As a business owner, you are faced with a myriad of ways to spend your time and money. There are networking events, conferences, workshops, seminars, and the virtual equivalent of each.
So how do you know whether you should go or not?
There’s no “one answer” for everyone. Even if twelve people tell you “oh you MUST go”, that still might not be the right answer for you. So, how do you decide?
These 7 criteria are guaranteed to help you make a wise decision.
Is the topic of interest?
This is almost a no-brainer, but the topic should be of interest to you and be useful for where you are in your life and business. Unless you’re trying to expand your perspective specifically by choosing topics you otherwise would never learn about (a bit like how I read historical novels because Oprah told me so and discovered they are not so bad), it should peak your interest or curiosity.
Do I resonate with the presenter(s)?
To me this is one of the most important criteria. There is a glut of programs and presenters everywhere, except maybe rural Kansas. Just because a presenter has an awesome resume and all your friends and colleagues love him/her doesn’t mean it resonates with you. Do a gut check and use your discernment. Does the way this person shows up in the world resonate with me? If the answer is yes… give it a try.
This is also the point at which it is useful to determine whether this presenter is known for delivering a great experience or simply staging an extended sales pitch. There is a glut of events these days disguised as a pitch fest (“and for today only… you get the whole set of Ginsu Knives with your purchase of business coaching!”). Do your due diligence and ask someone “in the know” about the presenter’s style.
Do I resonate with the potential attendees?
Are the people who are likely to attend this event part of your tribe? There’s nothing worse than sitting in a room full of people and feeling like you are a total misfit. I’ve been there and done that. While you’re never going to love everyone, take an internal temperature check before you jump in.
Does attending have a potential ROI (Return on Investment)?
Unless you are doing something just for fun (and fun is a valid metric of ROI by the way), ideally you should realize a positive return on your investment. By return I mean – money, energy, knowledge, connections, personal growth, enjoyment, or new ways of thinking that will help you earn more and grow more. The return is not always immediate. In fact sometimes it can take months (or even years) for it to manifest, but fundamentally the potential for ROI is there.
Is this the best use of my time (right now)?
This question speaks to your focus. You could attend something every day, multiple times a day, indefinitely. You need to be selective. You also need to be very clear of your main focus and priority. Don’t use the “I’m going to a business event” excuse over and over for avoiding what most needs to be done. There are points in time where you know enough. You need to learn less, do more and stay home. Conversely, if you need a pick me up, an energizing, an up leveling of information, or simply a way to feel less alone and isolated, then by all means, it’s time to connect and attend something.
Am I making an “emotionally clean” decision?
People rarely talk about this and yet to me it is the single most important question you can ask yourself no matter what decision you are facing. By emotionally clean I mean are you choosing from a space inside yourself that is not clouded by insecurities, “shoulds”, other people’s voices, or unmet needs. An example of an “unclean” decision would be someone who goes to lots of events because they don’t feel “good enough” yet to take action in their business. Or, someone who consistently spends endless hours in groups that don’t bring them a return because they feel it is the “in” thing to do. Emotionally clean means you use your discernment and trust in your own inner compass to decide what’s best for you at the time.
Am I caught up in mental noise?
All the rest of the objections like “it’s too far”, “it costs too much”, “I’m too busy” are just mental noise. Yes, logistics need to work out but I see far too many people whine about driving an extra 30 minutes or an hour or spending money when this is simply energy misspent. Learning and growing isn’t comfortable and it certainly isn’t convenient. So just get over that part. Let the mental noise settle and then return to the questions above and tap into your own intuitive intelligence to arrive at the wisest decision for you.
We all win some and lose some with these types of decisions. You may kiss some frogs but you never get to know the glorious experiences if you don’t step out of your home office. Give yourself permission to say a hearty YES (even if it feels scary) and likewise give yourself permission to say a graceful NO when it is not right for you.
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