1. Meeting my up line for the first time; the fabulous Allison!
2. Attending the Directors Meetings with our CEO Jessica Herrin
3. Meeting Jessica for the first time. Basically I couldn't talk. I just kind of shook her hand and stood there smiling. Real cool Tegan.
4. On stage at Directors Day receiving my Heart of Leadership Star Award
5. Kicking off Hoopla with my team of Chic Executive Officers (the CEOs)
6. Walking the fashion show stage at HOOPLA as an Associate Director
7. Meeting our head of design, Blythe Harris, who has the best style ever!
8. Heading to the Directors Cocktail Party with my fellow directors on our team

So what is HOOPLA? HOOPLA is the annual convention for Stella & Dot Stylists. We receive training, the most amazing life coaching, attend a fashion show to see the new line of product, and dance our hearts out at the best events. This was my first year attending, since last year I was stuck in a three day training for my day job, and let me tell you it was absolutely amazing!

As a die hard academic, I was totally ready to rock my educational process at this conference with a fresh notebook, and arsenal of pens, and plenty of potassium/bananas in case my hand started to cramp up from all the writing. I was prepared for the training specific to my business; how to identify future stylists, how to train them to be successful, how to talk to people about their style (which often times is very wrapped up in how they feel about themselves in general and can be very emotional), and more. What I wasn't prepared for was the wealth of knowledge I gained about how to live a successful and happy life. I work by day in the STEM fields, and we have lots of trainings. Those trainings, however, are entirely technical. I have never once been to a training that focused on how to create a happier life for myself as part of my JOB. At HOOPLA, I received so much training on how to create goals for my life, how to go out and get what I want, how to see the positive in situations, and how to continue to grow as a person and business leader.

I wrote down lots of amazing things that have stuck with me since attending, but what I want to share with you now are some of my favorite takeaways from HOOPLA. And to be honest, none of these are really specific to my business. They are just wonderful nuggets that I hope will help you in your life as they have in mine.

What you focus on is what you create
 There is a lot of truth to how visualization and other exercises can help you achieve success. Actually creating an image of you reaching that goal and watching it play over and over in your mind really does help you get there. But the opposite of this is true as well; if you focus on the negative things you wish to avoid you will find more of them in your life. As someone who tends to be a bit of a worrier, this was HUGE for me. I need to spend less time focusing on all the things that can go wrong, and focus on all the things that can go right instead.

You will always have naysayers, but you CHOOSE if they sit in the front seat
Our CEO said this very powerful statement during one of her presentations. We've all got people in our lives who think our goals are crazy. "What is this thing you are doing now? You are selling jewelry? Why would you want to do that? Don't you have a degree and a job in engineering? Can't you do something with that?" Ummmm... why would I NOT want to do this? I had a moment when I first signed on to be a stylist where all I was hearing were the naysayers. In fact, I almost gave up that first month because I felt so beat down by it. But you know what, this was something I wanted to do for ME. I needed that time for myself to do something purely because I enjoyed it. It didn't have to make sense to anyone else but me, because it wasn't for any of them. I controlled where those naysayers sat and I took them from the front row and moved them all the way to the back row cheap seats.

 Things aren't going to happen when you choose
Ain't that the truth. Something I hear all the time is "now just isn't really a good time for me to do X". Well one thing I have learned over the past year or so is that the universe doesn't provide things at the ideal moment. In fact, I'm trying to think of any time in my life where something has just plopped into my lap and I've been like "oh, that's perfect timing". I signed up to be a stylist when I was overworked and out of energy at my previous day job. I then switched day jobs to a new, fabulous one when I was in labor. Like I was doing the job application when I went to the hospital to have my baby. And then I interviewed for the position (and got it) two weeks after giving birth. Was that the idea moment in time to be doing any of that? Absolutely not. But was it the most perfect job opportunity and am I beyond happy that I pulled my ish together and went for it? You betcha! Things don't happen on our schedule. You have to be ready to just bust out your lady balls and make things happen when the opportunity shows up.

True leaders don't create more followers, they create more leaders
I've worked with several kinds of people in my life, and by far the better of the group are the ones that actually want you to surpass them. They are happy and proud to teach you everything they know so that you can go on to soar and create something beautiful and successful in your own life. They aren't threatened by your success but instead proud of it! The best leaders in the industry are those that rather than ask you to follow them, will give you the tools and training to become your own leader.

Be open to learning something new
The most successful leaders I have seen are the ones that are constantly working to learn. They read books in their spare time to improve their craft. They ask for feedback so they can continue to improve their business processes and approaches. The worst thing you can do in any type of business or industry is remain stagnant and repeat something because it has "always worked before". It is so important to be flexible and willing to try new ideas so that you can continue to grow as business leaders.

HOOPLA was such an amazing experience for me. I learned a lot about myself and the person I want to be when I grow up (because I refuse to consider myself any version of "old" or "adult"). I also got to meet so many wonderful people in person (finally!) who have impacted my life from afar. I am already looking forward to all the amazing experiences I will have next year. And I can truly say that the experience has made me a better version of myself.

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