This was my fifth time covering the Texas Conference for Women on Bring Mommy A Martini, thanks to the suggestion of my good friend and savvy press hotshot, Travis Baker, the Austin Metro Publisher at Community Impact.
“See if you can get press credentials,” he said matter-of-factly to me while we had coffee one morning when I was whining about how I wanted to go to the Conference, to which I responded, with a crumb of muffin in the corner of my mouth, “Wait, you can do that?”
I was just a tiny baby blogger at that time, so I didn’t know all the ins and outs of this blogging world just yet.
I’m a grownup blogger, now, kicked back at my desk all Ron Burgundy, writing about very important things and looking like a boss while I do it.
This year’s event was my favorite, but I shouldn’t be surprised. It gets better every year, which is why it’s sold out the last few years.
One of my favorite speakers of all time was one of the keynotes this year.
Shawn Achor has one of the most-viewed TED Talks of all time, and I was lucky enough to see him live five or six years ago in Nashville.
He’s one of my favorites because he’s funny, sucking you right into what he’s saying, and also because he’s a researcher of happiness, which is right up there - for Mark, anyway - with the most absurdly subjective jobs in existence, bumping it up for me as being probably one of the most important jobs in existence.
As you know, we don’t always see eye to eye on the touchy feely things in life. 🤷
Shawn started off his keynote by having everyone pair up, with one person staring intently into the other’s eyes while smiling a deep and genuine smile. The non-smiler was supposed to sit staring back, but with a neutral expression.
And they were supposed to keep that neutral expression. No smiling back.
He shared that studies show 80-85% of people cannot remain neutral because what they’ve found is that when you’re smiling, you send a signal to your brain that you’re smiling, and it does the same thing when you see someone else smiling at you.
Brain scans during these studies show the part of the brain that’s activated and shows that your brain drops dopamine when the brain signals you or someone else is smiling.
I swear to God, I’m obsessed with the brain. Isn’t this the most fascinating thing you’ve ever heard in your entire life?
Similar, but opposite, happens when someone is frowning.
Within 2 minutes of staring at someone frowning, those surrounding that person begin to shift around nervously and move away from the frowny-faced curmudgeon.
He likens this to a wireless connection between our brains.
"Negativity, stress, uncertainty and anxiety can be picked up from other people like second-hand smoke." <— my favorite thing he said that day.
All this supports my belief that sometimes* you can pull your own damn self out of a depressive funk.
Go listen to his TED talk - it’ll be the best 12 minutes of your day, certainly, but possibly even your week or month.
Here’s the thing about this conference: it’s for every woman.
Not just entrepreneurs or business women. There really is something for every woman, like fashion trends, health & fitness, budgeting, and motivational speakers to fire you up about whatever blows your skirt up.
And then, of course, the business and entrepreneurial stuff.
I come away from the event at the end of the day each year saying the same thing: I feel like I’ve had a dose of medicine to amp me up for the year ahead.
One of the 2017 attendees said it perfectly when she said, “I was unprepared for a conference that spoke so directly to me.”
Plan to go with me next year on October 24th! Click here to get email updates when they open up for registration because tickets sell out very fast.
*I say “sometimes” because I’m a big believer and also a current user of pharmaceuticals to manage anxiety and depression, and I can say from experience that sometimes you just can’t pull yourself out of bed just by forcing yourself to smile and hoping your brain sends a dose of dopamine.