Thursday, April 19, 2018

Get The Most Out of KalamazooX

The last KalamazooX Conference is this weekend.

I'm hoping folks attending will step back and take the conference in for what it is: one of the most amazing, impactful events you could ever possibly attend. KalX is extraordinary in the power and depth of the speakers' stories. Mike Eaton's done an incredible job over the decade he's run it. Attendees and speakers all come away drained, exhausted, and inspired.

The thing is, the best talks at KalX are intense and polarizing. I've heard a talk held up as an inspiration for positive life changes--while others felt that same talk was instrumental in breaking up a marriage, or a feeble attempt at the speaking trying to rationalize their own life choices.

A few years ago one talk by a close friend laid out a case about not simply following "passion" but instead planning out a life and career of awesomeness. A small group took great offense that, and railed against both the talk and the speaker because they were offended.

This year one person Tweeted "I hope this year's opening talk isn't as upsetting as last year's." [1]

If you're going into KalX loaded up with fear about sessions you're doing it wrong. Instead, go in with an open mind and a vulnerable heart. You should go to KalX EXPECTING to get upset, because the awesome speakers Mike lines up are throwing out intense, deep stuff they care about at their cores.

I've been to conferences all over the world. I've listened to a huge number of talks on podcasts and videos. There is nothing like KalX. Nothing.

Be open. Be vulnerable. Stop getting offended because someone phrases things differently than you might.

It's how you'll get the most out of this last KalX.

[1] I was the one who gave that opening talk at last year's KalX. The reaction of a few ungracious people who decided to surround me and yell at me for ten minutes because they were upset is part of the reason I've written this post.

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