Creative South is a conference that takes over downtown Columbus, Georgia during three days every April. 2017 marked four years of attending Creative South for me, and I can honestly say this track record will continue next year. Why is this conference a must for me, one that I will unquestionably attend year after year?
“The answer is easy: community and vulnerability – characteristics found in attendees, workshop leaders, and speakers.”
This year’s conference theme was “Explore.” While Mike, founder of Creative South, doesn’t direct the speakers on their topics, there was a pretty solid thread throughout the conference: explore yourselves. In an industry that puts huge emphasis on what we create, the speakers pointed attention to us, the creators.
Adé reminded us that the person we need to compare ourselves to is us. “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
Dominique boosted our confidence by telling us that although our unique, varying passions might seem disjointed and our adventures separate, they aren’t. Eventually you’ll look back at your assumed web of choices to see that they were, in fact, aligned all along.
Our very own Erik, co-founder of Focus Lab, urged us to understand that “failure isn’t fatal” (thanks, Winston Churchill for your quote). Erik's vulnerably shared a time from Focus Lab’s history which was both a source of pain and growth. This season spawned a series of life lessons that Erik courageously shared, then challenged the attendees to reframe their perception of failure.
The talks are only the tip of the iceberg. Throughout the course of the conference you meet beautiful souls who are fighting for their place in the industry, those who are struggling to think they have anything to provide, and those that are there to tell those souls, “yes! You belong, you can do it! Let us help you.”
If you didn’t get to come out, here’s hoping you can come next year and experience Creative South’s very true motto: Come as friends, leave as family.