5 tips for your next FIRESTORM. How I prepare during conference week.

Around my house this week it’s a little bit stressful. 

A few times a year we do conferences (Igniting Souls Conference) and other live events (Dream Job Bootcamp Shawshank Edition). Although they’re life-giving and transformational, they produce stress. There’s no way around it.

Stress often gets a bad reputation. However, experts and research reveals that stress can be good or bad. Good stress results when we face circumstances outside our routine. Because we’re stretched we’re also stressed.

All growth (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally) is a result of feeling stretched and therefore stressed. (Share on Twitter | Facebook |Google+| LinkedIn)

However, good stress can quickly become bad stress if we feel overwhelmed. How can you tell the difference between the two?

Good stress (EUSTRESS):

  • Motivates, focuses energy
  • Is short-term
  • Is perceived as within our coping abilities
  • Feels exciting
  • Improves performance

Bad stress (DISTRESS):

  • Causes anxiety or concern
  • Can be short- or long-term
  • Is perceived as outside of our coping abilities
  • Feels unpleasant
  • Decreases performance
  • Can lead to mental and physical problems

Over the years, I’ve made the conscious decision to stay on the EUSTRESS side of the equation. I’ve done this by following 5 tips during conference week. I hope they help you in your next FIRESTORM. (BTW…the 5 tips below spell HARPS. I tried to make it easy to remember so you can stay peaceful and calm more instead of distressed).

5 Tips for your next FIRESTORM

  • get HELP

Don’t try and do it on your own. In the past, I struggled with delegation. I tried to do it all by myself and inherited a serious dose of distress. I had to grow as a leader and entrust significant responsibility to competent leaders. Today, because of the wonderful help around me, I’m able to go further, faster.

I have Kelly (wife ), David Branderhorst (business partner), Chet Scott (builder), Dexter Godfrey (emcee/speaker) Chad Allen (speaker), Sarah Oberbrunner (director of events), Wes (printer), Emily Myers (photographer), Jeff Turner and Jo Michael (camera people), Cammie (hostess at the Quest), the Author Academy Elite speakers, and the list goes on an on and on.

  • get AMPED

You set the pace because you’re the leader. If you lack fire, then probably so will your team. It’s time to get amped and I don’t mean via energy drinks.

I make sure to do my CORE workouts all during conference week. Exercise helps me stay amped, in a natural way. The endorphins help me CRUSH the event and show up filled up.

Sometimes during conference week we can lose sight of the big picture. Events and experiences like this week are why I took the risk and went from Day Job to Dream Job. I wanted to increase my ability to influence and impact others. During conference week, I get reconnected with my why.

  • get REST

I got 7.5 hours of sleep last night. Many people try to cheat sleep during conference week. How can you maintain an intense schedule on pure adrenaline? These type of tactics typically produce a crash-and-burn post-conference week. Make sure to hit the sack early.

  • get PRESENT

The whole purpose of a live event is for your clients to experience you in a more personal way. How can they if you’re not fully present? Shut off the smart phone. Delegate tasks. Let some things go. And be present with your attendees.

I’m blessed to have people like Kim Gowdy and Brian Mininger lift up the entire conference in prayer. Their prayer support helps me stay present too.

  • get SERVING

If Jesus came to serve and not be served, I think it’s a good idea if we follow his example. Remember, your conference is a chance for you to add value to others. If you or your team loses sight of this goal, then you’ve lost the entire game.

Details matter (PRE-CON phone call, Author Academy Elite dinner, FAQ page, our on-site director of guest happiness, special vegetarian and gluten free menu, etc.). All these components add to the experience. They are expressions of serving and people notice.


Next time you face a FIRESTORM remember to get HARPS (Help, Amped, Rest, Present, Serving). These 5 tips will help you keep the good stress, and discard the bad type. 

Some of you recently emailed and asked if you can still register for the annual Igniting Souls Conference. Although we’re nearly full, our final numbers are due in about 24 hours. We can accommodate 3 more spots. I shot this video about a week ago for all the procrastinators. This is your final chance.