A Portrait of the Man by a Young Artist

Yesterday in church, my wife whispered into my ear: “Look at what your daughter is drawing.” What I found was amusing, and not altogether surprising.

Last year on a vacation to Hawaii, my wife suggested I had a one-track mind. Most guys do, I guess. Of course, my “one-track” is wholly devoted to learning and development.

I didn’t realize how obvious my one-track mind was until this morning when I saw my daughter draw this:

One Track Mind

It made me think that a “top 10 reasons I enjoy learning and development” would be a fun post to write today, but I couldn’t come up with 10 really good reasons. Maybe a “top 5” list? Still couldn’t do it.

Yes, I love the opportunity to be creative. I love using Mr. Sketch markers and flipchart. But there’s really only one core reason I have a passion for what I do: learning and development (when done well) can change the world. And in a world where there are so many problems, I want to do my part in changing it.

I don’t have TED Talk-sized audiences, so the worlds that I change are mostly individuals. When I design and deliver a learning experience that helps someone do something new or differently or better at work – a place where people spend more waking hours than anywhere else – it can improve their quality of life. And that can change an individual’s life as well as the lives of those around him – both at work and at home.

How about you? Perhaps you’ve been in the learning & development field for years, subscribing to this blog for some tips and ideas. Perhaps you’re what Shannon Tipton recently labelled an “accidental trainer” who fell into a learning and development role recently. Perhaps you’re someone who has a presentation coming up and you stumbled upon this blog. I believe that in order to do something well, there has to be one core reason that’s at the heart of what you do.

What drives you to do what you do? I’m curious to know where your passion lies. Leave a note in the comments section.

13 thoughts on “A Portrait of the Man by a Young Artist

    • Yes, she nailed my hair… though I don’t think I’ve ever worn a V-neck t-shirt to facilitate a training session.

      So Kirby, I’m curious, what drives you to do what you do?

  1. Hi Brian – thanks for the mention! It’s interesting to think about how I got “here”. I remember waaaaay back when and working my way up through the ranks of the restaurant industry. I was a server, as you can imagine turnover was relatively high (as is normal), as new person after new person was brought in and trained, I remember even then thinking, there HAS to be a better way to train newbies. Then as I got into management I knew there HAD to be a better way to train managers etc. and here I am, still discovering better ways to connect people with learning and helping businesses encourage discovery. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. (and, I agree, as much as I love technology in learning, it wouldn’t be a workshop without MR. Sketch smelly markers).

    • Thanks for sharing the reflections, Shannon! I think helping people to discover new ways is a pretty key piece to a lot of trainers’ motivations (though I’m waiting to see if anyone replies in the comments section saying: Meh, I’m really in it just for the money).

      The technology behind Mr. Sketch in the classroom is pretty timeless.

    • I think this might just be the essence of effective training design: “Now take out your crayons, use all the colors in the box and draw on the walls.”

      Thanks, Shannon, for sharing the article!

  2. this post was very timely! I was just starting an instructional design class (3 days) and I received this. I used it as one of my openers. I asked the participants “Why is instructional design important to you?” Your comments brought out the “spiritual” side of it! Thank you

    • Glad I could help with the conversation! I’m kind of curious… what were some of the answers (or does this break your Vegas-style ground rule of what’s said in your class stays in your class)?

      • well this is Dallas so I can reveal it! changing behavior on the job to impact organizational bottom line, improved performance, make it more enjoyable for the facilitators and participants..

    • Mary Lynn – I can’t take credit for the artwork, but I’ll thank you wholeheartedly for giving my blog a read. Glad I can write something that resonates!!

      Out of curiosity, what do you think makes you passionate about learning?

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