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Four tips I learned from attending a conference from another industry

It's important to always be learning, but we often forget we can learn from another industry. As business owners and leaders, we tend to get in the way and slow progress for our teams and companies. There are different words and phrases for it – micromanager, storm cloud, roadblock and a host of other adjectives I don’t care to write.

We also tend to get in our own way, which makes us less successful in both our business and personal lives. We often get mired in self-doubt and have unrealistic expectations about what we can accomplish in any given day, week or month.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend #SeriousBusiness2019, a conference focused on the beauty industry. My friend and fellow business owner, Tracey Watts-Cirino (Lavish Color Salon in the Cleveland area), invited me to attend. She has told me for the last two years that this conference would be great for any leader or business owner – not just those that owned and ran salons or spas.

I took her up on her offer, not only to cheer her on for winning an award (Salon Today’s Top 200 – congrats, Lavish team), but to try something different. I was a little hesitant because I wasn’t sure how relatable content from a beauty industry conference would be to a marketing and fundraising consultancy owner. But, I’m always game to try something new – plus, the conference was in New Orleans, so I knew there would be some fun and good food involved.

“Get Out of Your Own Way” was the theme for the conference and the speakers didn’t disappoint in the content they delivered. Tracey was right – it WAS a great conference and the content was totally relevant to me. By going to a conference for another industry, I was able to open my mind to different things and different ways of thinking. In fact, I think I was more present because I wasn’t around people in my industry the entire time.

The speakers were inspirational and motivating and each delivered quotable quotes that are worth sharing. Here are my four favorites and some tips on how you can relate them to your own personal and professional development – so you can get out of your own way and your team’s way.

1. “Write your story well and edit often.” Esther Perel, therapist and relationship expert

We all only have one life and when we are no longer on this planet, we will only have one story of our life.

We can’t change the past, but we can edit what we haven’t done well and improve our story as we go along. Think about how you want your story to be written. Think about how you can be the best you. Then make it a priority.

2. “How you do anything is how you do everything.” Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles, personal development entrepreneurs

This quote really resonated with me and made me start to think about how I do things in my life. And as I thought about certain things that I know about myself (i.e., I take on too many things, I need to do a better job of managing my time, I tend to be a perfectionist, etc.), I realized that no matter what I thought about, the answer was the same both in business and in my professional life. I encourage you to do the same exercise. Be more present and conscious about the things you do. For me, I know that taking on fewer things, managing time better and letting a few things be less than perfect will make me better professionally and personally.

3. “The goal of living the longest time and feeling good is because you have a unique purpose and reason you exist. The healthier you are, the greater impact you will make.” Ben Greenfield, human performance consultant and IRONMAN triathlete

This quote requires a little deep thought. So, think about when you feel your best (rested and well-fed, with positive relationships and good health). When you feel good, you perform better. When you perform well, you are inspired to do improve. When you are inspired to improve, you accomplish more. Ben’s right: we all have a unique purpose. We need to take care of ourselves, so we can make the best possible impact on others.

4. “You don’t have to prove you are the smartest person in the room.” Kati Whitledge, creator of “Meet Your Stylist” and award-winning salon owner

As leaders and business owners, we tend to think we have to know everything. And we often try to convey that we do. Well, guess what… we can’t know everything. In fact, when we act like we do know everything, we come across as arrogant. We discourage our teams from sharing new ideas. We also create a culture where people don’t feel like they are valued. Yes, as leaders and business owners, we do need to know quite a bit about many things. We also need to provide thoughtful guidance to our teams. But, practice humility, listen, accept new ideas and recognize those in the room that ARE smarter than you. Because, you know what, there are often those who are.

There are so many things that I learned from #SeriousBusiness2019. But as I reflect on the content of the conference, one thing really stood out.

We really need to figure out who we are and who we want to be – not only at work, but in all areas of our lives. We can’t always have the best story, the healthiest life or be the smartest in the room. But, we can always focus on being the best versions of ourselves.

Thanks, Tracey, for inviting me!


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