Turn Dreams into Reality with Ben Nemtin at WEC Grapevine

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Turn Dreams into Reality with Ben Nemtin at WEC Grapevine

By Maria Lenhart | Feb 11, 2020

What do you want to do before you die? Ben Nemtin, bestselling author and creator of the MTV series The Buried Life, has built a global movement based on asking people that question and helping them turn long-held, often improbable dreams into reality.

During his presentation at the MPI World Education Congress (WEC)—November 3-6 in Grapevine, Texas—Nemtin will provide insights about how meeting professionals can bring about life-changing experiences for their attendees and for themselves.

“There’s nothing more authentic than dreams, and the one thing we all have in common are dreams, big and small,” he says. “Dreams are what connect us. When you help facilitate someone’s dream, that’s a meaningful connection. When you ask someone, ‘Hey, what’s on your bucket list and what’s important to you?’ that makes an authentic conversation.”

Nemtin’s own improbable journey began after he was forced to drop out of college because of anxiety and depression. The healing process started when he and three childhood friends joined forces to create a bucket list of things they’d always wanted to accomplish. They also decided that for every list item they accomplished, they would help a stranger do the same.

Calling their mission “The Buried Life,” the friends traveled around the U.S. in an old RV with a video camera. It would grow into a phenomenon, yielding results that included reuniting a father and son after 17 years and enabling a girl born with one hand to get a new bionic arm. Along the way, Nemtin achieved bucket-list items of his own, including playing basketball with former U.S. President Barack Obama, having a beer with Great Britain’s Prince Harry and writing the No. 1 New York Times best seller What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

Nemtin believes his own path, which enabled him to help himself while helping others, illustrates principles that are highly relevant to an MPI audience. Using the bucket list concept as a framework, he says he will give meeting professionals tools for setting and realizing goals in their own lives. Doing so will benefit not just meeting planners, but their organizations and attendees as well.

“You can’t take care of others—and meeting planners take care of others all day long—if you don’t take care of yourself,” he says. “To do your job at the highest level, you need to be fulfilled. It’s important for everyone to prioritize their personal goals. It has an effect on your life and performance at work. When you bring joy to yourself, you can bring joy to others.”

For Nemtin, continually working on his bucket list has become a way of life.

“When it comes to prioritizing your personal goals, it’s a muscle you have to actively work,” he says. “To take action and create accountability you have to get over your fear of failure, which is the main thing that stops people, me included. My aim is to inspire people with my story so they can understand that anything is possible. You don’t want to die with regrets.”

Enabling attendees to realize goals and dreams through creating authentic experiences is something that can and should be a part of meetings, Nemtin believes.

“The best experiences at meetings are about helping people to do things they’ve always wanted to do,” he says. “When you have an experience at a meeting that leaves an imprint on you, you bring something back to use in your life. When those experiences are aligned with what people at the meeting want, it’s something true and authentic.”

In determining how to help attendees identify and realize their goals, Nemtin, a frequent speaker and facilitator, has employed what he calls a Dream Wall where everyone can post something that’s on their particular bucket list.

“Writing it down makes it real,” he says. “Plus, it’s a cool way to get to know each other and to be inspired by other people’s goals. There’s a lot of different ways to fulfill these goals—sometimes it just happens through a piece of advice or making a connection or contact. It’s not as hard to help someone achieve their dreams as you might think. Communication makes it happen.”

Nemtin says more companies are finding that strategies enabling people to fulfill dreams and lead balanced lives are ways of creating a desirable workplace.

“This has become more important than in the past,” he says. “Millennials are looking for more than a paycheck. They want to feel they are experiencing personal and professional development. They want to work at a place that cares about the world and about them. If your company helps you fulfill a dream, that’s a place you want to stay with.”

While Nemtin is himself a Millennial and has a message that resonates strongly with young people, he emphasizes that bucket-list dreams have no age limit.

“This is important at any stage of life,” he says. “The reality is that we’re all going to die, and we all have things we want to do before then. It’s like filling up your gas tank. We need to get on these things now and it’s never too late to start.”

Learn more about WEC Grapevine at mpi.org/wec.

 

Author

maria-lenhart-author
Maria Lenhart

Maria Lenhart is a former editor of multiple meeting and event industry publications, and has won numerous awards for travel writing, including a prestigious Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers.