By Deanna Tharpe, DSAIA Executive Director
I put down my Android Karenina book last night (yes, same series as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) to read a leadership book I had downloaded from the local library. (By the way, I just want to thank my hubby for my tablet because I think I’ve read more in the last 6 months than in the past 6 years.) The author spoke of getting out of your comfort zone and how even when we do, sometimes we don’t really go anywhere or do anything because we tend to rely on our same old crutches. That made me think of our conference attendees.
I’m ecstatic that we have over 225 attendees registered for the conference. I truly hope that they learn a ton of stuff and go back home trying to process it all. But more than that…I hope that they get outside of their comfort zone a little and drop the crutches. I’ve heard groups tell me “we’re just too small to do that type of program” and don’t attend the session. Or what about the group that says “we just don’t have enough money to do all the things we want to do”. FYI: No one EVER has enough money to do all the things they want to do. But to you small groups out there…throw away that “small group” mentality crutch and look around. Small groups CAN do big things. And for those groups who don’t have enough money…make a real investment in your organization’s future by attending one of the DOZEN fundraising-focused sessions at this year’s conference. And then…follow through when you get back home.
And if you are not sure about a session, then ask the presenter some questions! You can do that in advance this year by getting involved in our online community and messaging speakers. One attendee told me she was able to find out more about a session (whether it was above or below her knowledge level) just by asking the speaker. It helped her continue to pick her sessions and not schedule one where she already knew everything. Hallelujah!
Yes, getting out of your comfort zone is difficult and when you do those crutches feel like old friends. But crutches don’t let you run with the pack or even come out in the lead. You are attending the conference because you are a leader. And when you realize that, you are already halfway there. See you in DC!