Today was Launch Day. Day one of the LaunchOut Conference 2016 (St. Louis edition) began with a bang. This the second LO conference I’ve had the pleasure of attending.
LaunchOut is an incredible and unique conference. It allows ordinary folks to launch into and explore their dreams. It’s a chance sail away from the safety of the shore and pursue whatever makes us come alive. Entrepreneurs, writers, coaches, public speakers, and financial geniuses grace the stage. Sound and video people help everyone be seen, heard, and recorded. The vision and logistics team make a billion moving parts come together at just the right moments, even if those movements are slightly later than anticipated. They’re still perfect moments.
Boldly stepping into the spotlight to share your message for the first time isn’t easy. We don’t just show up and wing it. Applications and outlines are prepared months ahead of time. Speeches are written, rehearsed, re-written, and trashed, only to be dug out and re-worked again. Anxiety rears its ugly head repeatedly. The battle is worth it. We each have something to say. We all have something to contribute.
Why do I love this conference full of ordinary folks? It proves something I’ve known for a long time. There are no ordinary folks. Each speaker draws insights from his or her unique story. These insights are relevant to everyone in attendance. But it goes deeper…between speakers we begin to get to know those who chose not to submit a speaker application yet. They each have a unique story and special insights as well. Everyone is extraordinary.
LaunchOut gives us all the room to be fully us. Fully alive. Even if it’s for one night, we can be a public speaker. A published author. Run video. Conference photographer. Then the conference is over, and we build upon what was started here.
The simple reason LaunchOut is one of my favorite conferences? Community. When you step on the stage, the crowd is rooting for you. If the sound blips, the crowd thanks the sound guys for all they’ve done and the challenges they’ve overcome instead of snarling impatiently. If the night runs late, we spill into the streets and locate the nearest open kitchen to continue the conference-inspired conversations. We rejoice with each inspiring success and roll with every distraction or disruption. No matter what, we’re in this together. Even after we all return to our ordinary lives. We make friends who become like family. Friends we can believe in and who will believe in us.