Last week, I had the pleasure of attending PressNomics again. It seems as if every time I attend, I continue to grow both personally and professionally. I had an incredible time last year at PressNomics, but this year may have completely eclipsed it.
The Gravity Mansion
It all started with what I’m going to call the “Gravity Mansion”. We rented a massive Airbnb for the Gravity Forms crew that was absolutely astounding. With so many common areas, it allowed for community and collaboration, while maintaining a sense of privacy.
If you’ve spent any extended time with me, you know that I love socializing in small groups but also can become somewhat reclusive. Due to the layout and sheer size of the house, I was able to attain both. If I wanted to be social, I could lounge on the patio chairs or watch a game of checkers in the kitchen (Kiko is the current reigning champion). If I wanted some time to myself, I could kick back in the living room with my laptop. In a sense, it allowed me to sit in on conversations without immediate presence.
Looking back, the communal living situation set the foundation for everything else.
Those who have attended conferences with me know to always find me in a common area of the venue. I’m rarely at tables and sessions typically bore me. What makes a conference great for me is the conversations that I have with other attendees. PressNomics was no different.
During conference hours, I spent most of my time out in the courtyard building relationships. I’ve always found that I learn the most from small intimate conversations and PressNomics is the perfect place for that. Chats with Pippin Williamson about documentation, business with Marc Benzakien, podcasting with Carrie Dils, or even guns with Logan Kipp, every conversation has value.
At one point, I was referred to as a “WordPress celebrity” by my friend Corey Hammond of A2 Hosting. I definitely chuckled at the thought, but overall he was right. My relationship-building and social media rants have gained a certain notoriety within the WordPress community. More than anything, that sort of attention gives me the confidence to continue doing what I do best.
A Mountain of Personal Growth
As usual, we took an extra day to relax and have some fun. Like last year, we went to Camelback Mountain to do a bit of hiking. That bit of hiking turned out to be my biggest accomplishment of the trip (and possibly my year).
Starting out, I didn’t have much confidence in making it up. I’m out of shape and have gained quite a few extra pounds over the years, so I was already prepared to head back down the mountain early. That morning I also found out that we would be taking the harder of the two trails, so my confidence was dwindling further by the minute.
After about 1/5 of the trail, I was worn out and decided to turn back. I just couldn’t do it and had accepted that it just wasn’t something I was prepared to be able to handle. Well, until Kiko decided that I wasn’t allowed to quit.
I’ve been friends with Kiko longer than I have been with most others in the WordPress community, and I’ve grown to trust him quite a bit. What I seemed to forget is that Kiko is the kind of person who doesn’t accept failure, especially from others. He will push you until he breaks you. That breaking point is the path to success.
Kiko simply wouldn’t allow me to stop. Eventually, I came to the realization that he would fight me until I made it to the top. I’ve since joked that I kept going just to get Kiko to shut up about it, but the constant rejection of my excuses is exactly what got me to conquer something that I had deemed impossible.
I felt like I was going to die, I felt sick, and I just wanted it to be over. I was miserable during the climb, and everybody could see it. I pushed and pushed as hard as I could, but eventually, I made it to the top of the mountain. I once at the top, I felt a sense of accomplishment that I haven’t felt for so many years. I was genuinely happy.
I can’t thank Kiko enough for that experience. Looking back, I see all of that pain and suffering as a small sacrifice to prove that I can do absolutely anything as long as I’m willing to push myself. I think in the future it may also help with my panic attacks too. Nothing seems too difficult or overwhelming to achieve anymore. My only limitations are all in my head.
Excited for the Future
PressNomics has left an imprint on my future that is everlasting. I’m excited to see what I can attain in the future, and couldn’t be more grateful for those experiences. If I can say that I took home one thing from PressNomics, it would be that the glass ceiling is only a challenge waiting to be broken and I can’t wait to take on the next challenge.