Taking Time for Training

I'm guilty of it - and I bet you are, too. Neglecting my own professional development, even while I preach the importance of training to others. Whether the challenge is priorities, costs, or just not enough hours in the day, I often find it hard to make time for training.

Last month I broke my pattern and spent two and half days in a great workshop on designing learning experiences. I was reminded of the true value of taking time for my own training, even on a topic I consider one of my core competencies. In particular, I was reminded that trainings can:

  • Give me the time and space to reflect on a topic. Simply having the opportunity to pause and thinking about one topic at a time, with no (or fewer) distractions, is a gift. Whether it is one hour at a conference or two and half days for an immersive workshop, the time to reflect is an important benefit of training.
  • Reinforce what I've heard and learned in the past. If you are like me, not everything sticks the first time around - or even the second. I need to hear ideas a few times before they become part of my knowledge.
  • Deepen my understanding of a topic I'm already familiar with. The workshop I attended included an exploration of four models of adult learning, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover my work already incorporated two of them. Trainings can help flesh out existing ideas and practices.
  • And, of course, add to my knowledge. I always come away from trainings with new ideas and connections, whether it is an overhaul to the way I think about fundraising or a great new opening exercise for my next meeting. 

I pledge to take more time for training - and I hope you will, too.