One of my favorite things is coffee.
In fact, I love meeting over coffee because it’s cordial, civil, and difficult news is somehow more civilized when shared over a good cup of java. While waiting in line at my favorite coffee shop today, I had “a moment.” I visualized my younger self (ten years ago) sitting at the table with the coffee of the day (french vanilla). I joined her (my younger self) at the table.
After several minutes of small talk, she asked me: “Given the benefit of hindsight, tell me what is the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing and the most fun thing that I have to look forward to in my training career?”
Taking a sip of my hazelnut coffee (with lots of cream), I thought over the years of training classes, eLearnings, conference presentations and smiled. It was hard narrowing it down, but here goes:
The Most Challenging Thing
Teaching a 3-day Business Objects class with a collapsed lung and pneumonia in Lubbock, TX.
No co-trainer, no backup trainer. After the ER notified my manager (who was 7 hours away) of my condition, I was advised by the same manager that the class had to be conducted and could not be rescheduled. Result: I taught the class – sitting down and in 2 hour shifts with lots of hands-on lab exercises. I then spent another 5 days in the hotel in bed under the watchful eye of the hotel staff (Thank you!)
I was finally cleared to fly home to my own physician and my own bed. Unfortunately, teaching the class made my condition much worse and I spent another ten days back home in bed and under doctor’s care. I got lots of sympathy from the audience and good training evaluations, but honestly – the entire experience sucked. No gold stars either.
The Most Rewarding Thing: Having a respected physician thank me personally for training him on the new EMR software.
When I met him 2 weeks earlier, he had advised me that his colleagues and staff were eagerly expecting him to quit over the new software. He wasn’t ready to quit, and he loved his patients. He had had two previous trainers – one had notified me in advance that he was “difficult“. I had assured him that I had not lost a person yet in my training classes and he would not be the first!
For 2 weeks, we worked 12+ hours a day, learning, repeating, establishing a routine and a rhythm. On my last day – he shook my hand and thanked me for getting him through the learning curve and how proud he was that he could better serve his patients. It was the highlight moment of my career. To have a renown physician (can’t disclose due to privacy) who saves lives daily for a living – thank me for my help. Pretty fabulous feeling!
The Most Fun Thing
- Being selected to conduct training classes for 3 weeks on the island of Kauai!
Out of 12 trainers, I was the one chosen. My first trip across the ocean – and it was on the company. Every single day was pure pleasure. I would arise at 5 am, walk to the beach with my coffee and watch the sun come up. By 7:30 am, I would arrive at the office location with my 2nd cup of coffee to begin class preparation for the 9 am class. We would conclude class around 6 pm, and then I would either go sight seeing, or join one of my participants at their home at their gracious invitation. The most fun and creative training opportunity I have experienced to date.
My younger self smiled and thanked me. I paused and said: “No – it is I who thank you. You just gave me a moment to look back, to appreciate and reflect on a career that chose me. It not only paid the bills but gave me the opportunity to walk a path and meet people I otherwise would never had met.”
I encouraged my younger self: “Enjoy every minute.”
Updated 9/15/2018; 2/27/2020