Hmmmm, where do I begin? There is sooo much that I want to write but I guess I should start from the very beginning. Jenny (not Coach Jen) contacted me awhile back and asked that I keep the fact that SP was going to have their first ever conference in San Diego a secret. Wow, was that tough!!! I wanted to share the news RIGHT AWAY!!! LOL!!! She asked me to look over some maps and things for the run & walk that they were planning. It was fun helping her and supporting the awesome work she did.
A little while after that Jenny asked me to submit my weight loss story. They were requesting members to submit a video. Unfortunately, I didn't have access to a video camera that would allow me to edit the footage in a reasonable amount of time. I was bummed but put it out of my head. A week or two later, Jenny contacted me and asked if i would be willing to write up my weight loss story and submit some photos and the SP staff would put together the video for me. Now that, I could do!!!! I wrote up my story, found some photos, took some new photos and read my story over the phone for it to be recorded. Jenny and Grant were great. They were very supportive and encouraging. It looked like I would be presenting at the convention!!!! Little old me!!!! I couldn't believe my luck!!!
So for about 4-6 weeks I knew about the convention, the presentation, the video, etc....and I couldn't tell anyone!!!! URGH!!!! I was bursting at the seems to squeel my joy and excitement to the world. The announcement of the convention and the speakers couldn't come soon enough!!!! I was SUPER DUPER excited to share my story and have the platform to encourage and hopefully motivate others to persue their goals.
The next thing I know it is Friday, May 1 and the SP team has arranged for the panel members and the volunteers to meet at the Convention Center to go over the logistics of the day. Yes!!! I was super excited to meet Jenny in person.
Jenny and I the day before the convention
Felicia (FHAMWEY) and I carpooled down to the center and found our way to Jenny (she had on a sparkpeople shirt which made it easy to find her) an then I saw a number of my SP friends who were volunteer. We were excited to see one another and check out the location. Jenny showed us through part of the "I Can Do It" convention that was taking place at the same time and was also sponsored by Hay House (they sponsored the SP convention, too....LOVE THAT!) and then we went up the stairs to the room.
Right as we walked in the door, I start hearing more squeels of excitement!!! "Oh my gosh, there is SPARKGUY!!!!! WHOOO HOOOO!!!!!" and then I see him. The man himself! LOL! Then more squeeeeeling! "There is Coach Nicole" and it just went on and on for about 15-20 minutes!!!! Most of us were excited and semi-star struck! LOL! We asked for photos and chatted it up with them.
The 5 panel members
Resident Expert Nancy was there and it was great meeting her. She is such a nice lady and so supportive on the boards. I had my photo taken with her, too!
I remember Violet (Sparklingviolet) saying "Coach Nicole, you and I work out all the time together and you just don't know it!!!" I was cracking up and smiling to no end....but it keeps getting better!!!
When the chatter died down a bit, Jenny got us back on track and we all got to see the other panel member's videos. It was awesome. I saw my story live for the first time and it was exciting. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and I felt like I was dreaming. What an honor to have the opportunity to share my story. I was inspired by my fellow panel members. They are all amazing!!! If you have a chance, check out their pages! Their names are:
After we got all the logistics were taking care of we all said our goodbye's to the SP staff and a few of us walked over to a townhouse that one of our fellow SP members rented out. It was the official meetup spot! Thanks to Greg for finding such a fabulous spot and for allowing us to come over and hang out. We had a blast checking out the place, chatting and taking photos.
Finally, it was time to call it a day and get back home. Saturday was sure to be more of the same but at a whole nother level!!! It was hard to sleep because I was SOOOO EXCITED!!!! I had butterflies anytime I thought about presenting but then I would get even more excited and I had to try and quiet my mind!! I needed my beauty rest! hehe!
The morning came and I was up and at it. The convention was finally here. All the anticipation and excitement was mounting and you couldn't peel the smile off of my face! WHOOO HOOOO!!!!! I didn't want anyone to pinch me because I thought I could be dreaming!
I got to the convention a little bit late to participate in the early morning walk to I went to the conference room and ran into some of the SP staff. I then decided to volunteer at the registration counter and welcome all the attendees. That was fun! You could FEEL the excitement in the air. The spark was buzzing all around!
Felicia, Violet and I at the registration booth
Time was flying by and it was almost 9am!! I realized at that point that I had forgotten my notes on what I was planning to say at home!!! Yikes!!! I started to get a tad bit nervous but I knew that it would all work out. Some of the prompts were on the powerpoint and I could talk about weightloss, healthy living, sparkpeople, etc....to no end!!! It wouldn't be an issue! LOL!
