How do you deal with loneliness?
The problem with my first job wasn’t the job itself—it was how few people I knew at the company. In most structures throughout my life—family, school, college, sports—we bonded as teammates and community members because of shared goals, ideas, and dreams. Yet at work, I barely had friends. Perhaps it was the age disparity; the fact that people started quietly only a few days per year, or because we didn’t have a common lunch area. Being busy chasing financial goals didn’t help, either. At the end of my first year, I found myself tired, alone, and unsure of what I was contributing as an entry-level employee.
I made a vow to change a few things. I joined two sports groups—a morning swim team and a triathlon training group. I signed up for my first yoga community practice. And I started going to events. I found meet-up groups, lectures and workshops, and conferences to attend. In one year, I met more than 500 new people—many of whom are now, ten years later, some of my closest friends.
What is loneliness? Where does it come from?
What is loneliness? Where does it come from, and why do we experience it? How can we combat it—and better yet: why is it useful?
For the past year, I’ve been researching loneliness, community and the power of connectivity, and I’ll be debuting a new keynote at ALIVE in Berlin this May looking at the structures that create loneliness, why community and connectivity are so important, and what we can do to help reconnect both to ourselves and to other people. As a bonus, I’ll also be teaching a workshop on the power of connection—and tips on how to connect with other people through understanding the physical body (your posture and stance); through your story (and what you say); and by being open and asking questions.
One of the most important ways I’ve met new people and found my tribes is through attending and joining conferences that gather like-minded people together. From WDS (Portland) to Big Omaha (Nebraska) to The Feast (New York + Global) and TED (Global), each time I’ve taken the jitters of traveling alone, taken a deep breath, and tried to meet kind faces and reach out and extend my ties to the world by meeting more of the humans we share space with.The strength of your life comes from the people you surround yourself with.
What does a woman who lives with hens and roosters on a farm out in the middle of England decide to do after building a thriving virtual and in-person coaching practice? Start a conference, of course.
I met Jana Schuberth at the first World Domination Summit (one of my favorite conferences—you can check out the yearly recaps as a testament to the experience). We both wandered through Portland, Jana with bare feet, me in my yoga clothes—and chatted about nutrition, exercise, paleo diets, motivation, and personal development. She’d made the trek over to the States from Loughborough, England, and our late night chats meant it was an instant kinship—we still chat by Skype as often as we can schedule it across projects and time zones.
I had a chance to sit down with Jana and interview her about her story, how she writes, and the challenges of blogging. As she says, “I’m probably a bit crazy to be doing this all, but I looked around and I really wanted the WDS experience here in Europe.” She describes chatting with a mentor about wanting someone to build similar conferences in Europe and her home country, Germany; to which her mentor replied:
“If you really want something like this, you’re going to have to be the one to build it.”
With a bit of excitement and nerves, she realized—Yes, that’s it. Somehow, we’re going to throw a conference next year. Alive in Berlin was born.
Alive in Berlin: A global conference for change-makers
I have a soft spot in my heart for do-ers and makers; and this conference aims to collect them in one space. If you’re curious about the conference, check out Alive in Berlin (and read the end of this post for an incredible scholarship opportunity to the conference).
Some things to know: The conference is in Berlin. Registration fees are £349.00. Dates are May 30-31. It will be gorgeous Springtime in the epic city of Berlin (I’m staying a few extra days to explore the city—I’ve heard the street art is phenomenal and the late night dance parties epic, in addition to exploring the cities' rich and vibrant history).
From the ALIVE team:
“Alive in Berlin is not just about getting a temporary hit of inspiration, it’s about making deep connections and coming away with a solid plan of action. Rather than leaving with your head in the clouds, overwhelmed with information and ideas and ultimately coming back down to earth with a bump, we want you to feel confident, re-energised and ready to wholeheartedly step all areas of your life up to the next level over the long-term."
"The two-day event will include 8 brilliant expert speakers from a wide range of disciplines, space throughout the weekend for relaxed conversation and interaction, daily Q&A sessions where you can interact directly with many of our speakers and coaches, and opportunities to get active and involved for those who want to. There will also be a chill room and coffee corner to relax, reflect and take time out if you need to!”
Together we’ll explore the common threads that connect us and make us come alive.
And the EPIC April Giveaway: One scholarship space to ALIVE in Berlin—all the details (and a short application)!
The thing about conferences is, they often cost a couple of bucks. I know—one year I went to 24 different events—from Big Omaha to The Feast to WDS to Startup Weekend Los Angeles. I was averaging a conference or event every other weekend—and I was exhausted. And it was the bulk of my eating and entertainment budget for the year (let's just say I ate a lot of granola bars and hardboiled eggs).
But I wouldn’t change that year for the world.
The thing about conferences is, they’re also one of the best places to meet new people. People in your tribe, people who speak your language, people who have what you want, people who want what you have to offer. Sometimes it’s a late-night chat and a fitness conversation; sometimes it’s a life-long friend, sometimes it’s the right designer for your project or a place to crash the next time you travel to that new city.
Finding your tribe—people who understand you—is life-changing. As adults, there aren’t as many opportunities to mix up the sandbox and say hello to knew folks. To meet new friends. When you have the same job, the same commute, and the same screen every day, our opportunities for adult summer camp and friendship quickly dwindle. Conferences are places to let you come out of your current storyline and try a new route for your own adventure.
As a bonus—because I’m a speaker at the event—I have one scholarship ticket to ALIVE in Berlin to gift to a lucky reader in this community.
If you’re itching to go to Berlin, to shake up your life, or find a new community, one lucky winner will get to win ONE ticket to the conference.
How do you win? Here’s what you’ve gotta do:
- First, leave a comment down below! Tell us a conference story: what have conferences done for you? Where do you find and meet new people? What’s been the best event for you so far?
- Second, share this post. Heart it, tweet it, post it, write about it. Simple. Click to tweet: Epic April Giveaway: One scholarship space to ALIVE in Berlin!
- Third, apply for the scholarship with this application form.
Winner will be picked on Friday, April 11, 2014. Turn in your application by Thursday, April 10, 2014. You have one week to enter—good luck!
The scholarship is for £249 off the ticket price. The scholarship ticket will be £70 (to cover basic event fees + registration fees) towards the ticket price. If selected, you will have one week to purchase the ticket.
Bravery is encouraged. Authenticity rewarded. Tell us, what makes you come ALIVE?
To listen to the full interview with Jana Schuberth and Sarah Peck, listen here: