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Buck the Trend - don't be a sheep

Do you think the title is harsh? I do, too. But I want to ensure my point is not lost on you. And to let you know this post may be a little controversial and push some buttons.

I’ve had a mix of professional experiences over the past two weeks.

And I learned a little something about myself, which is, of course, a never-ending process and something I seek on an on-going basis.

What I am about to dive into, some peers from my corporate life may label as a “career-limiting move” … and all that really means is that I am about to say something that goes against the norms, and what others accept as the way to do things or what everyone wants or expects. If you have any relationship with me, you’ll know that I tend to seek ways to do the opposite. I’ve even been told that I don’t respect authority. It’s not that I don’t respect it - I have just learned to live a life that does not accept the status quo and not question anything solely because I’m told to do so. I always question and make up my own mind, not always where you can see it, but my mind is always on the move and processing information. I do not accept that there is only one way to do something or that anything is ever “done” - and if you ever tell me “that’s just the way we do it,” I’m really on high alert and tend to go into an offensive state of mind. Almost like I’m personally challenged.

I also don’t want to change anything just for the sake of changing it. Maybe it just needs tweaking. Or maybe the process flows and truly it can be left alone for now. But I’m always evaluating, always researching.

What I want to address here is a very popular arena, a way of doing things to which M-A-N-Y people respond very well. It may even be something they crave. But I would wager that there are also many others that do it, or go along with it, because they believe it’s the way things should go. I’m here to tell you there are alternatives, to trust your gut, and be on alert. And be cautions of what is being fed to you.

So, let’s break it down.

I want to share with you some varied experiences I’ve had over the past two weeks while attending a few different conferences. Let me start by saying that I have attended (and, quite frankly, also planned) more than my fair share of events, meetings, seminars, etc., and I love the feeling of comradery, the knowledge and experience I gain from attending.

First, I attended an association conference filled with women who are passionate about their work and supportive of each other. It was warm, engaging, personal, educational, and all around enjoyable. I would, for sure, return for additional experiences.

The following weekend, I attended two other conferences or summits, and my experience was quite different. Neither of these were targeting my specific industry, just for small businesses in general, so I was interested and eager to learn any new nuggets of knowledge I could discover to help me on my journey of building my empire. Because yes, that is my goal. I have big dreams - buckle up and get ready.

The first was smaller than I expected, but actually pretty organized, which suited my brain. Most of the vendors there really did not interest me, but I had attended for the presentations and to hear the speakers. It was a free event, so I was already kind of questioning myself for attending - I solidly believe in the adage “you get what you pay for.” And what ended up happening was that l left early, after just the 2nd presentation of what was supposed to be day-long experience. The first was rather vapid and self-promoting for the panel, but I could live with that. But it was during the second one, given by one of the leaders of the conference, that some advice was given that was, what I consider, less than ethical, and it made me extremely uncomfortable. That immediately made me doubt anyone or anything else coming for the day, so I left. It was almost like something was pulling me out of the building, and I chose to not ignore it.

And then I spent the remainder of the day getting actual work done.

The following day, I attended another seminar, and this time it was one I paid for. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where my learning happened. I learned that I am not a fan of the pseudo-excitement, the kind that is almost forced upon you, and created by loud music, high-fives upon entering the room, loud cheering and jumping up and down, and a dance contest at the start of the session, to “create energy and excitement.” It just all felt so fake. Orchestrated. Forced. And dare I say - at risk of causing offending - extremely evangelical. Like the planners were trying to convince everyone that we were in the most exciting place in the world, which