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Post-Event Withdrawal

I spent the last couple of months planning a division annual meeting for IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals). As one of the co-chairs for the annual meeting, it was my responsibility to attend meetings to coordinate the activities and tasks for thirteen different committee chairs and representatives. The meetings started with a frequency of once a month. Those meetings were relatively easy to deal with. An update here, a question there. No big deal. But then the meetings switched to every two weeks and the information that my co-chair and I should have received wasn’t forthcoming from the appropriate parties (How’s that for a politically¬†correct statement?). When we started meeting every week, I became a very cranky version of myself. I questioned my sanity and intelligence for taking on the responsibility in the first place. I mean really, who was I trying to impress? I’ll tell you who. Myself. But was it nice to hear from the attendees that we did a great job? Absolutely. When a room full of seasoned, experienced, Alpha female administrative professionals give you a compliment, it is nothing to sneeze at. Administrative professionals are some of the hardest people to please. I love them dearly, but if there is something wrong, if there’s a typo, if a waiter took too long to bring the soup they will let you know about it…immediately. It’s not that we look for mistakes, we are just quick to find them and 99.9% of the time we can offer a solution to fix it.

Planning a meeting of this size for an elite group of 120 women was a challenge and an honor. Having such a huge responsibility tested me in ways I thought only my husband and children could. I had to use technical as well as soft skills to be the best co-chair possible. Even though the planning got rough at some points and feathers of pride got ruffled, I would do it all over again. When I went back to work today, I could not believe that all the planning was over. I missed my cue sheets and conference timelines. I missed the banquet event orders and the room layouts. I missed providing solutions to problems. I didn’t look at any of the meeting materials today instead I stacked them in a corner on my desk. ¬†I tried to think about the many tasks to be completed at work. And then I received an email from the Registration Committee Chair….a list of all the attendees. I fought the urge to send out the survey right then and there. But I’ll give you two guesses what I’ll be doing first thing in the morning and the first guess doesn’t count…

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Willpower vs A Plan

I’ve been telling myself for years that if I just had some willpower I would be able to lose weight and keep it off. I think willpower is an overrated myth. It doesn’t exist. You can have all the willpower in the world but if you don’t work towards the goal you have in mind, then it’s just a wish. Willpower is not going to help me lost weight. A clear plan and determination to put my needs before taking care of everyone else will. I don’t claim to be an expert on weight loss but I know what works for me because I’ve done it before. I also know that when I allow people to take up valuable real estate on my schedule and in my thoughts…Ayanna gets pushed further to the side. Willpower will not finish the book I’ve started or start the book I need to write. Scheduling time to write will. Setting incremental goals will.

When I decided to take the certification exam for Certified Administrative Professional with an Organizational Management specialty (CAP-OM) administered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), it wasn’t willpower that helped me pass the exam with flying colors. It was a plan to study a certain amount of chapters, for a defined length of time on particular days. I followed that plan for five months. The end result was receiving a professional certification that shows my employer and my peers that I’m serious about my profession.

Willpower without a plan, in my opinion, leads to disappointment. A plan supported by willpower equals success. Same ingredients added in a different order yields different results.