For the past five years, one of those highlights in my life has been to connect with a group of creative, soul-searching writers and artists who gather in Franklin, Tennessee for the TRIBEWRITER Conference hosted by founder and creator of the Tribewriter community, Jeff Goins.
I value learning new skills by listening to those who have already done what I want to do as they share what has worked for them or tips of the trade. But more than that, I love having the opportunity to rub shoulders with the men and women who are using their voice, their stories, and their talents to make their difference.
This is my 5th TRIBE Conference. It will also be the last TRIBE Conference that Jeff Goins will be hosting. I will have attended all of them. Each year brought with it new challenges and insights both as a writer and as a person.
Each year there are those who say to me, “Don’t quit. Keep showing up.”
But mostly they say “Own who you are and do it with all your heart.”
The importance of this year’s TRIBE Conference in relation to my writing journey is significant. You will understand more at the end of this post.
TRIBE ONE (2015)
In mid August 2015, I enrolled in my first course for writers called TRIBEWRITER. It was the first step I had taken to see if I could, in fact, finish a book that had been started by my daughter Leisha, which we found in the back of her journal the day after she died in a car/ pedestrian accident. She had written only one chapter, but it started it once upon a time I was born… then quickly she added, I should start at the beginning. Once upon a time this boy met this girl…" She basically tells the story of how her dad and I fell in love and married, where we worked, the births of her two older sisters… and then I was born. I believed this book was meant for me to finish.
A bonus that came along with the TRIBEWRITER course, was a ticket for the first TRIBE Conference which was happening two weeks later. I was scared to death to sign up for a conference for writers when I wasn’t sure I was one. I wanted to be. I had a dream of a book. But… I hadn’t written much of anything yet. I felt very much like an impostor. But I packed my bags and reserved my spot at the table, as Jeff was known to say.
That year Jeff Goins blessed us all by saying,
“You are a writer when you say you are!”
I was sure it wasn’t that easy, and it would take me a long time to truly believe it, but on the final day of that first conference I declared …
“I am a writer!”
As we were preparing to head back to the reality of our lives, Jeff challenged us to consider the one thing we were going to do next. From my spot at that table right near the front of the stage, I mustered courage I didn't think I had and declared, "I'm going to write the rough draft for my book". He asked, "By when?" I shouted, "By December".
There I said it! Out loud in front of all these people! I was going to write this book.
I went home to do the hard work of becoming the writer I wanted to be. It took me till March to finish that rough draft, but once it was done, it wasn’t long till I held the book in my hands.
TRIBE TWO (2016)
I was so excited to introduce my newly published book Lovely Traces of Hope to the TRIBE community. I had worked hard to get the book written, published, and launched. I was thrilled to be part of the first group of authors that had published books since the last conference.
I heard speakers say that one book will change the way people see you. Mind did. It changed the way I saw myself as I wrote my story so that I wouldn’t forget important things. But it changed the way others saw me as well. They saw me as someone who got the hard places. They weren’t alone, or crazy in their grief. They could look for the lovely traces of hope just as I did.
But after conference, I went home and grieved for the next 3 months. Grieved that my daughter’s life seemed tied to a book that could be closed and put on a shelf. I knew the story wasn’t over. I wanted MORE but I struggled to take a next step.
TRIBE THREE (2017)
I went to Tribe Conference tired and weary, trying to launch a new group/course that I thought would be a draw to my women. I was hearing interest, but no one was signing up. Then I heard several speakers say ONE BOOK is really only a taster. What matters is that you develop a body of work that continues to support your message. I needed to write more to be more? Ugh!
Relationships that started in previously years began to be more than social connections. We began to support and cheer one another on in more personal ways. They are a breath of fresh air for me so many times.
I heard Jeff and others say “Don’t Quit. Show Up.” He shared his own journey of trying not once, not twice, but 7 or 8 different things till he landed on something that not only resonated with him, but with his audience. It took Jeff years to break through. I was on year 7. I went home chanting “Don’t quit! Show Up” over and over in my head. Truly, the only thing I did well for the next 6 months was not quit. And that was mostly because each week when I started to say “I need to go get a J.O.B”, my husband would say, “No honey! You know this is what you must do! You can’t quit now.”
I committed to SHOWING UP to my Green Hope Coaching community. Sometimes it wasn’t pretty. Most times it was downright messy. Often it was too long. But as I showed up, so did my world. They connected with the messy, were encouraged by the questions and reminded me to keep going.
TRIBE FOUR (2018)
My preparations for TRIBE CONFERENCE were different than they had been in the past. I felt more ready, more eager to grab hold of what would be there for me. I was finally owning my role as a soloprenuer and beginning to recognize that I might be running from the very characteristic of my life that would help my world the most.
