I recently had the honour of attending the Disney Social Media Moms Conference at Walt Disney World in Orlando. As you can imagine, like everything else Disney touches, it was magical. I am constantly in awe of the way Disney runs their business and as it was pointed out to us they are not in the “hotel and theme park” business but rather in the “guest experience” business. For a full recap of this event please check out these awesome blogs here, here and here.
It is always interesting to me what people walk away from a conference with. I’ve read many of the blogs some of the attendees have written and while I think we all had a rich experience, we all came away with something different. What filled my soul and made me think was two of the amazing speakers, Chris Brogan (more on Chris later) and Rene Syler.
Admittedly, I did not know who Rene Syler was before the conference. Being Canadian, I wasn’t really up on my American morning shows. I did a little research on her before heading to the conference and quite honestly was sort of “Meh, not sure what she’s going to offer me”.
Rene, my apologies.
From the moment Rene walked on stage, I felt immediately connected with her. Funny, vibrant, self-deprecating, and honest, she stole my heart. Rene has a story worth hearing. It reminds us that there is only one journey through this life, so make it what you want it to be and get on with it.
Why is Rene qualified to tell you that? Hmmm, well, let’s see. Maybe because she had her ass kicked by a series of life-altering ordeals. First, as if it’s not humiliating enough to be fired, Rene had to endure being fired from a national program. Second, in a move that stirred some controversy, Rene had her breasts removed in a preventive mastectomy a mere two weeks later. Both her parents had breast cancer. Then, she lost all her hair after another illness. It’s interesting to note here that gasps from the audience came when she said she lost her hair, not when she talked about having her breasts removed, something Rene was quick to point out and laugh with us about. Finally, she dealt with depression.
And then...and then, she reinvented herself. She started her second act and hasn’t looked back. And this is why I love her, in a totally non-creepy way of course. I love her because she understands that YOU make the journey, YOU make the choices, YOU decide the path. Sometimes life hands you a pile of crap. It ain’t pretty. But it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to lie there and wallow in it, or clean it up.
So what’s Rene’s mission? She’s here to tell you that perfect is unattainable and that good enough is good enough. She wants you to be at peace with who you are so she started her website Good Enough Mother as an extension to her book of the same name. Rene offers her from-the-hip opinion on just about anything and she’ll make you laugh out loud and ask hard questions all at the same time.
Because this blog is not about me, I’ll only say this, I too am in my second act. I am happier at 41 then I ever was in my twenties. Ok, ok, I’m not so happy with my abs but they’re good enough and that’s good enough, right? Second acts are the good stuff because you made all the mistakes in the first.
At the conference, I tweeted “Sitting behind @goodenufmother. Would it be stalkerish if I hugged her?” In true social media mom fashion, she read my tweet on her laptop only seconds later and I got my hug. Have I mentioned I love her? Next time we meet, wine and lots of it.
*Read Rene’s take on Disney Social Media Moms here.