I attended the Misfit Conference over my birthday weekend June 1. There I met a wonderful group of people. Some I already knew like Nelson deWitt and Melissa and AJ Leon. Others I knew online like Pam Slim and Justin Levy. Some I had heard of like Julia Roy and David Baeza. There were around 60 of us at this small, handcrafted conference in Fargo, ND. AJ and Melissa crafted the entire thing down to the type of silverware we used. They provided live entertainment, speakers, art walks, movies, food, photo shoots, galleries and more – all centered around this concept that a misfit is more than just a title. It’s a way of life.
There was a lot of art involved – painting, pottery, spoken word, music, photography. There was every opportunity to surround yourself with bright, intelligent, witty individuals. It was designed to be seen and heard, and not transmitted on the internets with video and phone shots and constant tweeting and facebooking. Most importantly, a community of people was created that were then sent out into the world to create a dent in the universe.
What could this possibly provide to me, a Chamber director in Central Iowa? Surprisingly, more than you could imagine.
Nelson deWitt has been telling his story of being one of the lost children of El Salvador. I got to connect again with him and see his progress in the movie he is making. We also shared stories of how to better effectively use social media to tell stories.
Julia Roy, self proclaimed as an entrepreneur, futurist and pioneer exploring the intersection of productivity, science and technology, talked about how the brain works and how you can retrain your brain. She also picked up the phone, conferenced me into a Gotomeeting and shared an hour explaining ways I could better utilize my Gmail account.
Gigi Blum Peterkin, Stephanie Montreuil and I have partnered up to become accountability partners and coaches to each other in our individual pursuits of making a dent in the universe. I went on vacation and Gigi who is from PA met us in NC with her family and we swam in the ocean! We all talk regularly and continue to find ways to support each other.
Greg Tehvan, from Fargo ND, is making huge strides in Fargo and showing the world how cool that town really is. He is involved in creating events like midnight brunches to bring like minded people together. He works with the movers and shakers and brings a wildly simple way of thinking to creating a town people want to live and work in. Meeting him has given me plenty of ideas of things we can do here locally to make a stronger Webster City.
Israel Smith traveled from Australia to attend and has made us all converts to his joyful way of seeing things. He’s a photographer and took us on a photo walk and showed us how to take better pictures. For me, Is showed me how my iPhone can be my only camera.
Brett Henley from Nashville is a good friend of my friend Andy Dixon. Andy and I are collaborating on a book project and Brett is the man to help with that! He’s also really really funny.
Colin Wright and Joshua Millburn run a publishing company in Montana. I’m working my way through their email treatise on self publishing.
AJ and Melissa Leon recently came through Des Moines. We spent 4 hours talking about what my Chamber does versus what they as self-proclaimed nomads do. How could they help me? What projects am I working on? It was a real eye opener for me. I am not a solopreneur, I like working for a company and counting on a regular paycheck. Yet, in this job, because I am a card carrying misfit I bring lots of new ideas to the table and have the opportunity to share them and help others. We discussed a possible project here in Webster City that the misfits could get involved in. (more to come later)
So, what is a misfit?
A misfit is the person who looks at a problem and sees a challenge.
A misfit creates art, sees art, is art.
A misfit is dedicated to making a difference in the world.
A misfit doesn’t fit into a mold.
A misfit isn’t afraid to go forward on their own path.
I am a misfit. Are you?