There was a recurring theme that actually started weeks before I even left for Tribe conference 2018. I caught myself wondering if I was ever going to grow up to be 'HER'- that woman who moved through life confident that she was who she was supposed to be.I knew a lot about stuck places, broken hearts and loss. But I didn’t want to be THAT coach that dealt mostly with the STUCK stuff.
Yet there was this thread that was woven through the opening mastermind session, to Jeff’s opening keynote, through the speakers from the stage, and the conversations around the table over lunch and breaks.
Three speakers in particularly hit it home for me.
Jeff Goins opened the conference dressed as THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. His young son apprentice joined him and boldly proclaimed "This is the greatest TRIBE on earth." We cheered wildly. Jeff used a quote from P.T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman.
Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature, and best suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed.” ― P. T. BARNUM
Hmm? That’s something to ponder.
Tim Grahl: Author of Running Down a Dream, Booklaunch.com. and the Story Grid podcast also spoke to this theme. He said, “I was going to overcome my fears by being the best. But that increased the level of fear and raised the level of expectation.“
Instead he challenged us to Tell the truth, that thing that our soul is silently screaming that wants out. We want to be the guru who has all the answers, but sometimes we must 'tour our ruins" and share that out of that. Quit resisting what really needs to be said.
Hmm? Was that it? Was I trying to be a guru of something I had no answers for? What the TRUTH that I needed to tell wrapped up in my ruins, my stuck places?
Then Alli Worthington : author of Fierce Faith and The Year of Living Happy, spoke to the core of my journey.
She asked, “How do we take new action and not feel like a fraud? How can we move forward with confidence when we have never done this before? The more success we get, the more often we feel like an impostor. New Levels bring out new devils.”
I knew that to be truth. With every step forward I had tried to take, I was very aware of the new devils, the limiting beliefs, the lies I believed to be true, the stuck places that sucked me in.
Alli went on to say,
God calls each of us to a particular field. We take one look at that field and decide we don't like it. It has big boulders and rocky patches. There are briers, weeds and thistles.
We think, It will be too hard, involve too much work. So we look for another field, a nicer field, an easier field. But nothing comes out of that. We can’t seem to make it work either.
So we move to another.
Until we turn to find we are back at our original field. It is messy. It will be hard. We may not like it. But this time we know it is our field.
This had been my journey for the previous 2 years since I had finished writing Lovely Traces of Hope. I was working hard to …
find a vocation that was actually was not suited to my peculiar genius.
not have to tell the truth which involved the hard stories and stuck stuff that I had shared in Lovely Traces.
find an different field to work, one that was not so hard, or messy.
But Allie summed up what all three of these speakers were saying to me. In fact, what God was saying to me for weeks already.
You are called to your FIELD for a reason. Clean it up, prep the soil, get it ready to plant.
Then sow the seed. The harvest will come. It may take a while, but you will be WHO and WHERE you are supposed to be.
I left TRIBE Conference Four very aware that I needed to Tell the Truth and step into who I really was and am. I am Kathy, the UNSTUCK coach. When I deal with the stuck places in my story, or help my client face hers, then we are free to become that woman who moves through life confident that she is who she is meant to be.
Suddenly a whole series of seemingly random and disjointed puzzle pieces began to find ways to connect. Before long I had the outline for my second book. By March of 2019, four years after finishing the first draft of the first book, I completed the rough draft for book two.
TRIBE FIVE (2019)
Five years later, almost to the day, on the final day of TRIBE Conference FIVE, I will be launching my second book, EnVision YOU: UnStuck and Confident. Five years from the final day of TRIBE Conference ONE that I declared that I am a writer.
The significance of this launch date is not lost on me. When I owned who I was as I writer, I began a journey that has not only given me a foundation for my message as a coach and speaker, but it has transformed my very heart and life.
I don’t know what wealth of awareness I will come home with from this conference. But I know that without Jeff Goins, his courses, and the TRIBE Conferences, I would not be where I am today.
The author of not one, but two books that, in a sense, have become my ‘manifesto’., which is simply a document that declares what is important to me- and to the people that I influence.
If I run true to form by being overwhelmed with emotion by the end of the conference, I won’t be able to speak what my heart really wants to say. So I speak it here and now.
Thank you Jeff Goins! For daring to be YOU! For not giving up! For showing up even when it got hard and allowing us to see the transparent, vulnerable journey along the way!
You - and the community of incredibly creative and talented men and women that you have gathered - have made a tremendous difference in my life, and in the field I now own and serve.
I am a grateful Tribewriter!
Be watching this blog for the incredible things I will share with you from TRIBE Conference 2019. Plus when I get back, EnVision YOU should be available online. I can’t wait to share it with you!
P.S. Dear Reader,
What is the journey you have taken to get you where you are today?
Who are your heroes in that journey?
Where are your stuck places?
Leave your comments below.
Or if you need help working through them, I’m your girl.
My name is Kathy, and I’m an UNSTUCK Coach!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Republished in parts from Blog post in October 2018. The Power of Your Tribe)