- What am I doing here?
- Do I fit in or stick out?
- Will I learn anything?
- Will I have a good time?
- Am I just wasting my time & money?
These questions have stopped me from attending conferences and seminars. Really it is simple… If I have to give a day or two to anything it better be worth my time. And if its going to cost me a bunch of money? Too risky.
It’s easy to say no
I made a habit of saying no to that much risk because it seemed reasonable. But one day I realized that those were debilitating questions. Those same questions were holding me back from discovering something new, something I might like, and preventing me from finding an even cooler opportunity.
Saying no was the easy, safe option.
Another reason I didn’t attend a conference outside of my area of expertise? Arrogance. After all, I get paid to speak at conferences. Heck, I create and host conferences… why would I pay to go and sit and lea… oh.
Yeah, that’s the definition of arrogance right there.
It’s more awesome to say yes
Out of excuses I’ve started saying yes a bit more. I’ll never be a conference junky but when one pops up that seems like a good idea I try to make it happen.
Here are 8 benefits of attending a conference outside of my area of expertise
- When I develop outside interests I end up learning lots about my area of expertise.
- I realize how much cross-polination happens, I always meet people in youth ministry at non-ministry events.
- I build relationships with people I didn’t even know I needed to know, my life is richer for taking these risks.
- I’m amazed at how much I can learn in a day outside of my specialty.
- Investing in myself is never a poor investment. (Plus, as a self-employed person, it’s a write-off.)
- I learn a ton about the conferences I host by attending other conferences. I’m a better organizer because I attend outside stuff.
- As much as I like to think my vertical is unique, spending time in another vertical helps me see what’s actually unique and what’s happening in culture as a whole.
- I struggle to make recreation a priority, while not a day on the golf course, a day at a conference is a form of recreation.
Question: What’s the wonkiest conference you’ve ever attended?