I attended Jeff Goins' first ever Tribe Conference this weekend in Franklin, TN. It was absolutely amazing and blew my mind in ways I never even dreamed possible. This was my first writing conference. Being new to the writing world, I had no idea what to expect, and I certainly didn't expect to cry.
But, I must admit that I cried the entire weekend. I cried at the very beginning when Ally Vesterfelt told us to embrace the rawness and realness of our own voices, and told the stories of how she and her father found their voices amidst the least desirable of circumstances. And I cried until the very end when Grant Baldwin encouraged us to take care of ourselves, our health, and our families as we do great things in this world, because without those things, what is the point of great success at work. As I listened to each amazing speaker, different parts of my soul called out in recognition and yearning for the lives these extraordinary people were living, the things they were building, and the impact that they were making in this world. I held back my tears as best I could, although several made their way down my cheeks as I watched Jeremy Cowart's illustration of his story of overcoming self doubt and realizing that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him, and the amazing work that he is doing with his photography in Haiti and Rwanda.
As the last speaker left the stage, and Jeff wrapped up with the story of his own high school experience with fitting in, coping with death, and embracing community, I couldn't hold back the flood any longer. I quickly said my goodbyes and dashed out of the meeting room as the tears came freely: waves of joy, sadness, pain, frustration, regret, hope, determination, a lifetime worth of searching and waiting and quietly doing my work, and most of all, gratitude. Gratitude for finding a place that felt like home, for hearing a familiar language that I have been searching for my entire life, for finding my voice, for recognizing the best of what I have to offer the world and making a plan to share it, and most importantly, at long last, for finding my Tribe.
Till next time,
© Haley McManigal 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Haley McManigal and haleymcmanigal.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.