Yes, I was so looking forward to the presentation.
The American Society of Training and Development’s annual statewide conference was on campus at the University of Tulsa. Having submitted my presentation proposal, I was honored to be selected. My presentation title: “How to Take the Donkey out of Training”.
The response was gratifying; we added chairs to accommodate the group. The professional trainers represented various Oklahoma-based businesses, large and small.
The room was quite warm; and it was the first session after lunch. To add a little “fun” to the moment my handout was “selected” to be stapled in reverse order. Furthermore, another presentor’s hand-out was mixed in at the tables. With 45-50 minutes, I was already feeling pressure without the logistic challenges. Stuff happens.
The conference keynote was a well respected trainer and trainer of trainers. The previous afternoon at the pre-conference session I observed his techniques as he engaged us in the training. Thursday morning he opened the conference and continued to demonstrate his techniques as a trainer.
Of course, that didn’t influence the last minute changes of my new presentation. I’m wiser than that! Besides it was already pretty good; I’m not a newbie. But my thoughts taunted me…all these professionals are experiencing the master at work, you’d better make some adjustments.
You’re right – I tweaked my presentation early that morning.
Yes, you’re right – that means I did not have time to review my revised plan before presenting.
And yes, it was a very warm room full of professional trainers, right after lunch, with a challenging start. In fact, the room only got warmer (to me) the longer I presented. To raise the stakes higher, several companies were represented that I want to connect with as an executive coach. I know what you’re thinking: “Steve, what were you thinking?”
About mid-way into the presentation, it came time to own it. When it’s not going as planned I’ve learned to stop, breathe, and look at what is happening; this usually releases me to move forward. You see, I was not meeting my own expectations. But “owning it” allowed me to turn the corner and sprint to the finish line.
Why do I tell you this story?
This is a classic illustration of the personal growth principle I share with all my coaching clients in The People Project:
The best predictor of future success is
the ability and willingness to learn and change
achieved through consistent reflection on truth
delivered through experience, feedback, success, and failure.
Thankfully, there were individuals who did connect with the message of my presentation. Thanks Chris, Cassie, Jeffery, Danielle, and Karen to name a few. Your feedback allowed me to move forward knowing that, in spite of myself, I had made a difference.
What’s your hope for future success?
The hope of successful, growing people is tied to their commitment to engage in consistent reflection. Trust me, I’ve spent time reflecting on this experience, the feedback, and my sense of failure associated with: “How to take the Donkey out of Training”.
Here’s one of my lesssons from this experience: Challenge any assumption about last minute changes and my ability to wing it. In fact, I may add that to the presentation. If I learn this lesson it will take one part of the donkey out of my performance in the future. Because you know what happens when you ‘assume’… right?
Once again, I am called to listen to the “teacher” I love to hate but must embrace: “Professor Failure”.
Your future success hinges on your ability and willingness to reflect on the truth that comes from life. Then you can learn and change…grow as a person, a manager, a leader, a human being.
By the way, when do you make time for consistent reflection?