Wow. What an event.
In excess of 2,000 Accountants, BAS Agents, Bookkeepers & Financial Advisors, and one monk all under a single roof. Of course, as the global trail-blazers, we expect nothing less from Xero - I mean what other accounting conference has swings and a DJ at their conference?
I suspect there's about to be an on-slaught of very useful technical blogs bouncing around the big wide world web today, so I thought I'd share a few personal thoughts instead. I'll skip over a few particularly personal tips like - 'never think a white dress at a conference is a good thing' and share my top four.
1. Collaboration creates community not competition.
Many of the accounting and bookkeeping community have connected online and over social media platforms in the preceding twelve months, but never actually met IRL (as the people that swipe left or right call it). These on-line groups have been an immensely generous source for sharing experience and skills.
The traditional wisdom of business would say, hold your cards close to your chest and don't share freely whats taken fifteen years to learn the hard way. But the amazing Xero community turns that on its head and shares like there's no tomorrow and that is an invaluable asset for every single one of us. It builds trust and this was echoed by a woman I have admired for many years, Rachel Botsman. Click here to watch here TED talk on Trust.
2. Ancient wisdom is timeless.
Wait, what? There's a sage on the stage! With a beautiful lotus on the large screen, the sound of Tibetan pan pipes and soft beams of lighting, there was such a sense of peace when I entered the room for the talk by Hindu Monk, Dandapani, that I literally felt my shoulders drop and relax.
This was a talk that had us using our minds to re-visit friend's weddings and dear one's we've lost - a practical exercise in our awareness of mind. I know I wasn't the only one trying to wipe away a little tear. It was a talk that was both remarkably simple at the heart of its message, but with the possibility of profound transformation.
I loved Dandapani's question about who we'd go spend time with and what we'd do if we knew we only had five hours to left to live - AND then use this information as a guide for how we actually spend our daily life. (Another tear for family & friends for whom I am not present enough sometimes).
Another idea was thinking about our energy as a finite resource, in the same way, we do money and, therefore, mindfully considering how we 'spend' that energy. That is, where we let our awareness go throughout our day. As someone with a PhD in Worry, this was a timely reminder to manage my thoughts/awareness instead of being pulled along by it as it senselessly jumps from one (imagined) catastrophe to the next.
Dandapani offers an online course on Mastering Your Mind - click here for more details.
3. The pace of change is increasing
Xero's founder and visionary, Rodd Drury spoke about the future with machine learning and artificial intelligence and it pretty much blew my mind! You can watch the whole talk here (please do, it's awesome).
My take out was if you thought we were currently moving pretty fast in terms of technological impacts on the finance and accounting industry, then hang on to your virtual reality goggles, cause it's only just begun.
Nothing is static for long anymore, and if you don't ride with the wave, you'll end up with a mouthful of sand at the bottom of the ocean. For me it's staying educated and informed, and being nimble enough to adapt. It's exciting! New technology always brings new opportunities.
4. Being In Service Rather Than Being Terrified!
When Melanie Power, Xero Head of Bookkeeping, rang and asked me if I'd get up on stage at Xerocon and share my experience of creating an online presence, I didn't hesitate, I said yes. The reason I didn't hesitate, wasn't because I thought golly gee that's exactly what I love doing, it was because I knew if I did hesitate, I would say no! The five second rule.
I spent the weeks in the lead up to the event, breaking into a sweat every time I saw the word 'Xerocon' pop up on my Facebook feed. I catastrophised the full gamut of all the usual suspects; falling over as I walked on the stage, opening my mouth and no words appearing and just essentially looking and sounding ridiculous.
A skype with outstanding speaker and all-round admirable buddy, Polly McGee (check her many flavours of awesome out by clicking here) gave me a re-frame that changed the whole thing. Basically, 'be in service to others' - that is, less focus on me, more on the people it might help. Someone in the audience might get something that makes a real difference for them and my work is done.
I did get through it with actual words coming out of my mouth, with no falling over and, to be honest, might of kinda loved it, once I got going. Click here for a blog I did previously on positioning yourself on line that goes into more detail than on the day.
So, my question to myself post Xerocon is,
"How can I leverage what I learnt at Xerocon South that supports the direction I want to go in?"
I'd love to hear what your big question is? Feel free to share in comments below.