I took a seat with the other panel members and we got to hear the Sparkguy give his welcome and talk about the history of SP, his journey and how that journey got him to the point of speaking in front of about 150 sparks! It was entertaining and I definately agree on his vision for the lives of those impacted by the website. It is all about recruiting those looking for a diet, getting them on board and then promoting the heck out of it as a lifestyle change!!! This is the key!! He simply hit the nail on the head with that one! Yay!!! SOmeone got it right!
We then took a short break and next up was the panel!!! My time to shine!! WHOOO HOOO!!! Debbie went first and her story is a great one. Her video played, she went out on stage and did her thing! Good job Debbie! I could only hear parts of it because I was preparing to go out next. Everyone clapped and then I heard my video start. Almost time to go out there and gettem!!! I had written a couple of notes on a notecard I got from Stacey (thanks girl!) and then I heard clapping, the door swung open and out I walked. The audience was sooo generous!! They made me feel welcome and comfortable!!
I walked up there and did my thang!!! LOL! I talked about how I have been at maintanence for about 3 years and that this is a lifestyle change. I can't stress that point enough. I get very excitable and animated when I am on stage or presenting.
I also talked about how to focus on this journey by taking it one day at a time. Trying to make the right choices for today because the lifestyle idea is overwhelming...especially when you are struggling with today! I wanted to stress to everyone not to beat themselves up...let yesterday go, don't worry about tomorrow...just do the best you can do today! I pointed a few people out in the audience and let them know that I believed in each one of them and then my time was up!!! Shoot, I had soooo much more to say! LOL! I could have talked for at least an hour, if not longer but they asked we keep our presentations 3-5 minutes.
After I finished, it was Dana's (Zircadia) turn. She did a great job and had some wonderful tips to share. Then Jocelyn (Wolfkitty) went and her story is amazing. She is such an inspiration and a nice person to boot! After she finished, it was Stacey's time to shine. She shed some tears and tugged at some heart strings. She, too, is such a nice lady!!! I think she touched some lives up there...way to spread the spark!
After the panel finished their speeches, it was Q & A time. The audience had some great questions and the panel had some awesome responses. Everyone's journey is different and they all have things to add. I hope the audience enjoyed that part of the day as I much as I did!!! I want to give a big WHOOO HOOOOO to all of you!!! Way to work it girls!!!! Yeahhhhh baby!
After that it was time for a lunch break and some classes led by Coach Nicole. Everyone looked to be having a great time. I used the time to socialize and get some food in my tummy! Luckily, they had a nice spread for those who were volunteering. Thank you SP and Hay House!
The convention continued with a Q & A with some of the SP experts. I missed most of this part because I was scheduled to do an interview around 1pm. That part was fun and the video crew was very nice!! I got to show off my collages, old clothes and share about how much SP has impacted my life. Another awesome opportunity to spread the spark. I can't wait to see the footage and the various ways they will use that footage to promote the site. What a great idea!
When I went back in Resident Expert Nancy was answering some questions about fitness and specifically running. She always gives FANTASTIC advice on the boards! Before I knew it, she was done and Dietician Becky was up there doing her thing! She is a crack up and knew exactly how to keep the audience tuned in. She gave us a quiz to complete about what type of eater you are (Pleasure baby!! LOL!!) and how to slow down and enjoy your food, one morsel at a time. Awesome exercise by the way!
We took a short break and after that ended we had the pleasure of having Cheryl Richardson, Life Coach and Author, speak to our group. I loved hearing what she had to say!!! She makes things that seem very complicated seem pretty simple and straight forward. She validated the fact that you are NOT obligated to do ANYTHING. You make choices. People really struggle with that point (I seem to have an easier time) but found it to be important that we understand....we have a choice!!!! I highly encourage anyone who has the opportunity to hear her speak to go!!! I will be looking into her published material because I enjoyed her presentation very much!
The day was winding down and yet the Sparkguy had a little bit to share with us! He discussed the book and how it has the potential to take SP to the next level. He hopes that by having a book they will get more publicity and how that will impact their future hopes and dreams for the company. Really interesting stuff!!!
Then the day was drawing to a close. All of the SP employees went up on stage and photos were taken. People stuck around and talked. We were given sparkgoodies to share with our new sparkfriends and that was nice. I gave all of mine away and got a number of them in return!!! Thank you to all of my new buddies and I hope to see most of you on a future outing!
There were about 8 of us that decided we were starving and wanted to get a bite to eat. We walked around downtown for about 45 minutes trying to find a place before we settled on Indian food. I hadn't had that type of food before but my fellow sparks pointed me in the right direction and I loved my food. The company and the conversation was great but everyone was pretty exhausted.
We paid our bill, walked back to the convention center and said our goodbyes!!! I was exhausted and yet completely satisfied. I am still riding high after such an exciting event. I am turning my personal spark into a full blown blaze people!!!! Can I get a WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?????