What If–the journey continues

Well, it’s 2:31 am in my current time zone, finally back home in Nashville. 2 hours later than the time zone we’ve been in, some crazy flights today, a late night last night, etc etc. But I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep until I write this post 🙂 It’s probably going to be rambling and somewhat incoherent, and Chris is already asleep so I can’t make him read it and then tell me I’m being ridiculous haha (P.S. All the pictures in this post are by Chris).

Let me just start with saying that if you got sick of us talking about how amazing the What If Conference was after the first one back in January, just wait! For something to be a life changing event once could just be a coincidence. But for a group of people to again get together and have their worlds rocked? There absolutely is something special going on here. What If is special. This week was full of REAL. It was full of things that mattered. Full of stories and struggles and dreams and triumphs and fears–and full of amazing.

What If PDX was no less life changing for us than Cabo. It was a totally different experience that rocked our world in a different way. I can never ever thank Jen and Steve Bebb enough for putting together this space where we can come together and dream, and then come up with a plan to put those dreams into action…and change the world. Even writing that out seems so weak compared to the gratitude I have in my heart tonight.

This week was about honesty. And if I’m being honest, about a month or so before What If, I lost sight of why it was important and some of the things we learned during What If Cabo. I was afraid that we had made an irresponsible financial decision by deciding to go, because surely it couldn’t be much different of an experience. Ah, cynicism. Shame. on. me. Shame on me for forgetting that the Bebbs have poured their HEART and their SOUL so that we can come and dream. So that we can chase after our dreams. They have sacrificed to give us the tools to change not only our little corner of the universe, but the whole world. Shame on me for forgetting where I was 7 months ago, before What If changed the way we view life 6 months ago.  (And we’re not even going to talk right now about the huge kick in the butt and major dose of life changing perspective we received from listening to Joel and Mary share their story this morning.)

Chris and I will be a part of What If for as long as possible. Besides what it did for us, it was so exciting to see some 50+ other people thinking about various aspects of their art and their life in a new way. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people we sat with (in the most uncomfortable chairs ever haha), cried, laughed, danced, and dreamed with are going to go home and do AMAZING things.

I had a lot of people tell me “What If sounds so cool! I’m totally going to look into it!” after Cabo when Portland was announced. Then the excuses came. Totally no judging! It is scary to invest in something…especially when it’s so hard for those of us who believe in What If to put in to words why you need to be there, because it’s just so much bigger than words. But there are always going to be fears. There’s always going to be excuses. How long are you going to hide behind that? Because you know what? What If Portland could have been last one. You could have missed your chance. I’m not saying that to sound all guilt trip-y or condescending or anything like that. I’m saying that because it breaks my heart to know that there might not have been an opportunity for more people to experience what we have experienced with What If. And a huge part of that is on our shoulders for not being convincing enough to get people to take the leap and sign up. So if any small smidgen of your being resonates with the message of What If and is telling you you need to go, please please please ignore the voices in your head telling you the reasons why you shouldn’t. Don’t let fear win. Start setting aside a few dollars here and there for when the next one is announced. And please feel free to ask us any questions at all!!

(Well hey while we’re at it…let’s take the message above and apply that to life too, ok? Life is too da** short to let fear win. What if we listened to the dreams of our heart and decided that we owed it to ourselves to pursue them? And I am totally speaking to myself here just as much if not more as anyone else who may read this.)

Yeah, this is my new friend Lauren. She beat cancer and kicked butt in her business all at the same time, and now is starting a great project to give back. What’s my excuse?


I’m sure we will be sharing more about our week soon, but just really felt the need to get some thoughts out tonight. Thanks for sticking with me through that 🙂

Huge hugs to all my past, present, and future What If friends!

Nashville Wedding Photographers

  • July 27, 2012 - 11:35 am

    Lauren Wakefield - Love you girl!!!! Best week ever and I can’t wait for the next one! I’m so glad I met you guys! 🙂

  • July 27, 2012 - 11:54 am

    Dave Stark - Everything about this is incredible Jen! Thank you so much for putting into words what I couldn’t about this experience. And Chris these images are seriously amazing – they take me right back to that place and those moments again! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    P.s. You two kicked butt sharing your own story as well!

  • July 27, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    Michael - Thank you for writing this! What If can be life changing if you let it. We look forward to seeing you two cats again!

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