One of the things I’ve been absorbing about myself over the past 72 hours is how much I enjoy making connections and listening to people’s stories. The amount of amazing people at this event is slightly overwhelming but in a good way. I mean, on Friday I sat down and spoke with a woman who has a Ph.D in Neurophysiology and decided to pursue building an organization that connected more Puerto Rican youth to opportunities in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering & Math). Shortly afterward, Pape Gaye (the CEO of IntraHealth International) and two physicians from the Aspen area came over – queue ridiculous amounts of great conversation.
Here’s the thing: being able to immerse yourself in environments that are teeming with industry leaders in health but also those who have amazing stories of courage, resilience and purpose driven endeavors, all mix together into opportunities for you. Plain and simple. These are high impact environments of concentrated brain power as well as inspiration. And I gotta say, the tagline for the Festival is exactly what I’m about:
“Ideas That Matter.”
In reflecting on my time here at the Aspen Ideas Festival’s Spotlight Health series, here are 3 opportunity types you create for yourself when you spend time at high impact events:
At events that bring together groups of people from various backgrounds & talents, you get exposed to concepts that you may not have thought about before. Expanding your horizon around topics that you wouldn’t normally engage in offers you the opportunity to connect the dots with your work in often times fresh, unexpected ways. This is where true innovation happens – when you grow yourself, you grow your capacity for better solutions. As you hear stories from others, you have your preconceived notions challenged. Empathy often ensues. This prepares you to once again, align yourself with those you’re helping.
Value for Others:
Many times at events that are focused on big ideas, new frameworks for doing things or are inspirational in nature – the curated talks are great but the real magic happens in the hallways and at lunch tables where you meet up with people you don’t know. Conversations happen and before you know it, you’re giving insights or advice on a particular subject. Someone mentions that they wish they knew someone working on food deserts and pow, you do! When you share valuable information to help your fellow attendee (who might just be some amazingly influential leader that needs someone like you on the team), you feel great for being helpful and they feel great for getting needed information. A win-win situation. This is important because over time you’re able to hone your own expertise when these opportunities arise. It improves your leadership and solidifies your value add into the overall community.
This one usually is a big reason why people attend such events but I made it last for a reason. With personal growth and being valuable to others, opportunities for your body of work will literally manifest for you. You will have done the investment of putting yourself into places of opportunity and will be ready for when something pops up to steer the direction for your career. A light bulb may go off in your head from a talk someone gave and you may go ahead and turn that into a startup. With high impact events, come high impact people that may want to continue conversations with you, ultimately leading to things like interviews or speaking opportunities. If you have a website dedicated to your work & thoughts, it’s even easier for this to be facilitated.
As you continue your pursuit in creating work that matters, keep these opportunity types in mind when you attend events. Building your own ecosystem & network will be crucial in creating valuable momentum for whatever impact you want to make.
I hit all 3 of these opportunities on Day 1 of the event and looking forward to seeing what manifests in the days to come.