#CABOPRESS: A Conference Like No Other

#CABOPRESS: A Conference Like No Other

Let me start this off by saying it was an amazing experience. I’ll tell you all about how it was and why it was soon. But let me just get it out of the way that if you’ve never been to a leadership and mastermind conference before, this could potentially spoil any future attempts. Yes I was a first timer among several other first timers and also several alumni members. I think it was a good mix of both and very quickly it didn’t matter because everyone became pretty familiar with each other.

What Is CaboPress?

Cabo Sign on the beach

It’s a leadership and mastermind conference that Chris Lema hosts in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico once a year. It’s a week long (M-F) conference where there are two presenters/speakers each morning for about an hour. The topics will range or vary from each presenter, but all derived from personal experiences in business, life, family, and strategy. The meeting attire is casual as a bathing suit, sun glasses, and sun tan lotion. Yea you read that right the first time. There’s a large infinity pool that overlooks the beach and ocean, and bamboo covered areas on the patio that is split in three or four ways littered with pre-rolled beach towels and lounge chairs. If you fancy a morning workout Drew and Joy put on an intense but beginner friendly session each morning on a beach-side courtyard where the sun is rising over the horizon as you’re kicking butt.

Then there’s breakfast with made to order dishes and buffet style stations that include but not limited to fried/baked chicken, seafood, fresh fruits, yogurt, waffles, danishes, and of course mimosas. Once you’re done with that you shower and reset for the 9AM first talk. The talks happen at the same time per session but at opposite ends of the pool. You can opt to swim or walk over and attend either based on what you’re interested in learning and contributing to. Don’t want to get in the pool? No problem, you can sit poolside or in a lounge chair with your notebook in hand.

Poolside Service & Networking

Poolside conference

Once the morning sessions are done, we are all strategically divided into predetermined lunch groups based on your badge number. Yea, we have badges to help you remember names of the people you’re meeting. Key for a first timer like myself, also because I remember faces better than I do names – but challenged myself to be great at names this week. Lunch can be decided by you and your group at any of the restaurants on the property. There’s a lot to choose from and though I was there for days I still couldn’t visit them all. Now this part is probably the more familiar part of any conference when you break for lunch and have a couple of questions given by Chris to answer with your group. What isn’t familiar is that after 90min or so of lunch with full liquor available, everyone congregates at another large infinity pool to debrief on the morning talks, network, and get familiar with other attendees.

While you’re there, poolside service attendees ask for drink orders and right in the middle of great conversations and before you know it another round was ordered and on the way. Day one I reserved myself and didn’t double-fist. But by day two I was all in the kool-aid. The really cool thing about this time in the afternoon was that nothing was structured. I had conversations with people one on one and in small groups about topics I probably could never get face time with outside of this conference. Let alone ask them to get in a pool with to get serious about strategy and tactics with.

Strategic Groups & Dinners

Cabopress dinner group

To credit Chris, he does a great job of selecting the right people to attend. I now have relationships with people that I’m able to carry post Cabo that I don’t know that I would have had the opportunity for otherwise. Each night we were tasked with new dinner group mates as well as two challenging questions we all had to answer and discuss. So while you’re meeting new people and getting to know others, you’re also keeping business in the forefront of your minds. This is key so that we’re continually stimulated. Again, having full liquor doesn’t hurt the worry of introverted introductions nor does it lend itself to anything inappropriate. There were two nights where we deep dived into some business ideas and the feedback from each person at the table was invaluable. Not just for the business owners, but for all of us that may have thought of doing the same or understanding what the challenges are for a business in that sector of our creative industry. Sometimes we get so wrapped in our own efforts that we look at other people accomplishments and assume they don’t bleed red or cry real tears just like we do. I’m no where near as successful as some of the other attendees, but to hear them talk about their struggles and challenges as well as their wins was something that resonated with me deeply.

There’s really no good way to wrap this up because there’s plenty more I could try and explain. Though I hope these words helped, I don’t think they’re enough. You have to experience this for yourself to really understand the value. Chris would say, “I’ve set this all up for you, now you’ll get out of this whatever you put into it”. I’m paraphrasing but it was something along those lines. Yet he was right. If you wanted to sit by the beach all week, you could. If you wanted to eat all day and read a book by the pool, you could. If you wanted to enjoy the balcony in your room and read a book while listening to the waves crashing on shore, you could. I chose to spend as much time as I could around everyone that was there to not only learn what I could from them, but also provide my own experiences and knowledge with the hopes that I could give them the same value back. Leaving this conference was bittersweet because I truly enjoyed being away from all my normal distractions and immersed in a productive and inspiring environment. Where most multi-day conferences I typically frequent, I’m detached only during the few session hours but back to my normal mindset and grind each evening and tucking away ideas for a future uncommitted time. In this case, I came back not only refreshed, but had a sense of accountability to everyone I’m not connected with to really take action. I’ve already seen some ideas launch like Tessa’s Devocate. She came into Cabopress with an idea, got some great feedback from the old and new attendees and she quickly launched it. So keep an eye on me and see what new things are announced and published ahead of 2020 instead of after New Years Day.


