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20 Things for which this L&D Professional is Thankful

Thanksgiving 2015

As Thanksgiving approaches here in the U.S., I’ve been thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for in my professional life. As a learning and development professional, I’m in a unique role in which I have an opportunity, if I’m doing my job correctly, to make someone else’s life better by teaching them to do something new or different or better. I’m thankful every day for this very special opportunity.

As I think about the past year, here are 19 more things I’m thankful for:  

  1. Cookies. Freshly baked, chocolate chip cookies. From Specialty’s Bakery. They make me happy. And when I’m happy, I can get more creative in my craft. And when I’m more creative, everyone has more fun with whatever training programs I produce.
  2. Co-workers who buy me cookies. I like my co-workers and I’ll list a few more reasons I’m thankful for them down below. But every once in a while, one of them will buy me a cookie and I’m especially thankful for that kind of co-worker.
  3. Quizlet. I posted about this cool tool last week and I’ve already started integrating it into my projects.
  4. Bianca Woods’ pinterest board. I attended a session she led at the eLearning Guild’s FocusOn Learning conference during which she shared a gazillion different apps and tools (most of which are free) to help improve your L&D assets. Her pinterest board includes most of those tools. Check it out. Thanks Bianca!
  5. Jane Hart’s list of top 200 tools for learning. It’s simply a great list, updated on an annual basis, that points me in the direction of new tools and technologies to try out. In the past, I’ve stumbled upon things like PowToon and Kahoot on this list, which I later began to incorporate into lots of different work projects.
  6. Jane Hart’s list of 101 people who tweet about workplace learning. I’m thankful that Jane Hart puts together great lists… and I’m even on this particular list. Thanks Jane!!
  7. Ajay Pangarkar’s list of top 20 L&D “value” tweeters. I had the good fortune to share an Uber with Ajay as I headed to the airport after a conference this fall. Due to Chicago rush hour traffic, it was an extended conversation! He shared with me that he was putting together a list of people who tweet that was a little different than Jane Hart’s list (which is based upon the number of Twitter followers). Ajay’s list is a group of L&D professionals who somehow find ways to dig up very cool stuff that can help push your learning forward. Thanks Ajay!
  8. My grandfather. He’s turning 100 in February. He loves to laugh. He loves to sing Oh what a beautiful morning. He’s hyper-competitive. He was a businessman who ran a bottling works and provided his small town with soda for decades. I’m thankful for his example of how to take a risk in owning a business and I can only aspire to continue laughing for the next 59 years. Thanks Grandpa… it is a beautiful morning!
  9. My healthy family. This is kind of like air – as long as it’s present, I don’t think about it on a daily basis. But if it ever goes away, it would be a huge problem. My wife has asked why I don’t refer to her more often as “Mrs. @Flipchartguy”. I’m not kidding. And if that’s not a demonstration of support, I don’t know what is. Plus I have two (relatively) cheerful kids who provide a lot of inspiration for blog posts and training activities. Thanks Mrs. @Flipchartguy!
  10. My co-presenter: Mike Taylor. I had never met him in person prior to submitting a proposal to speak at this year’s Online Learning Conference (we’d only met via social media). He brought tons of ideas and creativity to the actual presentation, which made it one of the best I’ve ever been a part of. Thanks Mike!
  11. My co-author: Michelle Baker. I’ve still never met Michelle in person. But we kicked off this year by co-writing an article that was published in TD magazine entitled: Thinking Inside the Box. Thanks Michelle!
  12. My co-author: Greta Taber. It’s not easy to co-write an article. Each person has a different style and different priorities and thinks different things should be highlighted. Earlier this year, my colleague Greta and I had a chance to figure out how mesh our different styles and priorities into an article about the financial return on investment of hiring a full-time training position. Thanks Greta!
  13. Miranda. She’s the person who Greta and I wrote our article about. She’s an amazing, rising talent in the L&D field. And she keeps me grounded with emails that say things like: “Huh. I never realized how brightly the sun shines into our office until you were home sick and your big head wasn’t blocking out the sun.” Thanks Miranda.
  14. Ok, fine, I’ll just name SightLife. You probably don’t want to read the name of every single person I work with. Just know that they’re awesome. SightLife is the largest eye bank in the world and our aim is to eliminate corneal blindness in the next 25 years. And they’ve entrusted me with the responsibility to make sure every staff member has the skills and abilities to end corneal blindness. It’s like our CEO handed me the keys to a high performance Ferrari. Thank you for having faith in me, SightLife.
  15. Endurance Learning. A friend of mine from my undergrad days and I were sitting around a hotel room a few years ago and wondered what the world might look like if every presentation was engaging and led to change. (Yes, this is the stuff I talk about with college friends.) In pursuit of that dream, we co-founded an organization called Endurance Learning, and we’re helping organizations turn every presentation they entrust us with developing into something that can be engaging and lead to change. Thank you to our clients, and thank you to Tim!
  16. 30,000 Feet. Who doesn’t like to have a personal theme song? I was doing some work in my office one night, listening to Pandora, and a song called 30,000 Feet came on. It resonated with me and my life over the past few years and I listen to it with my son every night before he goes to bed.
  17. My running partner. I debated putting this one in here. Honestly, am I really that thankful that I have someone who holds me accountable for getting up at 5:30am a few days a week to go running? In the end, I suppose the endorphines are a good thing. And it’s been when I’ve gone running that I’ve come up with some of my best training activity ideas this year. So, thanks Juanita. I guess.
  18. Fiverr. I stumbled upon Fiverr this year and I’m glad I did. 1) It’s been an economical way to get some materials translated for work. 2) It’s been a fun way to bring some of my thoughts to life through infographics like this that serve to combat the silliness around “facts” (stereotypes) about the different generations in the workplace. 3) I’ve also found an artist in South Africa who has given the trainers at my workplace an identity that’s out of this world. Thanks Luke and all the Fiverr talent who’s helped me out this year.
  19. Thousands of blog readers. Every week I’m amazed at how many people click on a link to my blog and/or share it with others. I truly am thankful for your willingness to read some of the stuff I write. Have a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Are there some things you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving season? I’d love to read about it in the comment section.

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