What I Learned From Attending All Four Regional Meetings

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

Lizards in NYC.jpg

After a whirlwind tour from the bright lights of Times Square in New York City to bustling downtown Chicago to lush Orlando (alligators! in the hotel!) to warm and chill San Diego, I am BACK and excited to share what I learned this year.


  • Participation is everything “80% of success is showing up,” says Woody Allen. I think he’s right. I learn the most at regional meetings when I’m out and about-- attending meetings and sessions, spending time with people—even talking with people in the elevator. Moments of connection are lost when you hide in your hotel room. (Not that I have not slipped away for a quick nap!)
  • Speaking of naps…pacing yourself in every way is a real art form. There is socializing, eating, drinking, learning, networking, participating, going out, attending events and more. Some of you are the Maestro of Meetings! You get your workout in before everyone else is awake and yet you’re out on the town at night, too! How do you do it? (Red Bull seems to be part of the equation, but there is a natural energy flowing from these maestros that is a non-caffeinated true enthusiasm.)
  • You never know what you will learn, where or from whom. I’m open to talking with the recruiter I’m sharing an Uber with, the team of AFRs having breakfast at the table next to mine and the shiny new recruits at the mixer attending their very first NM meeting. Everyone teaches me something.
  • Be open to changing your plans. There is so much going on at regional and annual meetings! Sometimes following a hunch to change the plan leads to a new discovery, a new connection or a whole new perspective. Take someone up on their invitation and see where it leads.
  • Share. In addition to listening and learning, when someone asks me to help them or be open to connecting I try to be available. This has led to the beginning of some of my best client and friend relationships. Give away what you have before you try to sell it.
  • Nothing replaces the value of meeting someone in person. Our company Unleash Your Practice makes the effort to participate in regional and annual meetings so that our coaches and staff are available to our clients. We love to meet you and spend time with you face to face!
  • Be vulnerable. As much as I’d like to appear cool, I have long ago abandoned this idea. I’d rather put my heart out there and risk my ego rather than not strike up a conversation, introduce myself to a new group of people or say hello to someone who looks a little lonely at the dinner dance. There is a lot of pressure at these types of events to run with the cool kids. Let it go. Find another human and reach out.
  • Have a real life re-entry plan. After the whirlwind of attending a regional meeting, it can be challenging to reacclimatize. Allowing one recovery day can make a big difference. Thank you Northwestern Mutual, for including me in your Field Coaching Network and for welcoming me to your company events. I feel like part of the family. See you at Annual!

Coaching Tip Many people experience some level of social anxiety at functions like company meetings. If you relate to this feeling, be kind to yourself. Start small when you’re going out of your comfort zone. Try to arrive early to events and scope out the scene. Try to connect with individuals, versus approaching big groups that are already formed. Be careful with using alcohol to cope. If you continue to ease yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone each time, you will increase your resilience naturally. Find a friend who you can go to particularly intimidating situations with and ask him/her to introduce you to others. If this isn’t possible, scan the room to find someone who looks like they may be struggling, too, and you can be the one to approach the person and offer social relief.