The Boston trip

img_2202I spent several days this week in Boston, giving three talks in three days (and throwing in a webinar too for good measure). The last was at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, which is a huge, 11,000 person extravaganza. I spent some time hanging out with Glennon Doyle Melton and Jenny Blake — see our fun photo of all of us holding each others’ books. Fun story: At wrestling practice tonight (Thursday), a fellow mom was reading Glennon’s book. I got to say hey, I was hanging out with her this morning! Except my phone had died so I couldn’t show the picture. Oh well.

I led a panel called “Namaste: Making Choices That Matter,” which featured a number of women with decades of career experience talking about choices they made along the way. One tidbit that stands out to me from the Q&A was when a young woman talked about being asked to take on more and more at work. It was good — she was being asked because she was a high performer — but she worried about getting burned out. One of my panelists announced from her time in banking that what she’d seen men do is say “Yes, absolutely, I’m on that, and I’m going to need X more dollars in my budget, and three people reporting to me and we will make it work.” Whereas women might assume they’d need to do these corporate heroics themselves. Food for thought. An answer “Yes, and I need X” is a great way of finding out how serious the person is, or getting a much bigger empire if the request is legit.

My main take away from the week is that I am still struggling to be productive while on the road. I love speaking, though it requires a lot of energy, so maybe I need to learn to be OK with not doing as much else on speaking days as I might. When I’m waiting for a plane, sometimes I just want to read a magazine. I will also admit that I spent 2 hours watching TV in my hotel rooms during this trip. All Property Brothers. Very, very satisfying to see homes made over like that. I am now fantasizing about a bedroom makeover.

A more productive takeaway: I’m also reminded of the importance of practice. I realized on Wednesday afternoon that I didn’t like the 8-minute intro to my panel that I’d prepared. So I completely reworked it, and wrote it out long hand since I didn’t have ready access to a printer. Then I practiced it 5 times, and by the time I got through it 5 times I not only knew it was the right length, I felt pretty comfortable giving it. I ended up not actually needing my handwritten notes — but they were still good to have.

Now it’s one more trip and then I’m done with planes for the year! (But not done with trains…)

5 thoughts on “The Boston trip

  1. I agree that you don’t always need to be productive, especially not if the main activity saps your energy, but maybe there are some low-energy tasks you could come up with for traveling. I’m a librarian, and lucky to have enough staff that sometimes I can work in a back room away from all the hubbub. However, I do have scheduled hours on the circulation desk and reference desk and need tasks that I can work on that are mobile and don’t take a ton of mental energy or focus, since I’m often interrupted. Sometimes I plan these out in my Friday afternoon planning sessions (thanks to your suggestion), and I also have a running list of good “desk tasks.”

  2. As much as I love your work (and it has changed my life), I do think the danger is adopting a mindset that all time needs to be productive, working towards some larger goal. Certainly, it is okay to just zone out and recuperate when it’s needed, and your body and mind are telling you that when you travel, you really need it. With such a full life, kids, etc at home, it’s no wonder that when you are in a different environment you crave checking out! Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

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