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L&D Professionals Need to Work Hard, Play Hard

Road trip to Cheyenne
Spend 5 hours working on my laptop at the airport before flying home, or take a quick road trip to a state I’ve never visited? Even with deadlines looming, it was a no-brainer.

Last week I was in Colorado to observe the pilot phase of a new training module. I had a travel day followed by a 17-hour workday and then up early the next day for the actual presentation.

I’ve had a lot of projects to work on lately, which is a great thing, but it’s also led to a lot of long days without much rest. As I was digging through my computer bag during this recent trip, sifting through a tangled mess of power cords in a frantic search for the right one, I came across a card that a colleague had given to me on the last day of my previous job.

This colleague said that some of the most important lessons I taught her were some of the day-to-day things. These day-to-day lessons included: never eating lunch at your desk, sometimes you have to take the time to watch a full-length movie during work hours (and then be inspired to turn that experience into something groundbreakingly amazing), and we should put plenty of weight on the “fun” factor as a way of increasing quality.  

In the midst of my travels and projects and 17-hour workdays, I had forgotten about some of these things. So when my travel partner on this recent trip to Colorado suggested we take a quick road trip over to Wyoming after we piloted the module, I shut down my computer and jumped in the car.

An hour and a half later, we were in Cheyenne (and I was now down to only 6 more states that I’ve never visited). We popped out of the car and I did a quick Internet search for things to do in Cheyenne. We decided we’d swing by the state capitol building before we hopped back in the car and headed to the airport.

As I waited for my phone to give us walking directions to the state capitol, my travel partner said: “Let’s go this way.”

I told her to wait a second, the directions were just now being pulled up on my phone. I have a terrible sense of direction and didn’t want to start out going to wrong way.

“It’s this way. C’mon!”

I didn’t know why she felt so sure of herself, she’d never been to Cheyenne either. I told her to wait a minute – the map was pulled up on my phone but it was telling me that we needed to start out walking north, and I was trying to get my bearings (by using my phone) to figure out which way was north.

“Brian, look up!”

I looked up the street. Fifteen blocks away, straight down the street, we could see the gold dome of the Wyoming capitol building.

Sometimes technology is nice… but I guess there are times that, even though we can use technology, perhaps it’s not the best solution. It was a great reminder for me as I design a variety of projects. I don’t have to incorporate technology just because there is technology available.

I love designing new training programs and finding creative ways to engage learners. But sometimes, even when there are deadlines closing in and projects need to be completed, it’s essential to step away and get inspired by other things that are happening around me.

Where do you look for inspiration even when you’re busy with a gazillion projects and deadlines?

 

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