Have you unpacked from RCMA 2002 in Tampa? Of course, you placed your clothes, shoes, brochures, and other materials in their proper closets, drawers, and file cabinets weeks ago. I'm wondering if you have unpacked your mind.

When Barry Banther, Friday morning's breakfast speaker at RCMA 2002, stepped onto the stage at the Tampa Convention Center, he was pulling a suitcase along behind him. The audience soon found out why. Banther asked us what we were packing as we left for home from the memorable week.

Were we packing the new ideas we had heard? Were we packing Willie Jolley's inspirational, motivational message about changing our lives and acting on our dreams?

I'm certain we were packing those things and more, intending to put them to immediate and constructive use.

But packing is only half the challenge. The other half is unpacking. Banther said that we would return to our jobs the Monday morning after RCMA filled with tremendous enthusiasm for improving the way we approach our work. We'd be telling our co-workers about innovative ideas, new technologies, and dynamic ways of looking at the world that would energize our relationships at work and home. He also joked that our co-workers would be saying behind our backs: “Just wait a few days — he'll come back to earth.”

Undoubtedly, that post-convention sugar rush is gone, and perhaps now you're dealing with the crash that follows the mountain-top experience. If you are, then it's time to begin unpacking again from RCMA. But this time, don't hurry: Unpack at a pace that's sustainable for the entire year.

Be methodical, like an archaeologist at a dig. Unearth and review the notes you made at the tutorials and during the luncheon speakers' presentations. I'll bet that you have several ideas highlighted with stars, underlines, or exclamation points that you haven't acted on yet. You may even find a napkin inscribed with a creative but forgotten idea that could make 2002 a memorable year. Dust off these artifacts and intentionally create a plan for making them real. If you haven't done so already, leverage technology by ordering the tapes from the conference speakers and tutorials, and plan to listen to at least one each month for the rest of the year.

Look through the business cards you brought home. Take the time to recall conversations you had with people, remembering what they looked like and where you were when you met them. This will help you reconnect with ideas that came to you when you were at the Florida Aquarium, on the Expo floor, or on the bus headed to Busch Gardens — times when it might have been inconvenient to write down that inspired thought.

Good luck unpacking. If you do it well, you'll be finished when it's time to begin preparing your bags and your spirit for Charlotte, N.C., and RCMA 2003.