Getting over the Hump – An Inspiration for Blog Writers Block

Even those who have great aptitude in writing sometimes find themselves with literally NO WORDS! Unlike our verbal language, writing is actually one of the most difficult activities that we humans use to formalize communication sin la boca (without your mouth if you don’t speak Spanish).  It sounds simple but as Wikipedia has defined it:  writer’s block is “a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand.”  Uh, yeah- I couldn’t have said it better.  But what does one do when the deadline is looming and the children are to bed and it’s man vs. machine and you realize…I’VE GOT NOTHIN’!  Thank God writing pro’s like Mike Rose (famed UCLA Graduate School faculty member and author) even acknowledges that it truly is “an inability to begin or continue writing for reasons other than lack of basic skill or commitment“. Whew…I’m off the hook a little!  But now what do I do about it?

Why do you we do this to ourselves…it‘s supposed to speak back to you right? Like in some gone from a book to the big screen movie—the leading character is some highly paid British actor/actress paid to throw their laptop out the window of their 5th story NYC walk-up in utter despair.  Yeah…in the real world most of us don’t have the kind of money that allows for those despairing moments.  So I have opted not to spend hours wasting good wine or time employing this useless tactic. Instead I think it’s best to stare at something else.  Walk around your house- look at some pictures, clean, cook, do a little laundry or run an errand.  Heck, play with your kid or a game of chess with your spouse.  Do something else besides stewing in the quagmire of I have no clue. You would be amazed how making the best salmon with a lemon dill sauce can jump-start a blog idea.  Personal Example: One day I was frustrated about a concept I dreamt about (and DID NOT GET UP & WRITE IT DOWN.. I know bad, bad, bad) and was about to scream when my daughter asked me to color with her.  As I was taking note of how precise my “staying within the lines” was and how the unbridled charm of a child’s Crayola skills were, yes the cliché lightbulb went off.  And before you knew it, while she was still coloring outside the lines, I was pecking away on my laptop.  Writers cramp over came writers block and I was grateful for it.

You know what they say in real estate…Location, Location Location.  And I agree. After a very busy weekend and stressful morning I found myself not able to color in anybody’s lines or muster up enough energy required to even stare at a blank page.  So what else could I do to get the boost usually relegated to a high-priced cup of Starbucks coffee?  I went outside. Yup in the lovely 70° weather, I listened to the sounds of a almost perfect May day  in Connecticut.  And before I knew it, several titles/concepts came to me which enabled me to write this blog AND  birth 2-3 ideas for some other projects.  Fantastic right!  Sometimes a simple change of location can do wonders for inspiration.  Being jailed at your desk is not worth it when you can get some fresh air and use the objects/sounds/feelings around you to motivate your imagination. Like an artist who can use a host of colors or materials to create their masterpiece, so can writers.  And I’m not talking laptop vs. plume…I mean what you use to connect ideas/concepts/words together to tap into your linguistic intelligence and unlock the door to your next novella. 

1.) Interview a customer about particular concerns/challenges as well as solutions and then blog about it.  I’m sure they will love the attention & it gets their name advertised in social media for free. Or you can opt to share an anecdote about an issue that occurred in your own business, from the problem to the solution.

2.) Dialogue with industry-friends via social media and let the responses shape a blog post or video blog with them weighing in on topics relevant to industry news items.

3.) Consider product or service comparisons, a Consumer Reports of sort but on issues like social media, graphic design, use of WordPress themes vs. traditional HTML websites.

4.) Report on a conference or webinar you attended giving perspective to real issues facing people in your own industry or some great highlights and tricks of the trade that you learned.

5.) Address customer questions you’ve received on the same topic/aspect of service.  This lets them know that you’re listening and are willing to receive feedback once it’s out on the www.

6.) Expand upon a comment you wrote on someone else’s blog & parlay that into your own blog post. Tread lightly here, these are your peers after all.  But bringing in a different angle never hurts.

7.) Correlate what inspires your daily life into the business world and create a blog connection. Hence, look out for my upcoming blog “Coloring In and Out of the Lines in Social Media” – thanks to my daughter’s crayons.