Life on the road can be exciting and rewarding. Seeing so many friends and colleagues around the world each week provides an array of wonderful experiences that make my job fun. Airport delays and missing home, however, can certainly put a damper on things.
Despite the times I find myself stranded in an airport somewhere, or missing the amenities of home, I find ways to continue to love what I do—bringing value to the businesses of NSCA members. As I was reflecting on this choice of loving what I do, I came to a realization that is critically important for really “finding your groove” at work: You must make the choice to get involved.
The idea might seem a little simple—getting involved could mean a lot of things, and it leaves lots of doors open. But, as the leader of an industry association, I notice over and over again that the members who get the most out of NSCA are the ones who put the most into their membership. Let me explain.
Sometimes, I’ll talk to a member who has paid NSCA dues for several years, but who is frustrated about how business is going. Most of the time, feedback from calls like that will give me pause. Sometimes, members are disappointed about what they’re getting—or not getting—out of membership. When I start to ask questions about their involvement in our programs, resources, tools and research, the same answer often comes back: Namely, they’re not participating.
They’re struggling with the best way to implement managed services, but they haven’t attended our Pivot to Profit event, which focuses exclusively on that topic. They have a hard time finding workplace talent, but they aren’t using our IGNITE materials to tell students at job fairs and local colleges about our industry. They aren’t sure how to onboard new employees, but they haven’t tried our online onboarding program. They have questions about why their employees are leaving to join a competitor, but they haven’t read our Compensation & Benefits Report to see how their salaries and benefits compare to what is offered in the industry.
That’s the point when I gently discuss the importance of getting involved to get the most out of membership. Whether it’s attending our most well-known event, the Business & Leadership Conference (BLC), regularly studying our research, following our blog, attending our free monthly webinars, utilizing many of the hiring and training tools we offer, or delving into other content we share to keep our members up to date, taking us up on the opportunities we offer is critical. In other words, the key is being involved. Simply signing up and paying your dues won’t get you anywhere.
That same philosophy applies in almost any situation. Think about conferences or networking events, for example. Some attendees sit in the back of the room, distracted on their phones, whereas others are engaged and asking questions, sitting up front, staying after a presentation to chat with the speaker and spending time getting to know other attendees at the event.
In nearly every case, involvement yields exponentially more returns than just sitting idly by. The broader lesson and reminder here is simple: Get involved and stay involved! This applies equally to field technicians and installers as to the owners and executives who run the company. Being involved makes us better leaders, better learners and happier in the work that we do.
Involvement doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming, either. Attend optional company meetings and ask questions. Participate in side projects or volunteer opportunities: a company wellness committee, the holiday planning group, etc. Take time to learn about other workers’ roles in the company—and let them learn about yours. After attending an industry conference or event, share with your coworkers the new ideas you learned.
By getting involved in ways like these, you’ll gain a better understanding of how your company operates, hear about potential opportunities earlier or even just make friends with people in different departments, facilitating a better working relationship.
When it comes to your NSCA membership, don’t just sign the paperwork and walk away. Take two minutes to read the biweekly newsletter that arrives in your inbox so that you know what new resources are available to you. When new research is announced, spend 10 or 15 minutes digesting it and talking about what you learned with your team. If you come across tools we offer that don’t apply to your job responsibilities, but that will impact someone else inside your organization, share them.
By getting involved—whether with associations like NSCA or in your day-to-day workplace—you’ll find greater levels of engagement with what you do. And with that comes satisfaction and growth. Getting involved is a choice we must make every day. I promise you won’t regret it!