Sometimes it’s nice just to pick your head up from the hustle and bustle of life and reflect on some of the best moments ever. I’m feeling like now is one of those times for me.
Below are six of my favorite moments as a training professional. I’d love to hear if any of these resonate with you and I’d love to hear about your own personal favorite moments in the world of training and development in the comment section!
1. My first train-the-trainer. It was March 2007. I was three months into a new job as the training director for a national non-profit organization. I’d never actually attended a train-the-trainer session (I was pretty much self-taught, using a lot of ATD resources and some mentoring from several trusted contacts in the education and training worlds). And I had been asked to co-facilitate a “Training of Facilitators” session with someone who I’d never met in-person. As we wrapped up at the end of the final day, the positive feedback was effusive. There’s always a first time. For me, this was my first time delivering a train the trainer session (or any session, for that matter, in my new role). The fact I was able to do so effectively with someone I’d never met before was a huge confidence boost that I’ve carried with me for nine years.
2. “A Country of Geniuses”. It was spring 1999. I was in the Peace Corps, trying to educate farmers on how to best take advantage of their farmers’ cooperative. I had a series of educational sessions, each one began with a “foundations of cooperatives” session in which I used a flipchart to explain the various parts of a cooperative by comparing them to various body parts (I’ve re-created that flipcharting experience below).
When I finished one session, the wife of the cooperative’s president came up to me and said something to me in Guarani. Unfortunately I didn’t speak Guarani very well, so the president translated it for me and said: “My wife wants you to know that if all of our teachers taught in our schools like you just did, we’d have a country of geniuses!” It made me blush. It made me feel like I was effective. And that moment made me realize that perhaps there was a future in this training business for me after all.
3. The origin of “Train Like a Champion”. It was June 2007 and as I rolled up to the conference center with some colleagues, they asked how I prepared for a training workshop. I told them that I would sit in my room the morning of a training session, I’d crank up the AC/DC on my iPod, and then before leaving my hotel room I needed to pass under a flipchart that said “Train like a champion today!” that I would hang over my door.
There was silence among my co-workers as they stared at me wondering if I was truly some sort of intense training nutcase, or if I was joking. I was joking and we all got a good laugh out of it. Four and a half years later, that moment turned into the name of my blog.
4. “Where everybody goes to train.” It was March 2013. A year earlier I had exploded on my teammates because I didn’t feel they were pulling their own weight in preparing for a major annual meeting. While the words I spoke during that explosion may have been right, they weren’t very effective. A year later, everyone had indeed pulled their own weight, not only resulting in a great annual meeting, but I had the time and energy left over to write the lyrics for a team theme song and to put together a slide show featuring that theme song to commemorate a great meeting.
Give the video below a click and let me know if that song sounds familiar. I’m thinking Weird Al Yankovic ought to be worried…
5. “Playing Around”. It was July 2015. My first article was published in TD magazine. I loved the fact that TD magazine (and its readers) were interested in what I had to write. Since then, another article was published in the January 2016 edition and another is scheduled to come out in April 2016.
6. “Hi Daddy!” It was March 2011. I was wrapping up a session at my organization’s annual conference and I’d estimate there were 120-150 people in the session. As I went to make my final point, a point that surely would have sent my audience away with inspiration to try something new or do something differently, the door in the back of the room swung open. In the hallway I could see several familiar faces. Then I heard a very familiar voice. It was my then-four-year-old daughter who interrupted my final, brilliant, inspirational point by shouting: “Hi daddy!” The room erupted with laughter. I lost my train of thought. In the end it didn’t matter. In that moment my daughter had a chance to see me in action, and for the first time she had a chance to see what I did when I went to work, what I did when I packed my suitcase for a business trip, what I did to put food on the table and what I did to do my own little part to change the world and make it a better place.
Those are some of my favorites, I’d love to read about yours in the comment section.