Professional Events: Brutal or Bonus?

I’m getting ready to attend one of my favorite professional events–the annual International Coach Federation conference. This is typically a time I look forward to, a chance to connect with old friends and meet new colleagues who are all committed to a profession helping all the world’s people live up to their potential. It’s a heady experience to be around that much goodwill.

And yet, I’m not psyched up for it yet, and that concerned me. So I talked to a friend, who listened and said, “You know, sometimes those professional events can go either way. They’re either brutal, or they’re a bonus.

That hit the nail on the head. In my rush to leave, my head’s stuck in the brutal part, the part that holds us many of us back from attending events:

  • Getting all my work done in advance–or figuring out the best way to work from the road;
  • Finalizing nit-picky travel and meal details; and even
  • Figuring out what clothes to pack (can I get away without checking luggage?)

Sound familiar? I’ve heard those things from others, too, as to why they’re not attending an industry conference–even one in their own backyard. What I realized is that those things start pushing out what I truly know will be a bonus:

  • Getting exposed to new, breaking concepts and ideas I can use;
  • Meeting new colleagues and building relationships that will continue on past the conference; and
  • Becoming a resource for someone else who’s interested in what I’m doing–and that always feels good!

Plus, there’s always the bonus of being a more tangible part of something bigger than your own career or business. Your presence in the room matters.

So even though there’s work and packing to do, I’m choosing to focus on the bonus. I’ll be sure to tell you what it is when I return!

What’s been the bonus for you when you’ve attending professional events? How did you get past the brutal to get the bonus? We love seeing your stories in the reply box below, or when you share them on Facebook!