The 2018 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition (#SHRM18) in Chicago is exactly 4 months away. That's only 17 weeks! Blink your eyes twice and it's going to be here. This will be my second visit to the Windy City, and I'm so excited to be going back. The theme for this year's annual conference is Expand Your World, and I figure why wait, let's start now!!
This will be my 8th SHRM annual conference, and each one has been as educational and empowering as the last. The speakers are top-notch, and the real challenge is figuring out which one session to go to most in each time slot. Usually, I'm wrestling between 2 or 3 each. Seriously, they're all that awesome. Luckily, that doesn't mean that I have to miss out on content from a session that I couldn't make. Social media is doing wonders for the SHRM conferences, allowing attendees to share info in real-time for those who are not able to be at the conference, or folks who are attending other sessions during that time period. And for those of us who just have to squeeze out every drop of content from the day, we can spend our break periods sifting through Twitter and Facebook to pick up awesome nuggets of info that we may have missed.
Equally impactful are the networking opportunities that SHRM conferences provide. With 15,000+ attendees from all over the world, you're sure to find some HR pros to engage with, learn from, and become friends with. Through SHRM conferences, and also through the various social media platforms, I have cultivated some great friendships with fellow professionals in the #HRTribe and on Twitter chats like #NextChat. I would not be the professional I am today without these people. Each day I am inspired and empowered to grow beyond what I think is possible.
So back to the theme of Expand Your World. I'm a hardcore introvert at heart. There was a time the thought of going to a conference like this and just walking up to someone and making a connection would have given me such intense anxiety. And I'm still working on it, I don't think it will ever come as naturally to me as some people. But I've learned, both in my personal and professional lives, the most significant growth we will ever experience is accomplished by doing things that make us uneasy, intimidate us, or flat out terrify us. Sometimes we have to envision the change we want to see in ourselves, and push forward. It may be clunky and awkward at first. But we'll notice that the more we push our personal bubble, the more it will flex on its own to allow us to try new things. Something one of the executives in my company loves to say, and I never really understood its impact until recently, is "You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable." I'm here to tell you, that's absolutely right.
This year, I'm beyond honored and excited to be a part of the #SHRM18 Blog Squad. Talk about expanding my world! This is an incredible opportunity for me. I can't wait to connect with some of the amazing speakers and discuss what they're going to be presenting, connecting with as many professionals as possible before, during and after the show, and also supporting my fellow SHRM Bloggers as we make the most of #SHRM18.
I can't wait to you see you in Chicago!!