To accomplish anything of impact it takes surrounding yourself with community.
Don’t sprint past your family and friends towards your goal. You don’t want to accomplish anything and realize you are at the end all alone.
Don’t go for broke. Instead, start walking and figure out the next small step that will be a great foundation for the next step and the one after that.
You know what problem I have realized? A lot of us suck at making the most of the conferences and events that we attend. I recently went to my first conference this March and I realized after the event that the little prep-work I did wasn’t enough. I had done some research and listened to a great podcast from Jayson Gaignard called “Community Made.” Episode 3 of Season 2: An Event Networking Guide had great content and info but I didn’t do a good enough of a job applying it.
Since I didn’t make the most of the conference, and I am sure many of us have found ourselves wondering if the money and time we spent going was worth it, I figured I would help us all. Over the next few posts, I will put down some of the ideas and concepts that I have learned and experienced firsthand. In the meantime, here is a general overview of what will be coming down the pipeline, and here is a video that lays it all out.
- Find an attendees list, or hashtag to research, and pick 5-10 people you would like to meet.
- Do research on the attendees and narrow the list to 3-5
- Reach out to these individuals pre-conference and introduce yourself and create a no pressure invite to connect.
- Plan out the morning of your conference
- Do a mini work out
- Leave with plenty of time to get there
- Don’t follow your game plan so rigidly you walk around the conference looking like an idiot
- Be prepared with questions to ask your list of folks or any of the other attendees.
- Remember, everyone is a little nervous and no one is used to mingling in crowds this size
- Be ready and willing to break the ice with folks
- Have a handful of conversation enders in your back pocket.
- Send brief email to everyone you grabbed a card from
- Follow up on what you said you would follow up on
- Follow up with those you ended up not meeting at the conference
Above all, this is about planting seeds of relationships. This is not necessarily the time to ask for the sale or even go deep. Plant the seed, water it, and see how it grows.
This may come as a shock to some of you, but I have found out something incredibly important… my calling in life is not, I repeat, is NOT to be a stay at home dad. I mean Oh… My… Goodness. This past Saturday Lindsay was out of commission over some stomach bug thing and by 11:30 my resolve was already wearing thin. No truer words are about to be written: All you stay at home and single parents, I have no clue how you do it. You deserve much more credit, praise, and help than you are getting.
My Saturday morning is usually a quite and relaxing morning for me, but when you are sent a barrage of texts from your wife about some “issues” she is dealing with, it makes for a unique start to the day and cues me up to know that I will be pulling a little more of the weight that day. I think it should also be said from the beginning that I may not be the most nurturing person in the world, but we’ll get back to that later.
For the most part, Saturday started off without a hitch. Lindsay wasn’t in dire straits and I was still able to take Sam to a Touch-A-Truck event in downtown Kennesaw. I was super impressed with him because it only took about twenty minutes for him to warm up and touch all sorts of trucks and police cars. He also got ton’s of free swag, including two balloons, because in the midst of him reaching for a bike to play on, he released the first balloon to float magically away.
After getting all the stickers his shirt could hold, and stuffing his face with popcorn and his pockets with toys, we headed home. As soon as I got home it was as if the wheels started to fall off. I had to feed Emma her lunch, Sam became super talkative, I wonder where he got that from, Sam wanted a million and one things for lunch, Lindsay needed me to bring her something because she was feeling queasy, my stomach was growling, Emma was probably getting fussy, and as I looked around the house just seemed to be getting messier by the second. Did I mention that it wasn’t even noon yet.
After lunch, I had to figure out something to do with both kids until I put them down for “naps.” From after lunch, until I drove to Chick-fil-A to get Lindsay her chicken noodle soup for dinner, I have no idea what happened. I mean I quite literally think the trauma of it all has blocked it from my memory. All I can seem to put together is that I Sam and I made something resembling meatloaf for dinner.
As the meatloaf was cooking in the oven, I took the kids to Chick-fil-A to get Lindsay her dinner and when I got back my world immediately got crazy once again. The meatloaf was done 15 minutes early and I’m truly glad it didn’t burn. Since meatloaf must sound disgusting to kids I convinced Sam that it was really meatballs that we had made and he gobbled it all up. During all of that is when I was trying to make dinner for myself and Emma and try to put the place back together. As all of this is going down I hear Lindsay come down stairs, grab the T.V. tray grab her soup… oh yah, the soup I forgot to bring upstairs, and march slightly angrily back upstairs because I had completely forgotten to bring her her dinner.
The only thing that covered up that sin of forgetting Lindsay’s dinner is the fact that she got to watch me struggle more than usual as Emma was doing gymnastics as I tried to get her ready for her bath.
Now I know to some of you reading this little blog of mine that this is all old hat and you deal with it every day. I realize some of you are laughing and saying “Finally, he knows that the #StruggleIsReal.” I personally have no idea how my wife, and many others, deal with this every day. I am so thankful for Lindsay and the fact that I get to go deal with adults everyday.
Lord, bless all these amazing stay at home and single parents because you know they need it.