What’s the secret to reaching your goals even if everyone—including your high school guidance counselor—is predicting your incarceration? Or, worse, your death?

Attendees at Smart Meeting Midwest at Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront learned the turnaround tips required for winning from ex-drug addict, former pro football player and now executive coach and author Matt Mayberry.

The Power of Goals

“Most people don’t know the power of goals or how to achieve them,” Mayberry said, who noted that people spend more time planning a vacation than thinking about what kind of person, mother, father or employee they want to be, or career they want to have. Silhouetted in the penthouse view of the Windy City that was featured in the movie Batman: The Dark Knight, he advised the meeting planners and suppliers preparing to go into their one-on-one appointments that they needed to write down actionable strategies.

Having a plan is more important than motivation,” he said.

But where to start? Mayberry offered a five-part plan.

  1. Set a stop watch for 3 minutes.
  2. Write 8-10 goals you want to achieve by next year (mix it up: some health goals, some personal development, some leisure and a lot of professional goals).
  3. Ask yourself, “If I could achieve one goal, which one would drastically change my life?” That is the game changer; the rest will follow.
  4. Write down 24-50 things you must do to achieve that goal.
  5. Incorporate one to two of these action items into your calendar every day—so you know they will get done.

“The important thing is to set massive goals. The process of working toward those goals makes you a better person,” he said.

Keep It Short, Sweet and Funny


While much of the day was devoted to productive networking, attendees were also treated to a customized candy experience provided by Sugarwish, a fulfillment company that lives by the motto, “Sweet. Happiness. Delivered.”

The action-packed day ended on a humorous note, with observational speaker Matt Havens helping his audience members laugh at themselves while also learning how to communicate with those of different ages who grew up experiencing their own generational fashion faux paus. His insightful “Stop Acting Your Age” tips were a reminder to recognize our similarities instead of labeling others with exaggerated cliches.