An L&D Professional’s Birthday Wish

Today is my birthday, and my wish for this year is that I get lots of presents. Since you’re just reading this now and not even Amazon’s same-day service will help you at this point, maybe you can give me a different kind of gift. For my birthday in this weird year of 2020, I’d love to get the gift of comments on today’s post. Specifically, I’d love the gift of knowing one thing – personally or professionally – that you’re thankful for this year.

I’ll start. Actually, since it’s my 45th birthday, I’ll share 45 things that I’m thankful for.

“But Brian, this is a column about L&D, instructional design and professional development… what does this have to do with any of that?”

I’m glad I asked. I’m a firm believer that work/life balance and mindful reflection are two essential elements to any professional development. Plus it’s my birthday, so you should do what I ask you to do.

Here are 45 things I’m thankful for…

  1. My health
  2. My family’s health
  3. Tim (my Endurance Learning co-founder and business partner)
  4. Heather (our first hire)
  5. Lauren (a former teacher turned scrappy instructional designer)
  6. Rachel (the eagle-eyed teammate who assures all our work is quality)
  7. WiFi (sooooooooo much better than dial-up!!)
  8. Mr. Sketch’s blue stinky cheese marker (I have no idea who thought this would be a good idea to put into a pack of scented markers, but I do know a certain 5-year-old who cackles every time someone unsuspectingly uses this marker)
  9. A lunch with my daughter that came with a paper placemat featuring “The Periodic Table of Lunchbox Laboratory” (because the restaurant was called The Lunchbox Laboratory and had a science/experiment theme)
  10. Because it inspired this periodic table.
    Periodic table of learning
  11. Which turned into this blog post and this magazine article
  12. And will turn into a book that will be released next spring!!!
  13. Being able to cross “write a book” off my bucket list
  14. Eliza Blanchard (the ATD editor who has championed so many things I’ve worked on and who helped with that book proposal)
  15. Schitt’s Creek (laughter has been quite important this year)
  16. Embracing podcasts (to listen to, learn from and to record and release each Monday)
  17. Clark Quinn (for having the willingness and humor to record this podcast with me)
  18. The opportunity to serve as President of my local ATD chapter
  19. Having an amazing Board that helped me to get things done in our local ATD chapter
  20. And an amazing administrative person (Ann!!!) at ATD Puget Sound
  21. A creative ATD Puget Sound programs team who organized an ultra-fun virtual Trivia Night (for those of us who missed being able to go out to pub trivia nights!) complete with nerdy training-related questions!
  22. The opportunity to talk with a bunch of past chapter Presidents so I could learn from their experiences and try to avoid past mistakes
  23. A job that lets me be as creative as I dare
  24. Three years of working from home (so when March 2020 came around, I was already a remote working and virtual meeting master!)
  25. The opportunity to spend more time with my two awesome kids as they navigate remote school this year
  26. Betty Dannewitz, who is just an all-around good person to know in the field of learning and development
  27. “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo” which is the song Betty made me sing on a karaoke outing during ATD TechKnowledge (I think there might be a video of this somewhere)
  28. A slew of new clients this year that we’ve been able to help convert programs from in-person to virtual delivery
  29. Two new pairs of running sneakers (so one pair can get a day off while I use the other pair to try to get back into some sort of healthy exercise routine)
  30. The opportunity to present at ATD TechKnowledge because it was a fresh, new take on in-person conferences (and I didn’t know it at the time, but it would be the last in-person conference I’d attend for a while)
  31. Kassy LaBorie who brings the good energy and has brilliant things to say about virtual learning
  32. A good set of Michelin Defender tires (I’ve taken a lot of road trips this year)
  33. The opportunity to cross “visit Glacier National Park” off my bucket list
  34. Tom Brady’s departure from the New England Patriots
  35. The release of Soapbox to quickly develop virtual presentations
  36. Arizona
  37. Wisconsin
  38. Michigan
  39. The discovery of new ed-tech tools that can be used in a training environment such as Pear Deck and classkick
  40. Learning how to engage virtual learners better and better with each virtual session
  41. The opportunity to try new things during conference presentations I was supposed to do in-person but ended up doing virtually
  42. A very patient girlfriend who is also a really good thought partner, and who makes balancing work and life so much easier
  43. That you’re still reading this post (and this blog in general)
  44. 44 pretty cools trips around the sun already
  45. The possibility of 45 more…

As I re-read this list, there are a lot of relationships I’m thankful for, which aligns quite nicely with my one-word resolution that I set at the beginning of the year (“partnership”).

