Confronting Fear with Entrepreneurial Creatives

Giant Steps, a one-day conference held annually in Minneapolis, is now in its eighth year of gathering “creative entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial creatives.” This year’s theme was “Grit, Guts, and Joy,” and the speakers and panelists used these concepts as a jumping-off point to discuss their paths toward success—both personal and professional.

Highlights of the day, held at the Courtyard Marriott near the University of Minnesota campus, included the keynote conversation with Jay Smooth, New York-based DJ and videoblogger; a hilarious and moving performance by the improv troupe Blackout; and the in-depth plenary conversations with writers, performing artists, chefs, and business owners.

Participants were most wowed by stories of resilience and tenacity. Speakers talked about their experiences coming to the edge of failure and detailed the ways in which their failures pushed them. A common theme that emerged was the role fear plays in our pathways toward fulfillment. Jay Smooth said that “doing the courageous thing is more important than where the courage comes from.” His videoblog Beating the Little Hater was also a hit.