(Estimated Reading Time: 4 min)
One plus one equals three.
Any grade 1 student can tell you the math doesn’t add up here. But conceptually and creatively, this equation suggests that when people exchange ideas, the sum of what’s created is greater than the sum of the individual parts.
This was one of Dan Miller’s key messages on Sunday morning at Tribe Conference – an event hosted in Franklin, Tennessee for creatives to connect and learn about how to make a living through their craft.
Much earlier that morning, I was jolted awake at 4:30 am with ideas flooding into my mind. They came at a pace that reminded me of a popcorn machine, aggressively ejecting popped kernels left, right and centre.
I tried to fall back asleep. As much as I’ve trained myself to become an early riser over the past year, this was far too early, especially considering I had gone to bed less than 4 hours before.
I closed my eyes.
More popcorn. Overflowing. Like when the bowl of popcorn is full but the machine keeps popping away, spilling precious popcorn all over the kitchen counter and floor.
Realizing that I needed to do something to clean up this mental mess, I got out of bed, pulled out my laptop and started typing. The ideas continued to stream in, so I remained awake, dumping them out of my head and on to the page.
Tribe Conference Checklist
Sixteen hours later, after the conference ended, my brain was fried. The popcorn machine on the fritz.
I returned to my hotel room and threw on some club dance music to keep me awake so I could pack for the flight home. In between folding clothes and playing Tetris with all the new books that needed to fit in my suitcase, I transitioned in and out of a solo dance party as I reflected on my experience.
What. A. Conference.
Over the past 48 hours I had met dozens of other creatives, connected deeply with a handful of like-minded folks, written down pages of new resources and ideas to explore, and received invaluable advice at a mastermind table that included Leo Babauta, Sean Mccabe, Shawn Blanc and Mike Vardy.
I went through my mental checklist of what I had been hoping to get out of Tribe Conference:
- I anticipated the speakers would share ideas that shifted my own – check.
- I imagined that new conversations would help me find new answers – check!
- I sensed that I would make deep and lasting connections with inspiring people – check!!
- I hoped to have engaging conversations with the bloggers and authors I looked up to – CHECK!!
I finished packing, brushed my teeth, and wrapped up my dance party with my signature finger-pointing and fist-pumping moves. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.
Four and a half hours later I was jolted awake again. The popcorn machine was back on. This time at 4:15 am, 15 minutes before my alarm was set to go off in order to make my 7 am flight.
Over breakfast at the airport, I furiously jotted down notes, created diagrams, and asked myself new questions to help solve a problem I’d been stuck on for the past year. Light bulbs were crashing together in my head and producing more light bulbs.
I felt like I was in a space of clarity that I’ve only experienced a few times in my life, perhaps never to this degree. I could suddenly connect the dots between recent conversations and previous ones, across new ideas and old ones.
I was in THE ZONE. And it didn’t stop there.
Throughout the day I continued to pour ideas out of my head – into my notebook, onto my laptop, and inside the Evernote app on my phone… whatever made sense when I was walking through the airport, sitting on the plane, or getting up to stretch.
By the time my partner picked me up at the airport back home in Vancouver I had so many stories I wanted to tell him, but I felt like a zombie that could barely string together a sentence.
After a 3-hour nap, I woke up to the joy of actually being able to have a coherent conversation.
More ideas. More connections.
The Popcorn Machine that Wouldn’t Unplug
I went to bed that night at 10 pm. Once again, I was thrust awake a few hours later, this time at 1 am. The popcorn machine was on overdrive, and I couldn’t unplug it. Ideas were racing into my head faster than I could jot them down.
Dots connecting. Threads attaching.
Every time I tried try to fall back asleep, a new idea came to me. I wrote down every single one. Before I knew it, it was 7:30 am and I’d run a 6.5-hour mental marathon through the middle of the night, harvesting pages of idea popcorn and strategizing next steps.
I won’t lie, there were lots of bad ideas in there. LOTS. But mixed in all the muck, there were a few real gems.
Not just great ideas… breakthrough ideas.
That same morning, I jumped on my laptop, went to the Tribe Conference website and bought two premium tickets for 2018.
After my dad died in 2015, I promised myself that I would use some of the inheritance money to change someone’s life. Tribe Conference has the power to make this happen.
Over the next year, I’ll be giving away one premium ticket to a subscriber of this blog who is looking for a breakthrough in their creative life. I can’t wait to witness this person’s popcorn machine in action.
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