Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner?
If so, wouldn’t you love to read all the books that catch your eye, enroll in every class that sparks your interest, and attend the many talks, events, webinars, and training programs that come your way?
Me, too. I geek out on everything related to professional development, so one of my biggest struggles each year is trying to choose which events I’ll participate in and which I’ll let pass. Over the years I’ve created a few criteria to help ease this decision-making process and, as we approach “conference season,” I thought you might appreciate a few helpful hints as you decide which events you’ll attend this fall.
1. Review your vision and goals. In addition to your long-term vision, ask yourself what will help you reach your most pressing goal this month, quarter, or year. Does your business need a branding makeover? Seek out a retreat with a marketing expert. Do you need to rekindle your passion and purpose for your work – so you can make a bigger difference or avoid burnout? An event like Spark might be a good choice for you. Use your vision and goals as a filter for choosing which events are the most worthy of your time, investment, and energy.
2. Establish goals for the event itself. Determine in advance what you will gain from the event. For example, maybe you want to gain tools and strategies that you can then bring back to your team. Perhaps you want to connect with like-minded people whom you could feature in your newsletter, hire in your organization, or ask to speak on their stage. Or maybe you want to soak in the whole experience to learn what you like and don’t like as you plan your own event. Clarify your goals in advance so you walk into the event with purpose and intention.
3. Shake things up. While attending the annual conference in your industry can provide value, don’t fall into the trap of only attending a few of the same events year after year. I set a quarterly goal to attend at least one new-to-me event, which keeps me fresh, connects me with new people, and sometimes (in a good way) pushes me out of my comfort zone.
4. Learn from true professionals. The most transformative events I’ve attended have been the ones featuring people who truly know their stuff, have succeeded in their field for a good number of years, and have established a reputation of integrity. I find them to be generous with their content and truly participant-focused, rather than continually pitching products or expecting adoration simply because they may be a household name.
My challenge to you this week? Enroll in an event for the final quarter of 2013 that will help you fulfill your purpose, goals, and vision! Then, plan in advance how to truly make the most of that event (click here for tips).
The close of 2013 will be here before we know it, so choose wisely how you’ll invest your time to wrap up the year successfully!
If Spark is the event for you, enroll here – we’re nearly 3/4 full and the Earlybird Rate ends this month!
Dr. Christi Hegstad helps you successfully do what you love! As President of MAP Professional Development Inc., she coaches professionals to get unstuck and reach Bold Goals with clarity, confidence, and meaningful action. Learn more at www.meaning-and-purpose.com and follow Dr. Christi on Facebook and Twitter.