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Here’s how to make the most of what you learn at a conference

We’ve all been there. Days or weeks after a conference that inspired us, we struggle to stick to plans we’d made to approach our work with a fresh perspective, and bring new ideas and practices to the office. How can we take steps to really make changes following a conference?

Back at work, the buzz of energy and excitement you shared at the conference or training course begins to slip away fast as the familiar weight of everyday tasks return. We all know the feeling, but we don’t all realise that you can turn this negative energy into a positive.

Here’s one strategy I learnt recently.

This time it is all about you

Returning from a personal development conference always prompts me to think about self-awareness and how people can use it to their advantage. In a world where we are encouraged to be team-centric and think of others first, there can be a bit of guilt associated with putting yourself front and centre.

Following a conference, you need to give yourself permission to do just that. It is all about you.

Let’s go back to how you felt when you were at the event and take a good long look at yourself in this moment and why you’re feeling the way you are.

Here’s the most common answer.

The excited and motivated person at the conference was the real you. You were a butterfly who had escaped the chrysalis of everyday work.

But coming off that conference high, you’ve allowed yourself to slip back into the world of “same old, same old”. At the conference, immersed and ignited with bright ideas, you were confident (of course you were!) of following through. So where did all that go?

It’s time for you to ask how you can bring that energy into your working day.

A few questions to get you started

  • Do you need to make a a plan for the career journey and self-development that may be required to attain your goals?
  • What are you doing to self-assess your areas of happiness and discontent at work?
  • Can you identify what’s missing and join the dots?
  • What do you find is the trigger for accelerating your personal development? And what can be learned from recognising this trigger?
  • What will inspire you to pull off that crazy concept? What’s niggling in the back of your mind that you are putting off, or are not making time for?

At the event I attended, many of the speakers focused on turning life’s challenges and disappointments into triggers to drive personal growth and future success.

Not everyone is equipped to easily self-reflect and evaluate their personal development, nor are they prepared to gain the skills to develop further. But taking the time to measure work/life happiness is essential to making progress.

Now it’s back to you again

So maybe your blues weren’t all about coming down from the high of the conference. Now you can consider that actually, they were about you, and your career journey.

Perhaps you were disappointed with yourself for slipping back into the same old rut. Go back and re-read a few of the questions above. Give yourself a quick life review: where you are and where you’d rather be.

For many, coaching can be the catalyst to give you the knowledge and strategies to drive your life in the direction you’d like it to go. It offers you the tools of:

  • Discovery – exploring and mapping your current situation and goals
  • Detangling – a range of strategies that you could employ to achieve them
  • Strategy – a personalised plan of selected strategies for you to implement

Melinda Fell is Director of Melinda Fell Consulting, an executive coaching, leadership and development, and executive search and selection consultancy.

This article was first published at LinkedIn.

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