Kari Chapin wants to give you permission.
“These permission slips are for you to really think about what you want for yourself,” the bestselling author, marketer, and consultant told a morning crowd at the Public Library Association conference in Philadelphia on March 21, turning attention to notecards placed on the chairs. “You are all grown people making your own choices,” she said.
Chapin’s presentation, “Imagine the Possibilities,” was designed to get library professionals thinking about the things they desire to change, accept, and receive in their careers and in their lives—and even how they wanted to plan their time at the conference. “There’s no right or wrong way to imagine possibilities, but there is some structure you can use,” she said.
One way to get in the mindset of envisioning, Chapin said, is to put more “intentional thought” into actions. Looking at your to-do list, for example, can help you reframe your priorities and replan your day. “You look at [the list] as tasks or chores,” she said. “Are these things that you actually want to be possible?”
Other tricks to spur inspiration, Chapin said, are “helping other people with their possibilities,” setting a goal for yourself in the morning to reflect upon in the evening, and thinking about what your ideal day would entail. “If you do notice that something is missing from your ideal day and it feels funny or weird, just let it go,” she said.
Chapin also asked the audience to consider what they can relinquish from their routine to make room for new things to come in. “For me, it was a couch,” she said. “I just didn’t like it, but I didn’t have room for a second couch.”
Once you know what you’d like to change, Chapin recommended ideas for staying on task, such as getting an accountability partner, organizing a private Facebook group, setting up a local mastermind (a collection with a common interest), and conducting quarterly self-guided reviews.
The session ended with an Q&A, during which an attendee asked where she should start when there are multiple, competing possibilities.
“I would start with what’s easiest,” Chapin said. “Or what’s going to make the biggest impact, or what I want the most, or what will make me happiest.”