman to start us off; (R) With new friend Anthony Moore.
Attending the Tribe Conference helps me feel part of a larger movement of people eager to grow through getting their creative work out into the world. It is a digging inside, and stretching of the heart and mind, a connecting with likeminded creatives, and a forward movement.
It also prompts movement in me. I want to grow, become a better version of myself tomorrow.
Mike Kim, the final speaker on Day 2, stoked the fire with this comment about marketing:
“You are not simply engaging in marketing to make money. No, something comes ahead of that. You are building a movement.”
That’s our aim for YourGlobalFamily.
So stick around for the remarkable. And join us for this journey, too!
(L) Jeff with fellow Tribe masterminder (and stylist) Bri Lamberson; (C) My mastermind group (but we're on our way to the airport!); (R) Melissa Dinwiddie up on stage sharing about her innovation, The Creative Sandbox.
Want to join the Tribe Conference in 2019? Keep in touch and I’ll let you know when the first non-alumni tickets go on sale. Dates are September 6–8, 2019.
Image credit: Caroline DePalatis, Tribe Conference
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