But do you love your job enough to be working when you are dying? Enough to be showing up at work even though you've been told that you likely won't be around a year from now?
That probably gave you pause, didn't it? I love my work -- most days -- but when my friend Jeremy told me early in the New Year about his diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma, I was shocked to hear about his illness, and even more shocked that he was choosing to continue to be on the job.
"If you only have a few precious months, just a year to live, why the heck would you want to be working??" I thought.
Well that is what's different about Jeremy. He loves his work; maybe not all aspects of his job (I don't know really because I've never asked him in detail). From what I see Jeremy gets to do what he loves and what he's really good at: talk to people, make them think, make them laugh, help them feel what is real and important. That's just what he does in both his jobs.
You see, Jeremy is not just the Director of Sales for the Scotiabank Convention Centre. He's also a Deacon in the Catholic Church. I've never heard any of his sermons, but I've read his blogs and social media posts. And we've talked about our faith, about stuff that you don't expect to talk about with a meetings industry colleague.
With Jeremy, what you see is what you get.
So he shows up, having made the choice to be living with a life-threatening illness. He is not dying. He is here, with us now. Living and breathing. A regular guy doing what he does as best he can and writing about it (check out his blog to see what I mean).
Come to think of it, it's probably not just his job he loves. It's because he is doing his life's work.
I promise I won't try to be a mindless cheerleader, sending out platitudes about the reality you are living, Jeremy. I can try to imagine what you are going through, but the truth is that I really don't know. Yes and, I respect and salute what you are doing.
Carry on, my friend, because you are a living reminder that it's not just about the job, it's about our life's work. We thank you for that.
Last week I returned from a major Canadian meetings industry show with a handful of business cards, having had a few good conversations, but no qualified leads to speak of.
Chatting with fellow exhibitors, I heard a similar refrain. Lucky for me, I own my company so I get to determine whether a particular marketing activity showed return that I'm satisfied with, or not.
Unfortunately my booth neighbours don't have that luxury. Whether they are hotels, destination marketing organizations or other meeting services firms, most of them report to a boss, a set of partners or a Board, none of which are usually known for risk-taking or innovation. Return-on-investment is constantly on their minds.
The problem with that of course is that most of my fellow exhibitors aren't free to really be creative, creating marketing activities that make them stand out. They are marketing like it's Groundhog Day.
They go to a show because the competition will be there. They attend an event because everyone else is doing it. Is it any wonder the meetings industry has become commoditized?
If we are doing things like everyone else, then we will be seen like everyone else. Just one big crowd of undifferentiated, indistinguishable set of vendors. (If you’re a true marketer, that’s a really *bad word*!)
Remember how Phil Connors (a.k.a. Bill Murray) broke out of his predicament and won Rita's heart in the movie Groundhog Day? Once he figured out he was in a rut, he took the opportunity he was given each day to learn a new skill, to exercise a new talent, to do things differently. In the end, it greatly improved his circumstances.
So, eventprofs, ready to break out of Groundhog Day?