Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Death by Conference

Have you ever gone to a conference or a meeting and left feeling like everybody else had all the answers? They were all making tons of money or all had brilliant careers and somehow you were a loser? You weren't a loser before the conference, but somehow you morphed into a loser overnight.

It just happened to me. I heard great presentations by best selling authors, multimillionaires, people with thousands of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. I was told I should spend at least two hours a day on social media. I should be crafting my best selling book proposal and sending it to publishers. I should be traveling to Dubai and to other planets to speak. I should be doing webinars and creating books for the Kindle. Clearly I am WAY behind the curve.

After a pep e-mail from my good friend and fellow speaker, Wally Adamchik, who reminded me that my house was paid for and I earned a nice living talking about chocolate, I snapped out of it. Well, partially. I still feel a bit, well, less.

But I have developed some tips for myself and I wanted to share them with you:

1. Set a day aside to regroup. Yep - put it on your calendar. Look at all your notes, etc. and decide what YOU are going to do - what tips and ideas work for you. This is also known as thinking - something we don't seem to have time for anymore. Then craft a plan. I know I can't do everything I learned about. But if I don't make a plan, I'll wind up doing nothing.

2. BUT take some action immediately. I posted this blog entry. Tweeted. Secured my name on Empire Avenue (another social networking site I had never even heard of.) I already feel less loserish.

3. Start where you are. I would love to be speaking in Dubai for fees of $15,000 plus. But maybe I should get my desk cleaned off first. You have to start where you are - you can't win the Boston Marathon if you can't walk around the block.

4. Decide what YOU want. It is so easy to go to these things and get swept up in someone else's "dream." I really don't care about having 25,000 Facebook fans and Twitter followers. I just want to make a good living doing what I love. I want to have time to take long walks and enjoy life. I don't really have to speak in every country. I don't want paid staff.  And I've NEVER wanted to run a marathon. I agree with Christopher Morley who said - "There is but one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way."

5. These events are supposed to be inspiration, not demoralization. And they will be if you apply perspiration. (Ha, ha - pretty good, huh?) Up with sweat and down with regret! I can do more. I am far from working at full capacity. I do get distracted, and some days I waste too much time. I can always learn and grow and I can always take action. Taking action is the key. One good idea implemented is better than 50 left undone.  (Or 40 pages of notes I never look at again.)

6. Don't drink the Kool-Aid. I don't know how happy any of these people are.  It's proven that after about $75,000 (household income) greater amounts of money don't contribute significantly to happiness. (I don't know what travel to Dubai does.) I think what we all want is to be happy. Will 50,000 Twitter followers make me happy? Not as happy as one good friend who will remind me who I am when I forget. (Thanks, Wally.)

So here's what I think - always keep learning. Listen to those more successful (I'm using that term loosely - there are many definitions of success). Temper their advice with your knowledge of yourself and your goals. Take action on the ideas you want to try. You don't have to do it all - just do what you can, begin where you are. Always try to get better, but always keep your happiness in mind. At the end of the day, it is all that matters.


KiddoKare1 said...

Wonderful post, Denise! And yes, I know I come away feeling that way from some of the child care conferences I attend.

Denise Ryan said...

I'm so glad to know I'm not alone!!! Thanks so much for the comment - it's always great to hear from you!