Three Luxuries You Cannot Afford That Harm Your Conference Planning

Jewelry Gold Bracelet is Golden Luxury

When we were younger, many of us dreamed of changing the world.

Nothing could get in the way of our dreams. We were out to make a difference. We wanted to change lives across the globe.

Then we grew up. We began to think of our dreams as unrealistic or childish. We see our aspirations of changing the world as fantasy or impossible to achieve alone. We lost sight of making a difference.

Three Reasons We Choose Not To Make A Difference

If we look deep down inside, we’ll find some reasons we chose not to make a difference. And if we analyze those reasons, we’ll find that they lack real depth. We can avoid them if we chose.

1. Comfort

We have been conditioned to believe that comfort is king. When we are stressed, we crave comfort foods. When things seem to go wrong, we want the comforts of our home.

We have to be careful of letting our comfort zone dictate our willingness to engage in meaningful conference initiatives.

To really make an impact, we have to step out of our comfort zone of our conference planning process. We have to embrace the uncomfort of the unknown. We have to live with the tension of doing something we have not done in the past.

In reality, comfort is a lie.

Remind yourself that as author Neal Samdure says,

No smooth road leads to the top of the mountain; you only get there by climbing.

2. Apathy

We are flooded with information about things we should care about. TV commercials aim for the emotional heart string. People standing on street corners beg for money. Emails ask for our assistance.

Due to the overwhelming amount of things we should care about, the easier it is to shut down and not care about anything.

Apathy is an archenemy. It can creep silently into our conference planning process.

We can easily not care about creating the best conference experience for our registrants. We can hear about challenges past attendees had at our conference and not be moved. Our lack of compassion can translate into a lack of interest.

However, compassion is a muscle. We can work that muscle as we step into the experiences of our conference attendees. We can mentally walk the paths they will take and exercise our involvement. That’s the first step to making a difference with our conferences.

3. Excuses

We start early in our lives with the excuse of “The dog ate my homework.” We watch our parents come up with excuses to employers, neighbors and families. We embrace excuses as a way of life.

In the conference planning world, we use the excuse of lack of time, lack of money and a lack of empowerment. These excuses hold us back from making a difference.

In the end, these are just lies we tell ourselves to keep us from doing something different. These excuses justify our complacency.

Instead, we need to ignore our excuses and become part of the solution that our conferences need. It’s time to act and embrace change instead of ignoring it.

Hat tips to blogger and inspirational writer Neal Samudre for his posts on dreaming and making a difference.

What are some of the things that hold you back from making a difference with your conference planning process? What excuses do you hear about not making an impact with your conference?

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1 comment
  1. Joan Eisenstodt says:

    Chuckling. Just had this conversation today w/ a colleague from a major foundation.

    We came up with:
    – Pride and Shame: People who have been at their orgs so long take pride in what they’ve done even if it’s not great and they’d feel shame by admitting that a) they didn’t have it right all along and b) if they do change and one (influential?) person doesn’t like it, they feel shame.
    – Fear: It goes along with the above. Fear of not knowing everything and being called out. Fear of loss .. of job perhaps. (Why don’t they fear loss of job for keeping things the same?!) Fear of backlash from the vocal folks who don’t like anything new.

    Aren’t they all bored?

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