Tribe Conference 2017: 3 Unforgettable Lessons That Changed Me Forever

Frank and Nicole Tribe Conference 2017


This year I attended the Tribe Conference for the first time.

It all came about by happenstance. One day I was tallying up my book sales and noticed that the grand total had exceeded 25,000!

I felt as excited as a foam snake compressed in a can – you know, the 3 foot long green one with black spots that springs out when you take the lid off.

So of course, I had to share my news with the world.

Like anyone could have stopped me.

I told all my friends on Facebook. I shared it on my profile page and my author page. I posted in all my groups without a thought as to whether it was cool or not. I even messaged my closest friends in case they’d missed it somewhere out there.

Then out of nowhere, I got a message from Jeff Goins.

“Hey, what’s this I hear about you selling so many books? Message me with details.”

I immediately went to Messenger and discovered he’d sent me a friend request.

What? How could I have missed this? I mean, when it comes to Facebook sometimes, I’m one of those FOMO folks.

I sent him the number.

Then it dawned on me.

“Hey, I wrote about this. Here’s the link.”

One thing led to another. Jeff shared my post. He invited me on his podcast. Then he invited me to speak at the Tribe Conference.

All because as Jeff said, I “let it slip that I had sold 25,000 eBooks.”


I Didn’t Think I Could Go

Back in April when Jeff asked me to come, my chest tightened up for a minute.

“How am I going to be able to afford this?” I wondered.

Then I thought about the recordings I’d been listening to. One of the messages I’d heard again and again was this:

Don’t wait until you’re ready. Act now and what you need will come.

I felt like I was standing at the edge of my parents’ eternally cold pool. The best way to get over the shock of the cold water hitting your skin is to jump in with abandon.

“Sure, I’d love to.” I messaged those words and hit send.

It was set.

Over the next 30 days, I had two coaching sessions that paid for my room.

Here’s to jumping in!

Frank, Jackie, and Jeff Tribe Conference 2017

Jeff Goins interviews Jackie Bledsoe and me.

3 Incredible and Unforgettable Lessons

I came to the Tribe Conference with an empty notebook, a few pens, and a hatful of expectations.

I knew the speakers would be good. I knew I’d meet lots of people. I knew I’d leave with plenty to finish my marketing plan.

But the best lessons are often the most surprising.

When you expect the best, your reality can exceed your expectations. Click To Tweet


Lesson #1 – It’s Not About Me at All

My fondest memories years ago revolve around me being popular.

I love it when people look to me for guidance, advice, and leadership. It lifts my soul to the highest mountain where people go to get their picture taken while they raise their hands to the sky and grin from ear to ear.

While the feeling makes me tingle, I realize it’s not about me. What people want is what I have to offer:

  • Encouragement that their dreams aren’t stupid or worthless
  • A warm smile and a hearty hug that radiates unconditional love
  • A listening ear that makes them feel valuable

When it’s all about me, people can tell. I feel fake and manipulative. It’s enough to make me want to join a loner’s commune.

Treat people like gold and you’ll never feel alone or run short of friends.

Tribe Builders Network Tribe Conference 2017

Tribe Builders Network members at the Tribe Conference.

Lesson #2- The People Are Way Better Than I Imagined

When I arrived, I had Facebook profile picture expectations of the people I would meet.

You naturally fill in the gaps when you don’t have all the details. Is this person short or tall? What will his or her voice sound like? Will they be friendly, and if so, how friendly?

I walked into the Meetup beforehand excited to see how accurate I was.

I’m proud to say that everyone I met is passionate about what they do – no matter how long they’ve been at it. Though we come from the four corners of the country – and even the world – in this setting, we were family.

We talked and hugged.

We broke bread together.

We celebrated each other’s dreams.

It was, is, and always will be beautiful.

Human connection is essential to success. Click To Tweet


Lesson #3- The Most Powerful Principles Are the Simple Ones

As the weekend passed, I filled my notebook with endless scribblings.

In the moments between remarkable statements, I started connecting the dots between what I heard and what I learned before.

Here are 3 simple truths that arose from the flood of information that sent my brain swimming.

  1. Everyone wants hope. That’s it. We buy books, take courses, and hire coaches because we believe they will bring us the hope we long for.
  2. When we do less, we can do more. That sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Be honest. Don’t you really want to spend your time doing the things that matter? You can’t do it all. There are other people who can do what you can’t. Let them.
  3. When we use our strengths, we magnify our efforts. Nicole Akers and I have an invaluable partnership in The Tribe Builder’s Network. I am the dreamer. She is great with details. If either of us tried to do it all ourselves, the group wouldn’t be the same.

And without the people pictured above, the dreams and details wouldn’t matter.

Don’t overlook the simple truths.


Now Do This

What simple truths have you overlooked? Take time this week to write them down, think about them, and apply them.

Then leave a comment about how it went for you.

If you have a chance to go to the Tribe Conference next year, I highly recommend it!

Here’s a bonus for you who read to the end. This painting was done by a super-talented artist named Mike Brennan. You can learn more about Mike here.

Learn more about Tribe Conference here.

Happy Writing! I wish you every success you dream will be yours.

Tribe Conference Painting

Posted in Writer Marketing, writer's community, writing, writing success and tagged , , .

I'm a Writing Coach, a Promotion Strategist, and an Entrepreneur. I help writers engage readers, sell their ideas, and build their tribes. I design non-sleazy promotion plans for artists, writers, and other creatives. When I'm not writing, I love coffee and conversation.


  1. I enjoyed reading these unforgettable lessons from the conference this weekend that changed you forever! I like #2 where you point out that the people you met were way better than you imagined. Tweeted this quote ” human connection is essential to success” I enjoyed looking at the pictures too! The one Mike Brennon did of you,Jackie, and Jeff on stage is so great and very well done! 😀

  2. Frank
    I’m so glad to have met you – even if only
    online. I’m trying to refocus on doing one or two things. Just not sure which yet. We leave for AZ in a month. Hoping more time to focus there.
    Selling Christian children’s books is not easy. Certainly on line seems impossible.
    But I’ll keep learning.

  3. Frank, I just knew you’d save a hug for me, and you did. I was so glad to meet you in person and to see that you are just as I imagined, warm, caring and someone who loves cheering for others. Had a great time at the conference and so glad I got to go. Enjoyed your post. I knew I would.

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