What I learned at my first REMC Conference

I went to my first conference with a group of REMC / Electric Co-Op’s from around the country last week. We were a “vendor” at the meeting so had the chance to set up a little table, meet some other vendors serving this industry, and talk to a wide variety of people from the REMC industry. I learned a number of things, and wanted to get them down here before I lose this sheet of paper. I may come back to this and embellish it later, but these are key things that I can do better at (or keep doing) the next time we go to a conference of any sort. Most of these are in the order of their occurance, or just randomly inserted because I remembered them.

  • It was a good idea to come as early as we did. We had our choice of tables, and also had easily access to electricity. Some other vendors that came later did not have any access to electric.
  • There was a wide variety of booth styles. Some people had 8 foot tall setups with great marketing slogans and images, others had a table full of tools, while still others had a setup much like the science fair days I used to love. Our table was not the only one with something on a computer screen, either, although it was one of only a few.
  • People are friendly. SMILE. Just because they know you have something to sell them (or help them buy) doesn’t mean that you can’t get to know them first.
  • People could not tell what we did from a 5 second glance at our table. Unless you deciphered the name, you really didn’t even know we were in the IT Consulting Business. A conversation was required. This was not ideal in this type of setting. I had relied on hoping the right slide was showing at the right time to capture the right person’s attention. Not so smart. On the second day of the conference, I took out almost every slide about “us” and just left in the pieces about the solutions we had to offer. We got a lot more attention that day.
  • As a second part to the previous lesson, there are ways to share what we do so someone doesn’t have to have a 60 second plus conversation with us first.
  • It’s important to know what type of people you’ll be dealing with, or at least what type you probably won’t be dealing with. We started off talking about our Ticket Management system, which really wasn’t in line with what most of the people we met on day 1 were. They were mainly from out of town and were also mainly safety people.
  • Toys. Toys. Toys. One guy had some sort of static ray gun that looked like it came out of an alien space ship on Star Trek. How much attention did that get him! It was amazing. I thought about bringing up Angry Birds on my laptop, but that didn’t seem entirely appropriate. Having somethign people can touch, feel, or simply be curious about would have been a great help.
  • Don’t expect to be able to hang something on the wall. It was made of concrete. No straight pins there.
  • I noticed that I tend to like to look busy so that I don’t look idle.

Well that’s what I have down from my notes… I’m sure there will some more stuff come to mind, but that’s down for now.

My Ecclesiastes – Motivation

The past year has been quite a journey for me, and I expect that the trip is nowhere near over. As I read the book of Ecclesiastes recently, I was reminded again about how even the wisest man who ever lived had to walk a path full of “wrong turns” in order to get to the destination. Solomon tested knowledge, pleasure, power, and a host of other sources for the meaningful life that his heart ached for, but in the end, here’s what he comes to:

Now all has been heard;
   here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
   for this is the duty of all mankind.
               (Ecclesiastes 12)

I believe that. Wholeheartedly. The search for “life” ends in God. There is nothing else that will fulfil, noone else who can validate us (me) to a place where it’s all “worthwhile.”

I’ve also come to understand my role in this life. Well, that may be a bit bold. Certainly, I don’t know everything about what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life or see the exact image of how I fit into the puzzle, but I see a good portion about how my uniquely created heart fits into the body of Christ. I’m learning what makes me “come alive,” and I’m going and doing that. I’m catching visions of what God is asking me to do, short and long term. That’s amazing. It’s something I’ve never experienced in life. It’s something I want to experience for the rest of my life. I never want this to go away again.

But… yeah, you knew what was coming, right? But.

But what I fight is the day-to-day. I’ve received some great coaching and mentoring along the lines of goal setting, strategic planning, and personal development. I know how to set goals that art attainable, measurable, and all that. I even find my life centered much more around that way of life than it used to be. It’s the motivation thing that gets me…

Motivation to…

…get to bed on time and get up early like I need to.
…make my followup and sales calls on a regular / daily basis, instead of letting them pile up
…make plans for big things that will never happen by themselves or with a single week’s worth.
…step up and let my voice be heart, even though it’s not as confident as I wish it was.

I even hopped over to Wikipedia, and it starts off right where I’m at:

Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. … Motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism. Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.

I watched this documentary the other day about Seal Team 6, the guys that raided and took out Osama Bin Ladin. “Extremely Self-Motivated men,” this show called them. “Is there even such a thing,” I wondered? I hear that put in a variety of forms… Self Motivated, Type A, Driven…. all of those things. And that’s not ME. I don’t WANT it to be me, in fact. And in reality, I doubt it’s really anybody. Something is motivating those who seem to need no motivation other than a tap on the shoulder… self, pride, determination… something.

And this is my little ecclesiastical moment. I may not be searching for meaning in life, but I am searching for something… something that will drive me, motivate me.

I don’t want to figure that all out. I don’t want answer. But I want to understand my heart. I want to know it. To take captive the realm I have been given and put it into the service of the king.

That’s really where this all boils down to. S.D.G. Solo Deo Gloria. All Glory to God. That phrase captures it for me as a barometer, because when I measure what I’m doing against it, I can see the difference between what’s driven by my own pride and selfishness and fear and what’s driven by an all-out-craziness to see God’s name lifted up.

I want to keep that in front of me, all day, every day. In the back of my head and right in front of my eyes. I must. I’m not sure what will “work” for me, and perhaps a life of dissatisfaction with my own status quo is not a bad thing. On the other hand, God is doing great things, and He’s doing many of them right around my little realm, and that’s exciting to watch right now. Not because of me. Not even necessarily through me. Often in spite of me. But certainly around me. I am so thankful for eyes to see, and I pray for a heart to continue to follow, chase, and one of these days capture that wild goose called “what motivates chet?”

While I’m hear, I searched my blogs for posts I’ve made about motivation, and there certainly are a few. Here are a couple links…