Andrea Edwards

Relishing in the feeling of being part of a community

For the last couple of days, I had the privilege to attend the Asia Professional Speakers SingaporeAnnual Convention. This is officially my third convention, and it was exactly two years ago that I showed up as a complete stranger and spent two days being completely blown own away by a whole community. Here’s the blogI wrote on it back then. A life-changer.
Anyhoo this year was even more special and it made me quite reflective.
A fantastic group! Photo credit: Berry Happy Photography
I joined APSS immediately after Convention two years ago, and within a month of signing up as a member, I agreed to be on the APSS Executive Committee.
You see, I don’t sign up for anything without really thinking it through, because I’ve got to be smart where I invest my time – it is not unlimited. So when I commit to stuff, I’m in. No sitting in the back of the room for me. Joining the Exco was definitely the smartest move I’ve ever made. It got me into the heart of this community and I started to make really really awesome friends and pick up a few mentors too.
In the second year I had to step back from the Exco, because I was on two other boards by this time and just not coping with all of the commitments. But I didn’t step back. An opportunity came up to compete in The Speech, and that provided an opening to be mentored by the one and only Brenda Bence. Such a wonderful lady, and the gift of her knowledge and friendship is something I will be forever thankful for.
Now at the beginning of my third year in APSS, I was invited to speak on the social media panel at Convention. It was definitely an honour to share the stage with industry veteran (and my friend) Wendy McEwan, as well as two established professional speakers, Cynthia Zhai and Tom Abbot.
Great panel and amazingly, I didn’t feel nervous. It was a great discussion too. We all come at social media from different perspectives with different goals, so it was a lively chat.
It was during the panel that I started being reflective. From Brenda sitting up front with a big smile on her face every time I spoke, to looking out over the room to see so many friends giving us all so much love, and then afterwards, the encouragement and support. It was also amazing to hear a lot of the speakers reference my philosophy on the Giving Economy – something I believe in so deeply. Maybe that concept can finally go global?
I continued to get encouragement and support from everyone over the next two days. They all know I’ve just launched my new business and they all kept asking me – what can I do to help you? What do you need? Essentially, how can I be of service – which is what APSS is all about. I can’t tell you how much I love that.
Here’s two of my new pals – Mark & Anna. Sadly Mark is going back to NZ!
When you enter a new community, it takes commitment to build real meaning and connections. Over the last two years I’ve invested with my whole heart, and this weekend, I realized that investment is paying off. It’s not only the knowledge I am gaining, it’s the incredible privilege to call so many fabulous people my friend. Thank you APSS. You are the gift that keeps on giving.
By the way, I always have a new favourite person I meet at these events. Lindsay Adams was a firm favourite for the title, but then I met Amelie Yan-Gouiffes…. I can’t call it. So it’s a double this year!  
To anyone thinking of signing up to a community or maybe you’re already part of one but sitting back, too shy to get stuck in, take my advice. Go all in and watch it blossom into something meaningful that has the potential to change your life.
Life’s too short to sit in the back of the room, yes?
Yours, without the bollocks
BTW I’m on Twitter here, Google+ here, Instagram here, and Facebook too, if you’re interested in the other stuff I share. Feel free to share my blog if you think anyone you know will be interested or entertained. I sure do appreciate it when you do xxxxx

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