Your turn. I’d love to read one thing that you’ve been thankful for in the comment section. Don’t let me down. It’s my birthday!

25 thoughts on “An L&D Professional’s Birthday Wish

  1. Happy (belated) birthday and thank you for putting such a fun twist on your “celebration!”
    In what I have affectionately been referring to as these months of COVID Chaos, I am so incredibly grateful for the Zoom Producer information shared by you and your amazing team back in April. As recently as last week, I shared this podcast with someone because it really has made the difference in my organization’s ability to deliver meaningful and worthwhile PD experiences. Thank you!!

  2. Hope you had a great birthday, Brian!!
    I am thankful for my girls, for a job I love and friends that are more like family.

    • Thanks Kristen!! Loving your job is important… and friends that are more like family as well as beautiful little humans who are related is super special!

  3. Happy Birthday Brian! 45 years young eh?
    One thing I am thankful for in the last year is getting my old vinyl playing HiFi up and running again. New ways are not always the best ways. Now, where did I put Abbey Road?

  4. I am grateful that you were born on this (or any) day, and you grew up to be a leader in the L&D community, and that I’ve had several (many?) opportunities to work with you. This has given me the opportunity to learn the following from you over the years.

    1. How to be a thoughtful and engaging facilitator.
    2. It is important to smell your sharpies before a training.
    3. More ice breakers than I can count.
    4. How to be a guest on a podcast.
    5. Why DEI training is something to embrace, not ban.
    6. People eat a wide variety of food before training.
    7. Don’t look at them as home schooled children, see them as free intern.
    8. Develop an amazing way to introduce yourself and what you do (though I’ve never been able to come up with something as good as “I cure blindness”)

    I’m also really grateful that we’ll be working together again soon in a new and exciting way and like others, that I’m still working in a field I love in 2020.

    Happy birthday!

    • Awwww. Thanks Gus!! (And for the record, #2 should say “Mr. Sketch”… Sharpies don’t smell as nice!) Looking forward to continuing to work with you as well!!

  5. Happy Birthday! I’m thankful for the amazing directors at my agency who made it possible for us all to work remotely, for supportive friends and co-workers, and for reconnecting with my sister. I appreciate the suggestions and advice in your blogs which have helped me transition from in person training to virtual training.

    • Thanks so much for the birthday wishes (and the gift of thanks)! Having supportive people around is probably the greatest gift, especially these days!

  6. I am grateful for you, Brian! I have learned a lot from you, you let me bounce some of my ideas off you, and you brokered an introduction that helped me get my first feature article published! Now if we could only hug…oh, never mind.

    • Thanks Mary! Such a bummer that we can’t hug, but you know, it’s not COVID-friendly… maybe we just split a Zima next time we’re in the same orbit!

  7. Still having a job (yay!) that I can grow in. And my two fur babies–Ozzy and Mandy! They bring me joy every day! Happy birthday, Brian! I love your posts and learn so much from you. So I’m also thankful for YOU! 🙂

    • Oooo. Joy is really important, and we should definitely be thankful for those things that give us joy! (And thank you for being thankful for ME!!)

  8. Happy Birthday! I want to piggyback on #41. I am thankful for the opportunity to try new things and stretch myself professionally. Thank you for giving me at least one of those opportunities!

    • Thanks Michelle!! I’m totally thankful for you stepping in as a producer (and looking forward to having you reprise that role in a few weeks!)

  9. Happy Birthday, Brian! I’m grateful for the Train Like a Champion blog and Train Like You Listen podcast. I learn so much from both of these and have been able to leverage resources you’ve shared (like the Trainer’s Guides for Zoom and Teams), discover new thought leaders to follow, add even more L & D books to my reading list, and find ways to incorporate thoughts and ideas you’ve shared into my own organization.

    I’m also grateful for a career I love, a supportive manager, and working for an organization whose mission is close to my heart and brings me great fulfillment and purpose.

    • Thanks Victoria! And I imagine that there are a LOT of people who are thankful for Fred Hutch (ie: anyone who’s ever had a bone marrow transplant) – so thank you for doing what you’re doing every day.

  10. Happy birthday Brian!
    One thing I’ve been thankful for: my wonderful, amazing circle of support (family, friends, coworkers) who have helped me through a tough medical situation this year.

  11. My wife and best friend.
    And since this month is my birthday too: My family, my job, This beautiful world we live in.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I enjoy your blog.

    Happy, happy birthday!
    Lisa

  12. The opportunities for growth, both personal and professional, that are created by challenges; and a wonderful employer and satisfying career

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