Founded by Tomayia Colvin Education, the Cookout is described as “one part photography conference and one part family cookout.” After attending early this week I would like to add that The Cookout is definitely a way of life!
Since I began my journey as a photographer/entrepreneur/business owner over ten years ago, I have always wanted to be in a space among like minded individuals that have the same passion and drive as me when it comes to my craft. To my knowledge spaces like this didn’t exist. Over time I have seen begin to change, but for the most part I stayed in my own lane out of fear.
Last year I decided to change that so I could meet my own personal goals. Attending this conference was an investment in myself and my business.
I’ve been to other conferences before, but I have always felt like I didn’t fit in.
Not that I’m trying to “fit in” I’ve always been different.
The Cookout isn't like any other. The whole vibe was exhilarating. Honesty, I can’t even put it into words to describe the overall experience. I’m still trying to process it. However, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed being in a space with so many people of color who are all talented, creative, and professional photographers.
Last night as I was reflecting on the sea of knowledge shared, the challenging questions asked, the love shown, and the charge to level up, I thought OMG I shut down. Why did I freeze? I didn't talk to… I didn’t network with… I forgot to take lots of pictures. Then I realized I didn’t freeze at all. I was in learning mode, like the third grade student in me who loved math and just wanted to learn the newest algebraic equation. I was in an environment to learn more about something I almost gave up on.
I’m glad I didn’t give up.
Soloprenuership can be a lonely journey at times. I get it, but in order to grow you have to be intentional with how you plan to grow. For me, I knew I needed to sit at a table where my heart said I belonged. The Cookout is definitely home.
I left this conference reminded of these 4 things:
Self-confidence levels the playing field.
Don’t be afraid to stop and learn.
Share what you know to anyone who has the guts to ask you.
Get shit done.
What better way to do this, than with family?
By the way, 2019 I’m teaching at The Cookout in NOLA! OMG! Momma!
Register here! I hope to see you there!