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Worthshop – The Most Unglamorous Unconference

I love attending conferences. They all have different purposes and even different vibes, but my expectation of a conference remains the same: That I will have new and valuable information that will benefit me as an agent, of course, but also as a human being. Because personally, I can’t separate the two.

I’ll admit I probably have higher expectations of a conference than the average attendee. I am a Learner, not a Knower, so when I go to a conference, I am there. I usually sit toward the front. I take notes. I am fully present. I love learning, and I expect delivery from a presenter.

Aren’t all of us teachers of something? The gift of a good presenter is having an identifiable point and being able to present it in such a way that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from it.

Over my long Learner career, I have become an adept listener and distiller of information. I mine hidden morsels, so if I can’t distill something of value from a speaker, I can promise you nobody else did. A great conference is about the listener, not the speakers.

I like the Worthshop conference a lot. First, because, well, there’s Maui, let’s be real. But this conference is pretty much the antithesis of a conference. It’s a little adjustment at first because the perception of a conference in Maui is so…exotic and glamorous.

The truth is I was so perplexed as to what to pack for my first Worthshop-Hawaii Life-HGTV-OMG-MAUI!, that I went out and bought the biggest suitcase allowed on an airline. And then I filled it. And then I wore 25% of what I brought. So there’s that tip. You’re welcome.

The reality is that Worthshop is a creative and challenging conference, yes it is. It will challenge what you think and how you do things. It is not glamorous.

Let me give you a glimpse:

  • You will feel a little out of place if you wear a suit. And you’ll sweat.
  • It’s hard to tell the speakers from the learners, because, clearly, the speakers are learners, too.
  • The only limelight is around the pool at sunset, and you’re all in it.
  • If you go full of yourself, there’s no room for ideas of others, and you’ll return empty. Plus you’ll be lonely there.
  • The best learning is around the pool bar with as many people as possible. It’s ok to steal chairs from other tables and form two circles.
  • Listening is the best part. Be bold. Ask questions. It’s embraced here.
  • You can still be brilliant in your bathing suit. The pool is a “no judgment” zone so don’t get caught up in that. Even I was able to throw out a good idea or two while testing the limits of my spandex.
  • Say “yes” if you’re invited to eat pupu with people. Trust the decency of humanity here. Take mints just in case.
  • Learn about the Hawaiian language, her customs and ideals. Adopt as many as you can as quickly as you can. You’ll be a better human, and you’ll probably have more friends.

Come to Worthshop open, go home full. Mahalo, Hawaii Life. I am a better version of the whole Gwennie than before I came.



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