The 2018 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition -- #SHRM18 - is June 17-20 and this will be my first time attending the event. I’ve been tweeting and posting about how excited I am and have been telling anyone who will listen about this upcoming opportunity. When I think about meeting amazing HR colleagues, learning from the terrific depth and array of speakers and visiting with numerous vendors, my heart starts to race. I even have an app on my phone counting down the days until I head to Chicago.
To be fully transparent, mixed with this tremendous excitement is some anxiety. Thinking about how many people will be there and the many choices of sessions and activities leads me to feeling a bit overwhelmed. How will I figure out how to meet up with the people I want to see? What if I don’t connect with others and feel isolated. (Nothing is worse than feeling alone amongst thousands of people). How will I determine which speakers to hear? What should I pack? How will I manage to get around McCormick Place (I hear it is huge) and ensure that I get the most out of this experience? In other words, I question if I am up to all of this. What if it is all too much and I don’t really fit in? Has someone made a mistake asking me to be a speaker and blogger? In other words, while attending SHRM18 is a huge honor it is also a lot to process and plan.
Brookfield (2002) noted that it is common for people to experience imposter syndrome when entering a new situation. It is normal to believe that everyone else has everything figured out and that they know what to do and how to act. In other words, everyone else deserves to be there and you begin to wonder how the heck you managed to get in. I find this helpful, as it is a good reminder that some anxiety when entering a new and unknown situation is normal and in fact, is healthy. This questioning allows you to process information, reach out for help and put a plan in place.
There are so many resources available to help #SHRM18 be a terrific and powerful experience. Follow the #SHRM18 Bloggers for advice, as many of them have experiences from previous conferences. Reach out to the bloggers when you are at the conference. Come and find me! We can share stories, find answers to questions and take part in (and take advantage of) the many opportunities together.
After taking a few deep breaths I realize that there are so many wonderful, supportive HR colleagues at this event to assist and guide me. A few more breaths and I realize that I do deserve to be at #SHRM18 and so do you! So, while admittedly it may be a bit scary (remember this is normal and this is okay) take the leap of faith. Invest in yourself and your career. Introduce yourself to new people and make new connections. In other words, expand your world. You deserve this and you do belong at the SHRM18 conference.
Join me as we learn and embrace new opportunities!
Brookfield, S. D. (2002). Using the lenses of critically reflective teaching in the community college classroom. New Directions for Community Colleges, 118, 31-38.