Not for good—I’m just headed off to the National Conference for my direct sales company. The time in Chicago is always great. I’m really excited to go.
I’m part of an online community for fellow consultants. As soon as registration opens up for National Conference I begin a countdown. I first did that a few years ago. I quickly got bored with just posting the date and number of days left, so I started adding travel and conference tips. I now do that every year.
It’s probably no surprise that I like to encourage, advise, and share. It’s something The Furry Guy and I have in common. If you’ve read many of my posts, it’s probably also no surprise that I go through periodic self-examinations. Preparing for National Conference is one of those periods.
I look at what I’ve done over the past year. I examine my progress. I look for areas where I don’t feel I’ve made significant progress. I set some goals for the next year. I look at the workshops I signed up for and think about what I’d like to learn.
National Conference is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to learn. It’s an opportunity to connect with fellow consultants. It’s an opportunity to step outside my routine for a few days. It’s an opportunity to make my business better. By taking an hour or two to prepare beforehand and a few hours to implement ideas afterward, I can make the most of those opportunities.
There will be a few who will squander some of the opportunities provided by National Conference. They’ll skip workshops. They’ll spend so much time having fun with friends (a small but important part of National Conference) that they’ll miss meeting and networking with new people. They’ll put away their notes (if they even take any) and fall right back into the old, familiar ways of doing things. That’s such a shame. It’s a waste of time and money.
Most of us are presented with opportunities of one kind or another. Some opportunities, like National Conference, are big, scheduled events. These are easy to see and easy to prepare for. Some of them are small and easy to miss. We can approach either of them prepared to take advantage of the chance to learn and grow. Or, we can be so set in our ways, so comfortable that we waste them.
For me, the best way to be prepared is to spend a little time each day praying over my schedule. I ask the Lord to open my eyes to the opportunities around me that day. I do my best to stay open to any changes in my plans that will help me to move closer to my goals. Sometimes that upsets my to-do list a bit; sometimes a lot. That’s the point, though.
We each have a choice. We can move forward, or we can stay comfortably in our own little groove while the world marches on past us. Are you prepared?