Have you packed the Right Mindset for GHC 2019?
GHC 2019 is in less than a week. I’m sure many of you have prepared really hard for the conference. I’m also sure many of you are just freaking out right now about various reasons — interviews, job hunt, speaking at the conference for the first time, volunteering, traveling to another city for the first time, making a schedule, FOMO — fear of missing out, signing up for after-parties and events and many more reasons.
All of them are, TRUST ME, extremely normal reactions.
In this article, I’m going to share a few tips on “How to keep the right mindset at GHC” in order to enjoy your GHC experience and to get the most out of your trip.
1. Be clear on what exactly you want.
It’s easier to take full advantage of attending GHC if you have one or two clear goals. The goals can be: ‘I want to get an internship’, ‘I want to get a full-time job’, ‘I want to speak at the conference very well’, ‘I want to network with at least 25 people and make really great connections’, ‘I want to find answers to my current problems (like promotions, leadership, management, work-life balance) or simply just ‘I want to enjoy my level best’.
Having a clear goal will keep you centered. There will be many distractions, TRUST ME! But having a simple goal sentence that you can repeat to yourself will help you stay calm and will reduce any stress.
2. Understand everyone is a human and has the same human feeling
For a student, seeing people roaming all around wearing Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Google t-shirts can feel inspiring as well as intimidating. You’ll be standing in a line, waiting for the loo or a sandwich or to get into a session. You’ll hear various conversations. You’ll see people talking about getting multiple job offers, or discussing the sessions they are attending and how awesome session they’ve pre-registered for.
You’ll get a feeling of how everyone is super confident and very successful. But remember, all these people were exactly in your shoes at some point in time. You don’t know they might be anxious too but are very good at showcasing a confident exterior. The best way to overcome this overwhelming feeling is to start a conversation with someone and speak about how you’re feeling. You’ll be surprised to see how many are in the same boat as you and it is OKAY to feel like that. You’re growing, you’re learning and you just have to remember you’re already 10 steps ahead in your life because you are present at the conference and doing things to improve your life and career. Be proud of yourself!
3. Introverts — This place can be scary but focus on your goal and take baby steps.
Ah, the introverts — the magical, imaginative brains locked away in tight security. I completely understand how overwhelming GHC can be for an introvert. There are too many things going in each direction you look. There are just too many people everywhere. After a point, you can feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Here are some cool tips for you to stay perfect throughout the conference days.
- Be aware of your capacity. Take mini-breaks to give yourself the calmness that your mind will crave after hours of networking/attending sessions/walking. There are places at GHC like prayer room, student relaxing areas, or just some quiet corner in the convention center. Sit down, have a few sips of water and concentrate on your breathing. This will re-energize you again for the next few hours.
- Remind yourself why you are here? What is your goal? Once you remember this, everything will fall into perspective.
- If something bothers you, write it down in a book and keep that thought for later. This will clear up your mind space for new things.
If networking/talking to other people is really hard for you, do this. Tell yourself — for the next 20–30 min, I’m going to step out of my comfort zone. Just for the next few minutes, let’s be the in-character of _____. This character could be anyone whom you really admire. For me, it’s Harvey Specter from Suits. This is called “Being in the character”.
4. Network alone
Networking is a must. You’re investing so much time and energy into this conference. You must take networking seriously and make sure you make at least 2 good friends when you leave.
Few tips about networking that you’ll find in no books. This is from my personal experience and has worked for me like a charm.
- Always network alone. The psychology behind this statement — When we network or speak to a new person, we try to strike up a conversation that is interesting for both parties, so that we could bond instantly. If you start networking in a career expo or anywhere else, along with your friend(s), you’ll speak in a way that is comfortable or known by your friend(s). If you speak in any other way, you’ll fear being judged by them — even though there is nothing wrong in that. It’s just the way humans behave. We don’t like to be different in front of people we know. We fear being judged by people who are close to us. And this thing can hamper your networking ability. From my earlier tip of “getting into character”, you’ll have to step out of your comfort zone and try something new and different. When you do this alone, your mind will be free that no one is going to judge and you can fully focus on the activity. Another plus point is that, even if you mess up, no harm no foul. To learn and grow, it is important to step out of your comfort zone, and the best way to achieve success is to do it ALONE. After this you can share your experiences with your friends, that will be so much fun!
- Talk to one person every hour. This is a simple way of not stressing too much over networking. Simply keep a small target of talking to at least 1 person per hour. In 3 days of GHC with 8 hours/day, you’ll end up talking to at least 24 people, which is great.
- Don’t compare yourself with anyone. This is the biggest advice I could give to my younger self and everyone who is starting their GHC journey. GHC is a place where people from different backgrounds and experience level comes under one roof. It is just not fair to compare yourself with anyone because everyone has a different journey. Even if your dreams are the same, the other person has a completely different story than you. And this is a major part of growing up — to realize and be aware of your own journey. Be proud of your accomplishments and get inspired by others to be better in your own life. Imagine yourself as a beautiful garden. You already have a few flowers and trees. At GHC, find inspiration, find beautiful embellishments to add in your garden like a swing, a fountain, a different variety of flowers. But NEVER EVER compare. It’ll just harm your mental peace.
All these things are from my personal experience. The things I’ve written are purely my perspective. You can have a different perspective and that’s perfectly fine. The main thing is being aware of yourself and understanding that everyone has the same human emotions as you.
Have a great time at GHC! :)
This year I’ll be the session chair to two sessions — VR513: The Future is Augmented: Our AR Journey and What it Means for Humans and VR559: The Transformative Powers of VR for Education & Training. If you’d like to meet me, ping me at email@example.com. I’m always happy to meet new people and talk about life, career, and UX! Learn more about me at https://starsanika.com/about