Takeaways from NACE Experience!: Part 2
You Can Learn from Anyone
So I wanted to write a few minutes on one of the breakouts I attended on goal setting. I’ve read and studied a lot about goal setting…well because I’m not very good at it and need the reminder of how and why I should do it. So I thought it would be a good refresher for me. As I walked in the room, I looked up at the presenter who was a very young, smiley woman with a bubbly personality. She seemed very ambitious and confident in her presentation although it was obvious that she didn’t have a ton of experience being in front of a group. I’m sure she was a little nervous…who wouldn’t be.
Partway through the presentation, the lady next to me started huffing and puffing and scribbling furiously on her speaker evaluation form. She abruptly stood up, moved her chair aside and stormed out of the room tossing her evaluation on the empty chair. A few minutes later a few other people started to leave. Having been in front of groups before and always worrying about holding their attention, I felt bad for the speaker. I saw her watch some of the people leave and I could only imagine how she felt.
So of course I did what any nosy individual in my position would do…I picked up the evaluation form my neighbor left and I read it. In it she complained about the speakers lack of experience and knowledge on the subject and how she wished she had chosen a different breakout session. I wish I could have found the lady and told her that the problem was not the speaker…it was her. She was unwilling to learn, unwilling to sit through and open her mind and heart to allow someone who appeared young and inexperienced to teach her something. Maybe she was a perfect goal setter but my guess is, given the fact that she chose to attend that particular session, she was not.
Maybe I’m a little sensitive to this being that, since I’ve been in the business since I was 16, by the time I was in my mid 20’s, I knew an awful lot about the industry, business, the market in my city, etc. However, there were many that did not take me seriously. How could they? They only saw me as my parent’s kid…all the education and practical experience did not dissuade them of that perception. I had to fight to legitimize my knowledge and expertise and thankfully, people started turning to me for advice. Luckily people recognized that I understood things, like “the Google”, the internet, and the changing landscape of technology and its impact on the wedding market. It was their faith in me that prompted me to start this blog.
Had the people who left early from the class stayed, they would have learned some valuable lessons about goal setting. The speaker gave us a pretty practical process to set goals. Basically she talked about establishing the goal first by identifying what you want and then using a bracket system to work backwards through creating a series of actionable steps that would get you to where you want to be. It was a great visual representation of what it would take to get there. I think she probably could have included a few more examples of the process from several points of view aside from her own such as through the eyes of a student, a hotel manager, and independent business owner, etc. to better illustrate how it works. However, I learned from her because I was open to it and I think others did too. We have to be open to learning, from anyone and everyone. That’s how we improve our lives, our careers, and our ability to serve others.
I’ve now officially stepped off my soap box…I’m looking forward to another day of learning and delicious food.
-Featured image by Alan Levine