The What If Conference


This week I attended the What If Conference. On paper, it's a conference for 'Creative Entrepreneurs'. In practice, it's a gathering of open-hearted souls who are ready for change, who are ready to ask the hard questions and hear the hard answers, who are ready to say, 'What if I made my life everything I know it can be,' then actually make it happen. But here's the thing: though I went to What If as a speaker, I didn't believe I deserved a place on that stage.


Last winter, when I was invited to attend, I was at a very different place in my life. I had a business, I had to-do's, I felt comfortable with the title 'Creative Entrepreneur'. Now I've left that business behind, my to-do's have become 'what to do's?', and there is nothing comfortable about where I am now. As I prepared my presentation, I found myself paralyzed. "Who am I to stand before an audience and talk about keeping it together when my whole life is falling apart?" my inner voice asked. "Moreover, what the heck am I going to say?"  


So I told the group the truth. That I'm floating, uncertain, terrified. That I have so many big dreams but I'm scared to take the first step in making them a reality. Guess what? It turned out everyone knew exactly how I felt. We were all there to forge through our terrors, to embrace our uncertainties, to explore the idea that even though we're floating, at least we can hold hands while we do it. Because here's the thing: though a single floating balloon can get lost in the sky, a bright, brilliant, blazing bunch of them can be seen from space.

P.S. I'm not done talking about this. I'm just getting started. Stay tuned, have a great weekend, and we'll be back next week with our regularly scheduled programming and then some!

  • erin

    yahoo. excited to follow along. floating, uncertain, terrified, meet hopeful, energized, resilient.

  • Bethany

    the best time to do something new is when you’re scared to death. if we can embrace the abandon of stability,it forces us to sometimes think more clearly. Nice post!!

  • PJ

    Excited to hear more!

  • Cori Magee

    oh my goodness, i’m going to email you…! love this post, you go girl!

  • Lesley Myrick

    So wonderful! Wish I could’ve been at the conference…it sounds amazing. xo

  • Meg (MIMI+MEG)

    Yes please talk more about it! Can’t wait! I think we can relate :) We should skype…

  • liz

    i. love. this. that’s all :)

  • Jessica

    how awesome is this. seriously, i loved this whole post.
    xo, Jessica @ Jessica’s Jewels

  • Decor Arts Now

    Love your frankness— and since I am probably old enough to be your mom, I feel qualified to say,I am certain your next phase in life will be a success— you are too talented for it not to be! can’t wait to gear about it! :-)

  • AmyeToTheRescue!

    Great for you for sharing your truth! I can’t wait to read more. In quiet times, the answers will come…
    Embrace the fear and keep moving through it and your strength will soar.
    Thank you.

  • jessica pezalla

    i admire your candor so much!

  • Twillypop

    this completely inspired me this morning, Anne. it seems now, more than ever, my fears and doubts [‘who do I think I am to aspire to great things?’} are at war with my ideas,hopes, and dreams. thanks for sharing this. I can’t wait to follow on this journey with you

  • Erin

    Wonderful post Anne. Can’t wait to read more. It’s intimidating not knowing what’s next when you have big, bold dreams and ideas. I can totally relate and envy you for being so honest and going after what you want! Fear holds me back more than I would like to admit.

  • escapade

    Totally, totally get this mental space – standing at a very similar point at the moment too – at a bit of a crossroads and constantly oscillating between my excitement and so many creative ideas, and feeling paralyzed with fear, intimidated and sometimes a bit lonely with this feeling. Thank you for being brave enough to reach through and start talking – can’t wait to hear more!
    So happy also to see the previous comment which was kind enough to point out that THIS is the moment to receive home loans and that these are also helpful – who knew! And so on point with your post + this discussion…

  • Acanthus Nichole

    Absolutely agree with your pledge! Everyone is dealing with some sort of vulnerability that they are keeping quiet about for one reason or another. It’s so helpful sometimes to share it with others, even if it’s just a little peek behind the closed doors of what we are really dealing with. It is definitely inspiring for me and I thank you for your honest words!

  • Sparky

    I always quote myself, it turns out I get more laughs that way. :o)

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  • Maryam in Marrakech

    Listen, I’ve done all the crazy things without money, without support from many people close to me. It was very painful. But the thing that I retained was a belief in myself. That’s what it took. Now I leap with conviction.

  • Yasella

    this is so good. thank you for being genuine, vulnerable and most of all – real about this. Sometimes people put up fronts and others may not truly understand how crippling fear and doubt can be.
    thank you though, this is inspiring and motivating. :]

  • Basketball Sneakers

    Hi Stephanie,
    I hope you will be offering this again next year. I just saw what Diane Cook did,and I love it! Thank-you for your creative inspiration.

  • Molly Marler

    …”embrace the abandonment of stability”… genius! And YOU. Annie. I love this. Lovelovelove. I have faith in you, and I know that this next chapter will be worthy of the purest sense of YOU. xoxo

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