In just two days, I’ll be in sunny L.A. for a women’s personal development conference. Unless you’re brand new here, you know that this is right up my alley. I love journaling and feelings and self-improvement. I attended this same conference — RISE by Rachel Hollis — last year, and I was drawn to it for a lot of reasons, but the primary draw was this: Rachel’s biggest personal value is growth. She lives her whole life around the idea that she’s good now, but she has the potential to be better, and that potential is wasted if she doesn’t work to grow, change, and improve. She delivers this message without an ounce of self-hate, and it is totally infectious.
I went to RISE last year without any preparation (minus way too much time spent packing). I showed up in my meticulously selected outfits, ready to learn, and I cried, danced (on stage, no less), and made new friends. I took so much knowledge and motivation home with me that I cannot begin to imagine how fulfilling this weekend will be now that I have the tools to prepare better beforehand.
If you’re also attending RISE this weekend, or if you are heading to any development conference at any point, following these steps will lead to a better, more fulfilling, more bang-for-your-buck experience. I promise.
REFLECT: Before you jet off to another state (or drive to your local convention center), spend some reflecting. Go on some walks without headphones, take a bath without a book, or let your mind wander during your commute. Before your butt is in the conference seat, have an answer to this question: What do I want to get out of this experience?
The more specific your answer, the more rich your return will be. If you want to go for inspiration and networking, AWESOME. Me too. But try to get more specific than that.
What are your pain points? What trips you up every day? When you’re working on your business or your career or your marriage, what are the issues that come up time and time again? Think on these questions and WRITE IT DOWN. I often use the voice-to-text option on my phone, or I’ll write in my notebook. Sometimes I’ll even talk it out on my Instagram story.
If none of those questions sparked an interest, here’s one that really worked for me: What do you complain about? What are the things that make you miserable, time and time again? The things you bring up to your sister, your partner, or your mom? These things — your job, your home, your husband — may be in your control to change, but they may not be. That’s OK. You can change how you handle anything.
I wrote a post on Instagram about my WHAT for Rise 2018. If you share your why for any conference (or even independent personal development), tag me! @caitlinmwallace and #FruitfulWHAT.
Over the weekend, a friend asked me what I want to do. What I’m moving towards with all of this work and writing and oversharing. And I realized that I don’t really know. I’m spending all this time and energy, but for what? . I don’t think that life is full of concrete ideas, and I don’t think that this question needs an answer tomorrow. BUT, now I know what I’ll be focusing on at RISE. . @letsrise.co is a two-day personal development conference hosted by @msrachelhollis. It’s uplifting and fun and equally full of dancing and hard, hard work. I cried a lot last year, and I expect much of the same next month. Figuring out what I want to do with my life is a hard question. Maybe the answer will a be a little scary. But if I’m not going to use two days of self reflection to think about the scary questions, then why am I going in the first place? ✨✨✨
REST: This one is super challenging, at least for me. In the days leading up to a trip, I’m always running around with errands and last-minute work and packing and making sure that the fridge is stocked. But being RESTED AND WELL is crucial to getting every last ounce of conference knowledge.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we had a disasterous Monday evening. I made the huge mistake of putting too much leftover soup down the garbage disposal, and our old-old (mid-century modern?) cast iron pipes didn’t like it one bit. There were chunks of kale, sweet potato, and smushed red lentils all over the laundry room (which is in the unfinished basement THANK GOD). It looked like when Kevin spills his famous chili on The Office. So… I didn’t get a ton of sleep last night. But tonight and tomorrow EARLY BEDTIME is my highest priority. I cannot be nodding off when I need to be taking notes and learning.
PACK SMART: Don’t let a bad packing decision ruin your conference experience. Pack layers. Pack a water bottle. Pack discreet snacks (nuts in a ziplock bag are perfect for eating one-by-one). PACK AN EXTERNAL CHARGER. Pack business cards (mine are coming next-day delivery from Moo.com, thanks to a suggestion from my friend Jennylynn). Extra pens are a smart choice and a good way to make friends.
Being uncomfortable because you forgot something is a great way to miss out on the experience, so make that list and check it twice. In advance. Not an hour before your flight. (I am preaching to the choir here, OK!)
LEAVE INHIBITION AT HOME: OK, OK, I don’t mean like that 😈 This isn’t Spring Break in Mexico on Laguna Beach (remember the denim miniskirts?!). What I mean: don’t waste your time and money attending a personal development conference if you’re going to be too embarrassed to participate. If you don’t go all-in, you won’t grow. You won’t change. You won’t get what you paid for and took off work for and looked forward to for months.
Every person in the room is there to grow and change, too. We’re all on this mission together, and while we may not be crying at the same moments, we’ll all be crying at some point. If you’re asked to dance, DANCE. If you’re asked to write a letter to yourself, write the hell out of it.
Be honest with yourself and DO THE DAMN THING, or what is the point?
OK, that’s all I got! I am psyched to head to Rise, work on growth, spend time with my bestie, and eat lots of great food. I’ll come back a changed woman, for sure. You may not see it, but I’ll feel it. And that’s what makes all of this ⤴ worth it.
If I’ll see you at Rise, leave a comment! I’d love to meet in real life.
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