I don’t attend lot of conferences, because I tend to find that while there’s a nugget or two of interest, I almost always feel like my time would’ve been better spent in more intimate conversations, dedicating that time to reading or some other way of learning, or just doing work that needs to get done. When Chris Lema welcomed me to be a part of CaboPress, however, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Chris has written a great post describing why and how he created CaboPress, in part in response to his same feelings and experiences about conferences-as-usual. What he’s put together is just what I’m looking for and to say I’m really excited to be there is an understatement.

I’m a purposeful person, and while sometimes events, conferences and conventions should be experienced with an attitude of show-up-and-see-what-happens, I usually go into activities like this with some intentions in mind. I say intentions and not goals because one, when I’m intentional it means I’m focused on the moment and not the destination, and two, sometimes it’s best to adjust intentions because new opportunities, realities, or perspectives shape things in real time. A “goal” tends, for me, to be more inflexible while an “intention” has some flex.

These are my intentions heading to CaboPress this week:

Gratitude

Some of the people attending Cabopress are teachers of mine. They’ve helped me understand my professional perspectives, given me new ways of thinking, and sometimes have developed products that’ve changed the way I work. I’m on their mailing lists, follow them on social media or ready their blogs. I’m looking forward to just sharing space with these talented people and, if I get a chance, shake hands and say thanks. It’s a powerful thing to collaborate with really smart people.

Listen and Learn

Not Really Rocket Science is, almost 3 years in, right on the edge of some exciting growth and evolution. I don’t want to screw it up! I have some specific things in my head that, if the opportunity comes up, I hope to pick the brains of people who’ve been there and done that. One of my favorite professors in college was Liv Taylor – James Taylor’s brother. Super cool dude and accomplished musician. He said once – and I’ve taken it with me for the rest of my career – that if you want to know how to get someplace, ask directions of people who know the way. Maybe I’ll have that chance to ask directions, but I think by just listening I’ll develop a lot of new ideas and informed perspectives.

Focus

I spend most of my work time on client projects – which I love doing, which is deeply rewarding, and which is why I’m in business. Still, the only opportunities I get to grow my own business -whether that’s work on my website, build projects, write blog posts, edit video or whatever – is early mornings, late nights, and weekends. That’s okay – it’s part of the hustle of a growing business and in fact I kind of enjoy the quiet morning hours of focus. I’m dedicating this entire week to working mostly on my own business. I’ll have some client connections I’ll be making and some projects I’ll be working on, but I’m going to be disciplined on putting as much work into my own stuff as I can this week. I have a long list of things I’ve been meaning to work on or have been setting aside, picking up, then setting aside again that I’m excited to keep some momentum on. Maybe that’ll mean literally working on my projects, or maybe just quiet brain space dedicated to my own ideas and strategies.

R&R

All that said, I’m looking forward to a bit of downtime. I’ve had a lot of business travel lately, a number of client website launches, some huge client projects, and a ton of exciting strategic work going on. It’s been really exciting and invigorating, but I haven’t had a lot of time to let other creative things, ideas, and experiences in. Some of my best problem solving happens on a long run or when riding my bike – away from meetings and conversations and computer screens. I’m looking forward to stepping away from things this week, refocusing a little bit inward, and recharging for a powerful last quarter of 2018.

Contribute and Engage

Final intention – show up. In the midst of all the other things I hope to put energy into this coming week I’m looking forward to sharing my own insights and opinions. Maybe they’ll help somebody else as they develop their vision. Maybe they’ll just help me build relationships with others. I’m looking forward to sharing whatever makes me authentic with others at CaboPress.

Here’s what I’d like you to do next:

My guidance for you or your team is, when considering your next conference or convention or even a trade show, show up with purpose. Go beyond “make connections” or “build my network” or some other generic, probably inevitable outcome. How do you intend to position yourself to achieve something? What do you hope to come away with that offers some transformation for yourself, your business, or your professional development?

I’d love to know what you do now that helps you have particular or special focus for your professional development. Tweet me @chrisbintliff.

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