Here's the thing about conferences and workshops
Conferences and other professional development events are great.
Just be prepared to work before and after the event!
As a photographer who serves coaches, speakers and professional development folks, I have been to enough conferences, workshops and one-day intensives to last a lifetime.
While working different events for different circles of entrepreneurs, I’ve seen the same groups of people cycle in and cycle out of these various programs and courses.
Over and over and over again.
Additionally, I’ve noticed a definite pattern that event-goers cycle through from pre to post-event.
First, the excitement and anticipation.
Through the years, I've watched several friends and colleagues get all pumped up before traveling to an event. They talk about how this one will transform their businesses and take their lives to the next level!
"The instructor is amazing and he/she knows my pain and knows how to get me past it!"
Then, the “work transformation” begins.
Once they arrive, get acquainted with some old and new faces, the facilitator for the event walks out to some groovy dance music, everyone stands up excitedly, whips everyone into a frenzy, and everyone is loving everyone else in the room - ohhhhhh, how magical it is, :)
Once the sweat from the dance, dance revolution party dries up, it’s time to get down to some work.
Note-taking, voice records, worksheet completion - all of this is being done en masse as the facilitator rifles off concept after concept with the hope that it will deeply resonate and create the change they seek.
Next is the pledge.
Towards the end of these events, conference-goers have just had tons and tons of insight shoe-horned into their brains in a short amount of time, so, they’re swimming in a lot of new stuff.
9 times out of 10 of these events, I’ve seen the facilitator, in some form, ask that all conference-goers make some form of a purpose statement or a pledge to implement what they’ve learned into their lives the moment they step back into their normal routines.
Whether written or verbally shared with the group, everyone puts their best foot forward and vows to take what they learned and get themselves to where they want to be, no if’s, and’s or but’s!
And then, they aftermath once they get home.
At first, I’ve seen colleagues tear it up the day after they get home, following up on everything they pledged to do differently - they’re kicking ass and taking names.
THIS is the spark they needed. THIS event was the one that changed the game for them. THIS facilitator is the most inspiring person of all-time and I owe my growth to him/her.
And then, the afterglow of the event fades in a couple days, and guess what?
They’ve completely pushed all their newfound knowledge to the side and are back to doing exactly the same shit and falling back to the same patterns that motivated them to go to the conference in the first place.
Damn, what happened?
Although it’s nice to create a departure for yourself from your everyday life by going to these conferences, real change happens well after you return from the event.
Real change takes a lot of work - consistent, real work.
Now, acknowledging that you need help to get past the hurdles in your life is an important first step. In fact, self awareness leads to self compassion, which leads to self-care.
Once you become aware of the road blocks that are impeding you from growth, it's important to be actionable and follow through on the necessary steps to get past it.
But, if you don’t commit to being consistently actionable, growth is not happening, folks.
That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself for what you are truly immersing yourself in by committing to attending these conferences. You are not just saying yes to a trip somewhere, you are committing to ending a pattern in your life that doesn’t serve you, and this event is merely the spark, not the solution.
So, it’s important to properly set yourself up for success when attending an event, and to mentally prepare for the long road ahead.
When you get home from a conference, make sure to hold space for yourself to digest all of the overwhelming amount of information that you just learned. If you give yourself a gestation period, chances are you will be more likely to implement the strategies.
One of the strategies that I've found to be successful personally has been to give yourself a day to review the notes that you took.
That way, you can internalize and implement these ideas into your calendar, journal, or the promotional materials that you used to gain visibility for your business.
Then, find an accountability partner, either a fellow conference-goer or a colleague/friend in your life, to check in with you periodically to see if you are still being actionable in these areas.
When you slip and fall, allow yourself to be compassionate towards yourself - don’t judge your misstep, but rather, give yourself the space to acknowledge and move on constructively.
And then, you’re off to the races, 😊🙌
What has been your experience with conferences and workshops? Have you found the value in attending? Or, has it become an exercise in futility?
PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you, because I care, :)