I made a friend at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference who told me that she had come to the conference to “recharge.”
This was Monday morning, after two full days of breakout sessions and two late nights of conference festivities, and I may have looked at her like she was crazy. “Recharge?” I asked her. “But I’m exhausted!”
She clarified: “I needed to fall in love again with what I do.” Ahh, now I understood.
I knew what she meant and I think the sentiment may be shared by many of my fellow conference attendees. Like them, I work hard…and a lot.
I also work freelance, which means that I’m juggling the competing demands of six or seven clients at any given time. Add to this keeping up with laundry and trying to go on dates with my girlfriend, and it’s rare that I have a spare moment to reflect on why I do what I do.
This professional self-reflection is crucial, however, as the conference weekend reminded me.
The sessions were, for the most part, excellent. The keynotes were fantastic. The networking was valuable. I feel like I’ve come away concrete tools, supportive connections, and useful insights.
But what I’m most happy to take away is a renewed love of what I do.
The conference allowed me to step back from my daily schedule and take the broader view: to look at our art and our industry and to remember why it’s important—and why it’s important to me to be a part of it…To speak with others who have dedicated their careers and their lives to supporting the arts, and to hear my own values reflected in their words.
So yes, I am recharged, and looking forward to getting back to my own work with a reinvigorated sense of purpose and direction. Let’s go.
(I could also mention that my new friend who came to “recharge” also accidentally slept through the final session on Monday morning, which is maybe why she was feeling a little extra-refreshed. Don’t worry, friend, I won’t tell anyone.)