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I recently received some very positive feedback from a participant who was attending my course. In the kindest manner, this participant said, “I really appreciate your passion for training. It shows in everything you do while you’re teaching.”
I was blown away and grateful to receive such a gracious compliment, but because it was given by a fellow training professional, it really humbled me. Of course, I promptly returned the compliment with a heart-felt, “Thank you!” And while I do believe I’m passionate about training (facilitation in particular), the participant’s comment prompted me to reflect and think a bit.
How did I develop this passion? What happened to make me love a career so much that I’ve spent over 20 years doing it? These were just a couple of the questions that swirled around in my head.
Many people think that finding your passion is about reflective soul searching—a search that requires you to go on an elaborate exploration much like an archeologist searching for a lost civilization. This may be the passion finding journey for some. However, I can’t say this was the case for me.
I happened to stumble upon a training job and quickly realized how much fun I had while doing it. I compare my experience to the innocent thought process of a child.
Lead by sheer excitement and curiosity, children simply do what they love. For some kids that means playing little league baseball. For others, that may mean playing with bugs, dolls, or race cars. If children really enjoy what they’re doing, they don’t have to be told to do it and it’s next to impossible to get them to stop. While I’m not in the mind of every child, I’m pretty certain most children never ask themselves, “Is this my passion?” My gut tells me that kids simply do what they do because they love doing it.
Lucky for me, I found something I love to do. And that just happens to be training.
You may recall I mentioned stumbling upon a training position. Like many in this field, I refer to myself as an “accidental trainer.” While in high school, I didn’t go to a summer camp for future corporate trainers. I didn’t even study anything training-related in college. For me, it was just the opposite. I got skilled and proficient doing the entry-level job I was hired for. I also possessed some effective communications skills. So, when a training position became available, I was approached by management to explore the opportunity. I took them up on their offer and, to my surprise, I didn’t have to go looking for my passion. My passion found me.
In addition to allowing your passion to find you, I’m also of the belief that our passions lie somewhere deep within us and it’s very likely we’ve been practicing them all along. It’s just a matter of becoming aware of what those passions are and having the courage, confidence, and opportunity to tap into them.
As I look back on my life, the things I most enjoyed and excelled at were all in line with becoming a training professional.
As an attention craving only child, I experienced great joy and comfort from situations where all eyes were on me. It didn’t matter if I was leading the “Pledge of Allegiance” in my kindergarten class or running for 5th grade class president, I somehow became comfortable leading and being in the spotlight.
Throughout junior high and high school, I excelled at performing arts such as music and theater. In the marching band I competed for a “First Chair” spot in the saxophone section. After achieving this honor, I was tasked with coaching and mentoring younger, less experienced band members. One might view this as my first unofficial attempt at training.
In college, I pursued what I thought was my passion. I studied and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism. While my career as a television reporter lasted for less than a year, it prepared me for an eventual career in training. In broadcasting, I learned to speak professionally and to tell engaging stories. Both traits are necessary components for a successful facilitator.
Ironically enough, all roads eventually lead me to training. Little did I realize my passion had been there all along. I’d been practicing and preparing for this career for years. So yeah, I am, without a doubt, passionate about training! I humbly take and embrace the gracious compliment my former participant bestowed upon me. And I’ll never go a day without realizing how fortunate I am to do what I love.
What makes you passionate about training? Have those passions been there all along?
If you’re just beginning your training journey and want to learn more about everything it has to offer, check out Training 101. It’ll provide you with a strong “how-to” overview of the entire training function. From needs analysis to design/development, delivery, and evaluation.