Traveling to Jamaica for the Social Media on the Sand conference, also know as Beaches Moms, is an absolute highlight for me and my family. Hosted at Beaches Negril, Beaches Moms offers speakers, networking, and tons of entertainment. From a Reading Roadtrip at a local school to Splish Splash Farewell Bash at the Pirates Island waterpark, there is something for everyone. So on the flight home, I came up with my 6 takeaways I learned at the conference and how they will help me be a better blogger and human being.
Traveling to Jamaica for a conference? I know, rough life! When it’s at Beaches Negril, part of the Beaches Resorts family, even better. Having been to the Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa for the past two years, I was excited about trying a new location for the conference. And since Beaches Resorts are the gold standard for all-inclusive family vacations, I knew we were in for one amazing experience.
Social Media on the Sand is a social media conference hosted by Beaches Resorts. Through the weekend, attendees hone their social media skills through sessions and networking. I was excited about the possibilities of this conference in a new location and with new content, and it exceeded my already high expectations. While reflecting on the connections made, the fabulous memories, and the things I learned, I want to share my 6 takeaways.
6 Takeaways from Beaches Moms–Social Media on the Sand at Beaches Negril
Embrace your inner badass.
I have Rene Syler to thank for this one. If you don’t know who Rene is, then I beg you to go check her our. She is the founder of Good Enough Mother and one exceptional motivational speaker.
I love listening to someone who is comfortable in her own skin and willing to share her life lessons with fellow sisters. Thank you, Rene, for telling me the things I knew were true and telling me to do them. Like:
- Don’t forget who you were before kids and husband. That girl is still in there.
- Be sure to keep something that’s just yours. Like yoga or solo vacations or marathons or mud runs. As Rene puts it, “You have a right and a responsibility to be as good to you as you are to everyone else in your life.” Brilliant!
- Mind the semicolon. A semicolon is “to mark a break that is stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop. It’s used between two main clauses that balance each other and are too closely linked to be made into separate sentences.” Rene has a tattoo of a semicolon to remind her that she still has much to say and do in the remaining years she has left. She wears the semicolon to remind herself that it ain’t over yet…not even close. She says, “Your story is not over.” Keep on writing it. Mind the semicolon.
And finally, embrace your inner badass. Acknowledge that you are strong, powerful, and wise. Don’t shy away from it. Embrace it!
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Here I am during our sailing class, rocking my bright yellow life vest. Yep…total badass. Note: you might be better able to call yourself a badass if your vest doesn’t say Super Soft.
“My monkeys and my circus.”
This is my modification of a popular phrase and turning it into the positive. One of the best components of any conference is the opportunity to network and get to know others. It’s always a highlight for me. I loved meeting new people and learning from them. So one of our sessions was a Tropical Centerpiece Building Networking session. Meaning exactly that: we would be building tropical centerpieces out of fruit. Thankfully, my group included some DIY bloggers and a former engineer, so I knew we would be able to do this!
I was struck while we were designing our fruit centerpieces as a team building/ networking activity that a table of largely strangers could work together and make the best dang pineapple tree and monkey centerpiece.
So I walked away thinking the lesson is this: Find your tribe. Your monkeys and your circus. Those encouragers who help you reach for the far out bananas. Maybe if we swing each other out and work together, we can grab hold of that riper fruit.
There’s room for everyone.
Another fun offering at Beaches Moms was the Local Artisans Trunk show. Over 20 local artists came with their creations and we had several hours to shop and learn about the Jamaican culture. From overproofed rum (my favorite) to bath salts and lotions to wood carvings and ceramics, these artisans wowed us with their passion and their products.
I see a huge parallel between the trunk show and the world of blogging. Each artist had their niche and their products. All were unique and diverse. Just like the bloggers and influencers at the conference. And there’s room for all of us. In fact, the diversity made us all the better. Getting to meet DIY and home decor bloggers at our networking lunch and yet seeing our common hurtles and challenges made me feel empowered.
Moreover, the level of collective brilliance at these conferences is mind boggling. And the beauty is that we can all coexist and stay in our own lanes and still be brilliant. I don’t have to be the biggest blogger in the world. I still bring something to the table. And it’s a big freaking table. Plenty of room for everyone.
Take the plunge.
The bucket challenge at the water park was a great metaphor to get in over your head. During the closing party, called the Splish Splash Farewell Bash, the resort staff and kids issued challenges to stand under the Beaches bucket at the waterpark and get soaked. One of the challenges asked the BeachesMoms to take the plunge. About 8 of us went for it. I got soaked in my regular clothes. It was friggin fun. I didn’t want to get soaking wet but when I did, boy was it refreshing. Fortunately, it was near the end of the party so I could make a quick exit to go back and change.
But the lesson was there: I need to be more risk taking. Encouraged by my fellow BeachesMoms, we went for it. And it was exhilarating!
Tack instead of jibe.
Part of the conference included breakout interactive sessions centered on various activities at Beaches Negril. My selected excursion? Sailing class! I couldn’t wait to learn more about sailing since my last class was pre-kids and 1990something.
One of the most fundamental rules in sailing is that tacking (turning into the wind) is better for a novice than a jibe. Sailing schools teach tacking before jibing because tacking is a safer turn. During a tack, the bow of the boat passes through the no-go zone, causing the boat to lose some speed; the net result is that the mainsail gently passes from one side to the other. When jibing, the bow does not pass through the no-go zone. In this case, the boat will always have wind in its sails. The boat goes faster, and the wind quickly forces the mainsail and boom to move across to the other side much faster unless you control it.
Sailing class taught me: Test the currents and get the wind in your sail. When you can tack instead of jibe, do that. Inevitably, I learned that the wind would change directions and stop blowing. When that happened, it reminded me of a quote I read in Richard Bode’s book First You Have to Row a Little Boat:
When you’re sailing you can’t just go in a straight line. Sometimes you have to zigzag to get to shore. That’s life. And sometimes, when the wind stops blowing, there’s nothing you can do but wait, and wait patiently, for a breeze to return.”
Be thankful and joyful.
This was the first year we were able to visit a local school as part of a Reading Roadtrip organized by the Sandals Foundation. I’ll share more specifics about the Foundation and our school trip in a separate post because it was so meaningful. But I have to include it in my takeaways because I learned a valuable lesson from the kids: be thankful and joyful.
The school my daughter and I visited was Cove Primary with 124 students ranging from grade 1-6. Although the school was mighty small, it was most notably mighty joyful. I was touched by the enthusiasm of the students. They had million dollar smiles that would light up their faces. And they were friendly, gentle, and happy.
This is my reading buddy, Bland. She’s 6 years old. We read Fancy Nancy together, one I used to read to my now 15 year old. I asked her what she liked about our visit and she said, “Getting to see new people.”
Clearly the kids were also fascinated by the HP Sprocket smartphone printers. They loved posing with friends for photos and immediately getting the 2 x 3″ print.
They also loved meeting the teens and tween who came along on the trip.
Beaches Moms, it was an amazing bundle of opportunities. Thank you! My third Social Media on the Sand proved to have tons of takeaways. Can’t wait to share even more of our experiences with you in the days to come!
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