Wow, another BGNLive (BGNL) has come and gone. While I’m sure that everyone who attended has their own opinion, I felt that this was the most productive and enjoyable session to date.

I started the conference by reminding everyone that BGNL is primarily about two things; learning and networking. For those who haven’t attended a BGNL, this is not your typical “mini vacation” type of conference. There is real work involved. Homework assignments were sent out ahead of time with the expectation that everyone comes prepared to work - for their own benefit, the benefit of everyone back home, as well as the benefit of everyone in the room at BGNL.

Prepare and work they did. I don’t recall ever getting to spend three days with such an engaged group. They took every section, every assignment, and every chance to role play and have group discussions very seriously. They didn’t just sit and listen to ideas, they shared their own. They didn’t show up just to brag about what they have already accomplished, they took an honest assessment and identified all of the areas of improvement still ahead of them.

The work was long and the breaks (at times) were short. But there was an energy that seemed to keep the group focused and forging ahead. My hope is that everyone left having learned something new about themselves and how they will find even greater success. It’s safe to say that I learned as much as anyone. Our members work hard, try new ideas, and are creative and enthusiastic about what they do – any they’re willing to share those ideas to help everyone in the group improve.

As hard as this group worked during the day, they played just as hard each evening. Don’t get the wrong impression of what I mean here - I mean that they truly enjoyed spending the down time together, the networking part of the conference. Not only do they respect one another as business professionals, but they genuinely enjoy one another as people. I had the pleasure of watching long time friends have a bit of a reunion and watched new friendships being formed. You could see it in the level of animated conversation taking place over dinner and a cocktail, and you could hear it in the good-natured joking that would take place the following day.

As I reminded everyone at the end of the conference, there is plenty of hard work still ahead. However, they know what hard work looks like. After all, they each spent three days learning, assessing their current situation, and planning for their next level of success. Of course, the equation wouldn’t be balanced without the challenge to keep the networking/friendships active (if only virtually) until the next BGNL.

Yes, this group worked hard preparing for and participating in this conference. But what I witnessed was clear evidence that when you enjoy what you do, it hardly feels like work.


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