I’ve just returned from attending a conference that is run every two years. It is provides the usual mix of new and interesting information along with the presentations that are comfortingly familiar. You know the ones that when you walk out of the session and ask yourself “did I learn anything new in there?” and you answer “not really but it was comforting to know that what I’ve been doing was on the right track”.
Validating and affirming further reinforced by the similar comments made by my peers.
As the conference drew to a close and people flopped into oversized hotel chairs from concentration fatigue, the same questions were being passed around assembled groups.
“How did you find the conference?”
“What did you get from that?”
“What’s your take home sentiment?”
“Was it valuable?”
As I sat and let these questions swirl around dwindling throng of delegates, I thought about what I would take away from the conference. And it finally came to me as colleague, who I only see every two years, waved goodbye to me.
I feel big. Not that I feel physically larger but that sometimes it is easy to be surrounded by people and feel lonely. As Hugh McLeod put it, “sometimes I feel small”.
At the end of the conference, I felt connected. I belonged to something. I was seen and I was heard as much as listened and observed. I was smiled at, greeted, hugged and my connection with peers was reaffirmed; connections rekindled or created.
What did I take away from the conference?
I felt big.