Stephen Covey’s iconic book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is a must read for anyone who is in business for themselves, especially in these trying times. If you haven’t read it yet, read it. If you read it awhile ago, read it again.
To me, his 7th Habit, Sharpening the Saw, is one of the most important. It stresses personal renewal, exercise, and relaxation. Without time off and time away from the daily grind, you can get stale, cynical, and lethargic. One of the ways I “Sharpen my Saw” is to make sure that I attend the Custom Builder Symposium every fall. This year, the Symposium, along with the Design Institute, is being held in San Diego on November 6th through the 8th.
In the past 20 years, I have missed only one Symposium and have found that each time that I go (whether I can afford it or not), I bring back at least three ideas or concepts that make the trip worth the time and money. But the most important thing that I bring back is a sense of renewal and inclusion. Renewal because I am re-energized and excited about applying what I’ve learned to my business. The inclusion part comes from the networking and socializing with small volume and custom builders like me. Some struggling, some surviving, and some, believe it or not, prospering.
At every Symposium, I have the opportunity to help builders, learn from others, and share experiences whether they are good or bad. So, if you’ve never been to the Custom Builder Symposium, or haven’t been for awhile, here are five things that you can expect when you attend this year’s gathering in San Diego.
- Education – There are many education sessions to choose from and I suggest that, because one person can’t cover them all, it’s a good idea to carefully preview the seminar materials prior to the start of the sessions.
- Networking – Year after year, attendees state that the number one benefit of attending the Symposium is the discussions and connections that are made during the conference. The coffee breaks, receptions, and meals all offer an opportunity to share experiences with your fellow builders.
- Keynotes & General Sessions – Each year, the Symposium Committee works hard to bring in Keynote and General Session speakers that will motivate, inspire, and entertain you.
- Pre-Conference Designation Courses – You can take advantage of three different NAHB Designation courses right before the Symposium (November 3rd through the 5th ). Green Building, Business Management, and Design / Build will be offered.
- Home Tour – By taking the Home Tour on Friday the 6th, you will have the opportunity to see custom homes under construction and completed. This is a great opportunity to get fresh ideas and a jump on your competitors.
I attended the very first Symposium in 1989 in Orlando, Florida. Colorado Springs, where I built custom homes from 1984 – 1996, was suffering through a regional recession / depression that rivaled what we are going through today and I was desperate for help. Although I couldn’t really afford it, my project manager and I decided that we had to go.
What we found when we got there was first, that we were not alone. Second was that, we knew a lot more about the business than we thought we did, and finally, we realized that we had a whole lot more to learn. That learning process continues to this day. So, join me in San Diego on November 6th through the 8th to “Sharpen your Saw”. Looking forward to seeing you there.
This article was published originally in the Custom Builder magazine.