I enjoy conferences. Keynote speakers are inspiring, sessions are insightful, and conversations with passionate people share our purpose.
Conferences can also get in the way of change.
Going to conferences, quoting speakers, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, sharing research can all become ritualized behavior. It can even be like neurotic behaviors, repetitive and overt, alleviating our anxiety from knowing we need to change ourselves and our schools, while providing a false sense that is what we are doing. We can do a great job at convincing ourselves we are doing more than we actually are, and so we think we are changing.
Complex change is difficult and scary. We will stumble and at times fail getting to the change we desire. To avoid real change and still be able to face the chaos, we create our own order– an order predicated on signaling more than doing.
When you are really ready to actualize: set goals, establish evidence, identify obstacles, structure systems, and find community. You will need community and coaching not only for accountability, but for accuracy. Otherwise, you may only have changed your mind.