ATD 2016 It’s a Wrap!
As is usual, when wrapping up the monster that is “ATD International Conference and Expo” or otherwise known as ATD ICE , #ATD2016 or ATD 2016. I try to enlist experiences from others. Those experiences range from lessons learned, people met or key learning take-aways all from different points of view. However, sometimes the lessons are a little more, how can I say this…in your face. An awakening.
For years I’ve been telling the masses who attend this conference (or any other for that matter) that in order to get the most out of it, you must come with a goal. In order to set a goal you have to know one of two things: 1) To know what’s keeping your boss awake at night and then use the knowledge gained as a helpful sleeping pill or 2) Know how you want to improve yourself or rekindle a passion. Are there missing skills or knowledge gaps? Things you can’t wait to learn more about? Do you want to make important connections, or rekindle old ones?
But sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. And sometimes what you don’t know can pop up and smack you across the head leading to a blinding flash of reality. Sometimes attending such an event leads to revelations which make us uncomfortable. What I appreciate and admire about Tricia’s post below, is she could have brushed off the innocently delivered comment with a simple flick of the wrist and moved on. However, she is taking her self-awareness to a new level.
I thank her for sharing her story here. I know we all can benefit. Do you have moment of self-realization? Please share in the comment section below – it’s always good to know we are not alone.
When Shannon asked me if I would be interested in sharing what I learned at ATD2016, I said YES! Then I began my personal self-reflection process and surprised myself.
What I learned at ATD2016 has absolutely nothing to do with any sessions I attended or any L&D topics, trends, and themes. I learned about myself, and it wasn’t pretty.
I was excited to go to Denver and finally meet people I’ve only known online. And then I got there. My entire learning experience can be summed up by a completely innocent and off the cuff remark made in jest by a person I respect and trust: “Tricia, you seem so much more immature in person than you do online.”
A part of me realized there was truth in the comment and it hurt. There are defining moments in life, and for me, ATD2016 is one. Denver is where I learned that I’ve lost myself and my direction. I learned that when I can’t find my own true north, I flounder.
For years, I had a laser focus on my professional persona – Growth. My self-reflection forced myself to realize that for the last year or so, I’ve been stagnating. I’ve lost my direction. What is my own true north? What is my direction? Who am I and what do I want to do with myself?
Looking back, it’s no wonder I didn’t get much out of the sessions I attended. I didn’t go into the conference knowing myself; I didn’t know what I wanted to accomplish. Since I didn’t know myself, I couldn’t present myself as I wanted to.
Reflecting on ATD2016 is painful and something I don’t want to do. Yet, I must. I can’t fix something if I don’t know what’s broken. And I will fix my compass, and use it to chart my own L&D path.
I challenge each of you to figure out your own true North. I challenge each of you to learn from me – know who you are and what you want to accomplish before attending a conference. It makes all the difference, trust me.
What self-reflection have you done since coming home?
Or – ATD Conference not withstanding, was there a moment that came up and slapped you upside the head? Please share below!
Next in the ATD 2016 It’s a Wrap Series: