Parenting Lessons From SOBCon08

If you read my very excited post a couple of weeks ago, you know that I got to go to SOBCon08, a conference for business bloggers. This was my first time going to a blogging conference, let alone a professional business function. I definitely felt like I was waaaay out of my league very quickly.


The people I met were just wonderful, and on top of that the speakers had quite a bit of wisdom to share that I appreciated tremendously. I wanted to share some of my experience with you, and decided to put a parenting spin on things, since this is-after all-a parenting blog. Ready? Here goes.

Anita Bruzzese was the first speaker. She reminded us that we need to be sure of the source and credibility of information, be fair in our dealings, and humble when we make mistakes.

Brian Clark told us that we need to be clear about our business. My children benefit when I’m clear and up front about Hubby’s and my role as the parents and leaders in the home. When we take the responsibility and control, we create a safe place for our children to grow and prosper.

Lorelle VanFossen wanted us to define and clarify our purpose. Have you ever thought about that? What’s your purpose in parenting? If you want bonus points with Lorelle, be able to state that purpose in ten words or less.

Chris Garrett spoke about getting more bang from your blog. Specifically, he asked us to focus on the processes and to consider both what we do and how we do it. Taking some time to consider how I respond to the boys and over what issues is a good thing.

David Bullock taught that we should have an action plan. I can agree with that! As a parent, I need to take my purpose and process and put them together into a plan.

Next up, Chris Brogan. An expert in telecommunications and social media, Chris told us that home is where you should focus on conversations that build trust. Make people feel they are part of a special community. Without trust, community dies. Don’t wreck trust.

Liz Strauss emphasized the importance of being thankful for every individual we meet, regardless of how nice (or not nice) they may be. She told us to always find a way to say Thank You.
Wendy Piersall was the final speaker on Saturday. She shared a quote I hadn’t heard before (attributed to Nelson Mandela or Marianne Williamson).

We ask ourselves, who am I to be talented, gorgeous, and exceptional? Who are you NOT to be that? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

I have to be honest, this one hit me hard. From both the business blogging and parenting perspectives, why can’t I succeed? I told my friend Naomi that really what it comes down to is this: I have to decide whether I’m going to be beautiful and fabulous or not. And you know what? I’m choosing fabulous. I’m not going to be perfect, and there will be mistakes but that doesn’t have to stop me from being terrific.

I can’t finish writing about the conference without saying just a bit about some of the people I met who touched my heart. Thanks to
Shashi Bellamkonda for his enthusiasm and cheery impromptu video interviews,
Valerie Combs and Sandra Ponce de Leon for letting me listen and soak up information,
Lisa Cree for her welcoming smile,
Mary-Lynn Foster for audio advice and a fun conversation Saturday night,
Jon Gatrell and his wonderful wife Emily for being such great company on the boat ride,
Karen Hanrahan for gentle wisdom and input,
Vicky Hennegan for inspiration in parent-blogging,
Stephen Hopson for making personal friends with every single person attending,
Christine Kane for the wonderful music,
Kristen King for the bathroom humor, Update: explanation given in the comments. 😉
Jen Knoedl for telling me I’m a normal person and for the golden handcuff story,
Dawud Miracle for just being a big sweetie who’s warm and welcoming when a certain individual is scared out of her wits to walk up to total strangers and say hello,
Karen Putz, for an amazing smile and sense of fun
Michelle VandePas for pointing out that we’re called to what we’re called to and don’t sweat it,
Lorelle VanFossen for pushing me to stretch out of that comfort zone,
Joanna Young for encouragement when we chatted Saturday evening,
and finally
Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker for putting on the event.

I know I’ve probably missed some folks and I’m very sorry. Here’s the list of everyone who attended. I’ve read many of the blogs written by the attendees, and they’re terrific. Please check some of them out if you have the time.

Cliff Atkinson
Shashi Bellamkonda
JJ Betts
Chris Brown
Chris Brogan
Harry Brooks
Anita Bruzzese
Dave Bullock
Mark Carter
Brian Clark
Tom Clifford
Clay Collins
Valerie Combs
Chris Cree
Lisa Cree
Thomas Croghan
Donna Cutting
David Dalka
Kevin Dixie
Tim Draayer
Monica Duncan
Andrew Dubber
Easton Ellsworth
Kevin Ferrasci O’Malley
Jonathan Fields
Mary-Lynn Foster
Annie Galvin Teich
Brian Gardner
Chris Garrett
Jon Gatrell
Phil Gerbyshak
Scot Herrick
John Hong
Stephen Hopson
Robert Hruzek
Timothy Johnson
Pete Jones
Todd Jordan
Bob Kakoliris
Christine Kane
Kristen King
Scott Kolbe
Jen Knoedl
Stephen Koernig
Bryan Kress
George Krueger
Tammy Lenski
James G. Lindberg
Eli Litscher
Rick Mahn
Sim Margolis
Michael Martine
Becky McCray
Maria Meadows
Cory Miller
Ann Michael
Dawud Miracle
Debra Moorhead
Matthew Murphy
Paul O’Flaherty
Tim Padar
Jesse Petersen
Melissa Pierce
Wendy Piersall
Sandra Ponce de Leon
J. Erik Potter
Karen Putz
Susan R Quandt
Levy Rivers
Barbara Rozgonyi
Jeff Sable
Sheila Scarborough
Mary Schmidt
Derek Semmler
Maria Sharon
David Sherbow
Steve Sherlock
Brad Shorr
Louise Silberman
Sonia Simone-Rossney
Julien Smith
Stephen Smith
Michael Snell
Derrick Sorles
Terry Starbucker
Liz Strauss
Jon Swanson
Ruth M Sylte
Windsor Tanner
Michelle Vandepas
Lorelle VanFossen
Colleen Wainwright
Denise Wakeman
James D. Walton
Randy Windsor
Sandy Wrenshaw
Joanna Young

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to learn from SOBCon.

Image courtesy of shashiBellamkonda via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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20 Responses to “Parenting Lessons From SOBCon08”

  1. Happy Mom’s Day Amy! That is such a great quote. Marianne Williamson wrote it for a speech that Nelson Mandala gave. That is why they are often both attributed to it.
    I don’t remember tell you not to sweat it, but what great advice! I think I’ll take it. Cheers. Nice to have you as a new friend.

  2. Amy, thanks so much for being a part of SOBCon08! I’m happy to see that you took away many useful things from the weekend. And yes, you are fabulous! See you next year, and in the meantime, keep up the great writing (and don’t lose the Dreamers Disease!).

    All the best,

  3. Amy says:

    Hi Michelle! Happy Mother’s Day to you as well! And thank you for clearing up the quote. I did look around but different sites had different attributions so I gave up and credited everyone. Guess I should have looked more carefully, eh? You gave the advice when we were discussing adoption Friday night on the boat. Remember?

    Hi Terry! Thank you so much! I’ll keep dreaming, and hope to hear from you often between now and next year when we all reunite at SOBCon09.

  4. Todd Jordan says:

    Happy Mother’s Day.
    Glad your time at SOBCon08 rocked as much as mine. The presenters were fantastic as well as the sessions.
    Feel free to contact me as well. I’d love to keep in contact with others from the conference.

  5. Amy says:

    Hi Todd, Just went and read about your SOBCon experience on your blog! Man, that Thai restaurant you visited sounded so delicious. I’ve never eaten Thai before. 🙂 Will have to try and get there next time. And I didn’t know you were a programmer. My Hubby is as well. It was great to meet you!

  6. Mother Earth says:

    Choosing fabulous – that’s absolutely brilliant Amy! I loved that you were so earnest in your participation, scared or not or even over your head – you hung in there and best of all you took away so many great lessons – doesnt’ surprise me that earnest parenting is the name of your blog – It’s just like you

  7. Amy says:

    Awwwww, shucks. Thanks Karen. 🙂

  8. Stephen Hopson says:


    Happy Mother’s Day (yesterday, actually, LOL). Did you do anything special? Thanks for telling everyone here that I made friends with everyone at SOBCon08. Well, I certainly didn’t stop myself from trying, didn’t I? With over 100 people there and only 3 days, it was virtually impossible to meet every single one of them.

    For instance, I didn’t know that a blogger named Jonathan Fields was there. He had caught my eye sometime last year because of a “so-called scandal” that erupted when he offered the freelancing writers a chance to compete in a contest for a book cover. It was with very good and honorable intentions when he did it but it backfired and caused a firestorm in the writing community. I wrote an email to give him my support and thought how nice it would be to meet him “someday.” Well, he was at the conference and I missed him! Darn.

    Thanks the great post. See you next year?

  9. Kristen King says:

    Oh no, it sounds like I was being gross rather than talking about the bathroom itself! LOL

    It was great to meet you. See you next year?


  10. Amy says:

    Hi Stephen! Darn!! I would have liked to hear the end of the story from Jonathan. I read about the controversy at the time and thought he got treated very badly. Guess I’ll have to go next year and try to meet more people myself.

    Kristen, LOL. Sorry about that but I couldn’t resist. For the record, there was a sign in the women’s bathroom warning people with portable microphones to turn them off because “all ambient noises” and conversations would be transmitted to the conference room otherwise.

    I will do my level best to be at SOBCon09.

  11. Amy,

    It was very nice to meet you. I enjoyed the company of all the SOBCon people and can’t wait to meet again in 09.


  12. Stephen Hopson says:


    Yes, I thought he got treated badly too and I felt bad. I just wish I had known he was there – maybe he was just being obscure on purpose? Oh well….hey, Happy Momma’s Day! 🙂

  13. As far as I know, Jonothan Fields was sick and didn’t make it to SOBCon. Either that or he was very obscure!

  14. Amy, this new design rocks.

    So glad I got to meet you at SOBCon.

    Keep up the amazing work here.

  15. Amy says:

    Shashi, thanks for stopping by. You’re a lot of fun to listen to and I appreciated your slide presentation on Sunday morning.

    Stephen, I’m glad Michelle mentioned that Jonathon wasn’t there. Sorry he was sick though. Now I don’t feel bad for missing him; I would have liked to shake his hand and offer my support as well. Hopefully he’ll stop by and see he’s got additional supporters.

    Michelle, thanks for the info. I was starting to feel bad about missing him!

    Easton, thanks so much for the compliment! I’m really pleased with the results. It was great meeting you in person too. I wish I’d have had more chance to chat. The little bit I heard about some of your travels abroad was very interesting.

  16. Stephen Hopson says:

    I’m glad it’s cleared up that Jonathan was missing in action at SOBCON08 because if he had been there, I would have regretted missing him.

    Anyway, I just left a comment at his blog about a very funny satire he wrote about some A-list bloggers and am hoping he’ll respond. The interesting thing is he is actually following me on Twitter so I don’t know what’s up.

  17. Amy says:

    Ugh! I just realized that the link to Jonathon’s blog was messed up. Doggone it. I fixed it and clicked over to read the satire, it was hilarious. Can’t wait to see what the reactions are, lol.

  18. Stephen Hopson says:

    Yeah and did you see my comment in there? I’m hoping that’ll reach him.

    Nice to be connected with you. 🙂

  19. Amy-You were in my line of site at SOBCon and I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet and chat. I had many wonderful conversations but so many folks that I didn’t get to meet as our time together went so fast.

    You’ve done a lovely summary of the presenters and synthesized the essence of each topic into a meaningful statement. Thanks for that.

    I’m glad to meet you through your blog.

  20. Amy says:

    Stephen – Yes, I saw the comment. Hope he responded!

    Annie – There were so many great people to meet, weren’t there? Perhaps we’ll get to increase the circle next year. Thanks so much for the compliment on my post. I worked very hard on that. I’m pleased to virtually meet you as well. 🙂

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