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Conference Experience


5 Powerful Intentions for an Expansive Conference Experience

Taking note at Priya Parker’s keynote at the CreativeMornings Summit 2018

Taking note at Priya Parker’s keynote at the CreativeMornings Summit 2018

People attend conferences for two main reasons: 1. To connect with others 2. To expand--intellectually, emotionally and creatively. Why not create powerful intentions to design the best possible conference experience you can imagine for yourself?

Gone are the days of the run-of-the-mill trade shows. Today, entrepreneurs and freelancers plan their travel schedules around immersive experiences in unique destinations like HATCH in Bozeman, Montana, or the CreativeMornings Summit summer camp that I just attended in the scenic Catskills of New York.  These multi-day conventions are jam-packed with activities like ‘Powerful Intentions Setting’, talks from industry experts, breakout sessions and bootcamps and it can be overwhelming, even for the most extroverted of us (hand-raise-moji).

Before you arrive at your next conference, I invite you to go inward and create a few powerful intentions of your own to better curate the experience you wish to have. Adopt one or more of the five powerful intentions below will allow for inward expansion that in turn will attract the people you are meant to meet.

Powerful Intention #1:

I will put my mission to the test--how can what I learn here allow me to be more specific in what I strive to do and who I do it for?

Before setting foot on the cobblestone path that led to the cabins at CM Summit camp a few weeks back, I was vacillating between 2 ideas for my group coaching course that I will be launching by year-end 2018. However, after prolific author and marketing master, Seth Godin took the stage, he urged us to “seek to serve the smallest possible audience.” After mentally eliminating the idea that was too broad, my mental picture of how I will serve my ‘polyamas’ became evermore clear and colorful.

Ascend Live 2018 with Melissa Pharr

Ascend Live 2018 with Melissa Pharr

Powerful Intention #2:

I intend to stay fully present to what is showing up for me emotionally. Whatever comes, I welcome and acknowledge it with radical consent.

“Participate to the point and extent that you want.” Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering and master facilitator at the CM Summit told the crowd that fully encircled her on the field house bleachers. She defined this as radical consent, and I might offer that if you are feeling something that prevents you from campfire crowd crooning your lil heart out, honor your emotions and take that space. Sometimes the best powerful intention you can create is the one where you honor yourself fully.

Powerful intention #3:

I will treat this experience as a mirror to show me what is beautiful, what is ugly and what is true of me.

It’s not always kumbaya and kombucha at these things or as CM says, ‘hugs and high fives.’

After several impactful keynotes on Day 2, I had to step out.

I found my way to a hammock with my journal and a hot, heaving, heavy chest. I felt like a child about to throw a *major* tantrum. One of those upsets that as a child you allow the emotional storm to rip through your whole body, squirming and screaming, face twisted in aggravation in the unfairness of it all. I was envious in the most altruistic way (friendvious?)

“I want to be the one on stage! Why aren’t they listening to ME? I want to be the brilliant one facilitating transformational change!”

The feelings weren’t pretty, but I allowed them to set up camp in that hammock that overlooked the lake-facing cabins.

It felt beautiful to accept the truth that I couldn’t not facilitate transformational change until I felt it first. And how could I not be grateful for that hard-hitting dose of empathy!?

Powerful Intention #4:

I will pay attention to my energy and how certain people, nourishment and experiences ‘fill’ vs. ‘drain’ me and note them accordingly.

One of the greatest gifts of practicing presence and self-awareness is that you become keenly aware of how your energy shifts. The higher we resonate, the more creative and expansive we are and the more we attract opportunities and similarly high-resonating people our way. It can be very easy to abandon your self-care practices when in a new, exciting environment, but doing that can cause you to burn out quickly. Keep the ones that allow you to show up fully present, whether that is getting your morning meditation in or keeping an alcohol-free spree going.

Tina Ross Eisenberg, found of CreativeMornings takes the mic

Tina Ross Eisenberg, found of CreativeMornings takes the mic

Powerful Intention #5:

I will get weird.

Fellow Austinites understand that weird is a euphemism for being unapologetically authentic and simply doing you. Try bypassing small talk and getting real with your fellow comrades by asking off-the-beaten path ice breakers like “What are you interested in to the point of near-embarrassment?” or “What’s your go-to dance move?”

Making out-of-the-ordinary connections make them more memorable, and is a trick that memory masters use with mnemonics. If one of your reasons for attending a conference is to meet amazing people, make meeting them memorable for everyone involved!

Do you have a go-to powerful intention that has worked well for you? Please share in the comments below.