influence & being introverted

If you've been around my blog for the past year, you know I attended The Influence Conference last year and will be going back this year (I'm leaving Wednesday..eep!). You probably also know that I loved it and love the community I have begun to form through it. I've written about that openly, but the other night I realized in my retelling that I'd left out a part of my story in it all. 

To back it up a little, a few days ago I tweeted and asked Influence Conference attendees what they were most nervous or stressed about in regards to the upcoming conference. I'd say 95% of the answers were people fearing they'd be left out, wouldn't fit in, wouldn't have a "group" to hang out with. The conversations that came from my simple tweeted question are what made me realize I left out part of my experience at Influence last year.

So, here it is. The afternoon I arrived in Indy, I cried. I called Cody, told him I wanted to come home, that it was a mistake I'd gone in the first place, and that I just "wasn't good" in situations like this. I'd had a great time arriving at the conference with Brittany, Kara-Kae, and Mary; but when we all split off to our own rooms and Amanda, my beautiful roommate, was off helping with registration, I found myself feeling alone, and awkward, and like I didn't know a single soul...because I didn't.

But here's what I learned later and I continue to learn...I was not alone in feeling alone. It's easy to be social and conversational behind a keyboard and social media, but face-to-face can be really difficult...especially if you tend to be a little more introverted like me.

For all of my introverted or shy or whatever you want to call it, friends that I'll be meeting in the next few days at Influence (although most of these tips will work at ANY conference), here are my tips for you...

1) Be bold. Invite yourself. 
Ugh, this is SO HARD, I know. This is not something that feel normal or comfortable to me, but I did it. Find someone else who looks lonely or lost, ask them if they have plans, ask if you can join, or make plans together. In this place, it's okay to invite yourself along.

2) Take time to recharge.
Last year, during workshops time at Influence, I skipped out on the first workshop sessions and went up to my room. The quiet was glorious and fuel for my semi-introverted soul. While you should absolutely "get your moneys worth" out of the conference, it's okay to take a break if you need one.

3) Pray for friends and connections.
After my phone meltdown on the phone, I prayed. I prayed to feel less lonely. I prayed to make connections with someone. I prayed.."Dear God, please don't let this entire trip be miserable." And I met those people. And I wasn't miserable. Begin praying for the Lord to put people in your path...maybe you'll need them or maybe they'll need you, but ask for eyes to see them. 

4) Come find me!
Seriously. Come find me. You're welcome at any dinner...any table...any anything. Don't spend the weekend alone. I want to see you, speak to you, know you. FIND. ME.

If you're going to Influence Conference, how can I pray for you? 
What are you feeling most anxious about?