I just got back from my first professional development opportunity of 2016, and just want to say DAMN, if this is a sign of things to come, this year is going to be off the hook! Not only was the swag bag the BEST (thank you, Susan Hyatt), but I learned a ton, made great connections, and pushed toward my bigger goals.

In my plan, 2016 is a big transformative year. I want big stuff, big results, big changes, big pay-off. And so I was thoughtful about the professional development opportunities I budgeted for. Honestly, this year's investment in self is enough Benjamins to give me pause. Seriously. But I know it's right. Because I am tying it all back to my goals.

Yes, invest in yourself. But what's the return?

Because you know I can't just spend all this money without being able to prove the benefit. And neither should you.

For every conference, training, networking event I'm attending this year, I have enumerated ahead of time just what I'm going to get out of it, tying back to my bigger goals for the year. And yes, I do it in Excel. You don't have to, but that's what works for me. Here's what it looks like:

Fun does not (necessarily) business goals advance.

Of COURSE the training was fun. How could it not be fun to go to Savannah, Georgia for the weekend, hang out with a room full of kick-ass women entrepreneurs, sleep in a mansion, eat well? Fun pretty much goes without saying. But fun can't be all of it. I still need to be sure, from a business angle, whether a training was worth my time and money.

In this case, emphatically, YES. Going to Savannah for a weekend was so worth it. I'm hitting my goal-related outcomes above, AND came back with a new business idea (stay tuned for #pricingninja!). My notes are FULL of lessons and material and inspiration and ridiculous/awesome hashtags from the weekend, #burntheboat, #fliptables, #launchthatbitch being just a few. And I feel like I made about 30 new friends, co-conspirators and collaborators in creating this bold new world of work that we want so much.

I'm home now, and the real work is on -- the real work of exceeding my specific Outcomes. I want to make sure not to squander any of the opportunities of the weekend's training. Which means I gotta go-go-go, gotta write, gotta harness this energy while it's fresh.

And get ready for the next opportunity I have planned for the year, making sure that it, too, drives toward the bigger goal, plays its part in this big-ass plan.

Yes to fun. AND Yes to goals and outcomes and measures.

It's so much more fun for me when I know it's paying off, that I'm making smart investments, yielding a return that is part quantitative (subscribers, Likes, followers, paying clients, listeners), part qualitative (camaraderie, friendship, inspiration, laughter). I encourage you to do the same: YES to investing in yourself. And YES, too, to identifying, maximizing and enjoying the returns.



#launchthatbitch #makeyourlife #doyourthing