Earlier in the week I posted a blog about how you stretch yourself when you attend a conference so the morning, after returning from the College of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference, I am wondering how many of us stretched ourselves into a place, or places, where we ‘gasped’ at the courage we found to do something we didn’t think we could and I don’t just mean on the dance floor at the conference dinner!

If I am totally honest about my own gasps I would give myself a √− which means there were some things which made we gasp that I did and at least one thing that I bottled out of at the last minute. But you know what, that’s OK and the key thing is what we learn about ourselves from both scenarios. So here’s the thing about a conference gasp – it doesn’t just happen during the conference but can carry on after as well.

A question posed by Julia Scott, Chief Exec of COT, during the closing session was how to retain the energy and the buzz when we get back to work. I know that for many of the people I met there were moments which inspired them to think bigger, to imagine taking steps they hadn’t imagined before and to move from thinking about something to actually committing to doing it.

I know for sure that there were presentations I attended which energised me and people I met who inspired me. I have notes and a small pile of business cards and email addresses and now the challenge is to make sure I do the follow-up work. If you are in a similar situation now is the time to connect with that energy and, within the next day or so, to actually use it and fan the flame. One thing is for sure the longer you leave it the more likely it is to fade.

You may have been in a session and really loved a presentation but not had time to ask a question or talk with the speaker at the end of the session. It’s not too late, send them an email and tell them how much you appreciated their presentation and if you have a question ask it. Or  you may have wanted to tell someone that their work inspired you to do something differently – do it. We are not always so great at telling people about the positive impact they have on us and yet we know how much it means for someone to say it especially in the current climate.

You may have talked with someone, made a connection and exchanged email addresses, saying, ‘we must talk further’. So email them, arrange a time to talk or meet. You may have been inspired to submit an abstract for next years conference – sign up to be notified when the call for abstracts for 2017 is open. You may have left inspired to make a change in your practice. What do you need to do next week to move this forward.

We get energised by having time and space to think, by meeting new people who open up new horizons and by connecting with the values of why we do what we do. It gives us a buzz and can take us to a place of thinking bigger. Of course it is hard to sustain energy and drive when we get back to our workplace but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We can make positive choices about how we channel that energy and tap into the emotions we felt. Even if it feels scary build upon your conference energy within the next day or so and don’t let it fizzle out.