My Life Lived Strategically

Recently at a networking event, the topic of my life lived strategically and what I do for a living came up. In between bites of a soggy cracker, I replied, “I’m an event strategist. I help companies all over the world achieve their goals by creating experiences for their target audience.”

My new acquaintance looked puzzled for a moment. Then his face lit up. “Oh, cool,” he said. “You’re a party planner!”

He went on to tell me that my job was “the greatest as I get to “travel the world, see fantastic places and go to parties for a living.”

Most people apply the talent, trade, or skill they have pursued professionally to benefit their own lives. If you’re great at something, why wouldn’t you be a beneficiary of that ability? Granted, there are exceptions; many chefs don’t always cook when at home but it’s their conscious choice to avoid a stove when not at work.

Events when well-designed are experiences. Here’s the difference: think of the happiest day of your life. Think about what you were wearing, who you were with, where you were, what the day sounded like and how you felt in that moment.

Now think of your 8th birthday.

Can you? It’s fair to say you were at both, but most likely, only one comes readily to mind. That’s because the happiest day of your life was an experience. Your 8th birthday was an event.

As a Master Strategist and Founder of Strategic Meetings & Events, I am committed to creating experiences.  I have seen strategic events bring a company’s marketing message to life and accelerate sales. This strategic mindset launched my business and earned me a seat at the table.

So how did I get there? When I embarked on my career in the industry, the landscape was much different.  When I started planning events, it wasn’t a widely recognized profession, and I had no mentor. I created an event and tradeshow department for a publishing incubator and had to teach myself everything. The internet didn’t exist, so I relied on my natural instinct to create organized systems and figured it out. There was a lot of crying involved.

Having to learn by trial and error helped teach me some valuable lessons.  Now as a master strategist, I am an integral part of the entire planning process. The sales, marketing and events departments have interwoven goals, with events being the vehicle that accelerates growth. A strategist becomes an essential part of an organization and their work is recognized as a meaningful driver of success.

Here are five strategic tools that successful people from all walks of life know and use:

1. Identify Your Goals. Always start with the end in mind. What is your goal? Is it worded as a SMART Goal? Strategic, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely? If not, it’s just a wish. For example, “I want to lose ten pounds” is a wish. A SMART goal is: “I am going to lose ten pounds in thirty days by eliminating sugar from my diet and walking one mile, five days a week.” See the difference?

2. Goal Driven Actions. Once the goal is in SMART form, make sure everything you do brings you closer to achieving it -and I mean everything. For instance, if you want to get a promotion at work imagine what a person with the title you want looks like. Start dressing like the person you want to become. Get the haircut or style you imagine your future self to be. View your workspace through the eyes of the person with the higher title. Is that what his/her desk would look like? Think, speak and act like a higher version of yourself and you become the embodiment of your goal.

3. Join Forces. Having a personal board of directors helps you in areas where you are not an expert. We can’t all be good at everything, but we can be good networkers and resource builders. Surround yourself with smart people who inspire and challenge you and who know things you don’t and rely on their expertise. You will not only further sharpen your own skills you’ll pick up new ones.

4. Write It All Down. Writing down your goal makes it real. Put it in a spot you can see it; be it a print out you keep on your desk or as your screensaver. Make a list of three key things you need to accomplish each day and track your progress. By tracking what you have accomplished you have a visual reminder of how far you have come and what you have left to do. Whether you create a spreadsheet, online document or use a notebook, keep your lists and achievements in one place. Organization will help you stay on track.

5. Share Your Success. Become a mentor. Not only is it a gift to the people you motivate, it inspires you to set and reach new goals.

Living life strategically is about living a smarter, happier, more productive life that enriches you, your family and those around you. Happy people give off positive energy and attract other people to them. By improving the quality of your own life you will serve as a model and mentor and lift up those around you in the process.

Life is the ultimate event. Make the most out of it.

Learn how to harness the untapped power of events, and step into your role as a respected leader in your organization and the industry.

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