I’ve attended a few conferences in the past, some work-related and others were writing-related for personal growth. In the past, I found myself so excited during and immediately after, but then life would get back to normal and I’d let my notes disappear under stacks of other notes or books. So when I attended the Accelerated Assistant conference by Office Dynamics last October, I made a vow to find a way to keep the enthusiasm going long after leaving the event!
Of course, this administrative conference made it easier than others I have attended to leave a very lasting impression. The speakers were amazing, inspiring and encouraging; Joan Burge, Courtney Clark, Lisa Olsen, Judi Holler, and Peggy Vasquez just to name a few! The location was near Red Rock Canyon; what an amazing relaxing setting and view from my room! The meals, the networking, the success store, evening group gatherings, the list goes on and on….Yes, this certainly had all of the makings of an amazing conference.
But, yes there is always a but…I knew from past experiences that it potentially could all be dimmed once I got back to work and my life got back to my daily busy routine and I would find the memories of my fantastic view, my temporary support team that sat at table 28 with me, the personal interactions with speakers after their talks and did I mention the amazing views…I knew there was a good chance all of those great memories and lessons would fade and take back seat to my current to-do lists, errands and workload.
But no, they haven’t faded…three months later and the memories, lessons learned, bonds formed, and even the warm breeze by the pool and tall palm trees are all just as clear as they were in October! I not only learned professional tips and put them in place as soon as I returned, but I also learned lessons for me personally, which I have incorporated into my daily routine. How?
How indeed?!…my personal experience has been with intention. I knew going to the conference I wanted to learn as much as I could…to gather knowledge from the experience of the speakers and those that I met during the networking sessions. I went there with a plan…with goals:
- Ask questions
- Take notes, highlight my favorite quotes in the workbook
- Break out of my shell and interact as much as possible
When I returned, notes in hand, to-do list created, workbook highlighted…I first incorporated some daily organizational tips into my daily work routine and I enthusiastically posted about my experience. I wanted to share my experience with everyone I met (and I practically did!).
Next, I put together a 45-minute presentation for my work team. I presented my top takeaways from the conference, my unexpected meeting with Joan herself (giggles), I talked about the amazing speakers and shared their websites, and I talked about a couple of my personal experiences. I shared how I have dealt with personal and professional changes, how grateful I am for all of the support to attend the conference and my daily work support team, I shared my morning routine schedule, why self-care is so important for us all, why journaling plays a very important personal role in my life, I shared some favorite books and my favorite free learning resources, I personally use, from our local libraries.
Sharing with my team and listening to their experiences helped motivate me, keep me focused, actually incorporate what I learned and most importantly reminded me why I choose this profession, what my passions are and how I can balance work, passion, daily routines, etc.
How can a conference do all that?! As I stated, this was a great mix of speakers, location, support, and networking. I also went there open to learning every single bit of experience and skill the speakers shared. I interacted with my table and others during breaks. I asked questions. I listened. I put myself out there…and I made time to relax and reflect at the end of each day. I was present and focused.
I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to attend and for the reminder that all of us have years of experience and skills learned that are precious and should be shared with others. I’m also grateful for the reminder that my passions, goals, and dreams are just as important now as they have ever been. I’m really looking forward to the 2018 Stellar Assistant Conference!