Four years ago, I was gathered around a campfire with a few friends, and I told my buddy Alex that I wanted to be a writer someday.
He asked what I had written lately, and I (shamefully) said, “Well, I haven’t really been writing anything, but I want to at some point.”
I’ll never forget Alex’s reply: “I don’t know much about writing, but what I do know is that writers write.” That was the kick in the pants I needed, and I’m forever grateful for my friend’s candid words that pushed me out of the nest.
Many things in life come with instructions or operating manuals, even products that don’t seem to need them:
And even though many ridiculous things come with instructions, we’re not given an operating manual for the most important aspects of life — things like getting a job, finding love, saving for retirement, or becoming a decent human.
About six years ago, after repeating…
My friend Tyler once told a story about a fishing trip he went on with his dad. He said they didn’t catch a single fish for the first few days, but then — as they were about to pack up the last day — the fish started biting.
Tyler and his dad caught one fish after another as the sun went down. They didn’t plan to stay out so late, but they refused to stop as long as the fish were biting.
They remained on the lake for hours, reining in one fish after another. That one night ultimately redeemed…
When I started working in corporate learning and development (L&D), I quickly discovered that people have a lot of opinions about how they learn best, but few of those opinions are grounded in reality.
The most common myth is the concept of “learning styles”: everyone learns in a different way, and people learn better when the mode of training matches their preferred style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, reading/writing).
The only problem is…that theory hasn’t been validated by research. Several studies have flat-out contradicted that theory, yet the myth stubbornly lives on, influencing the way many people think about learning.
Before 2020, how many of you had ever attended a fully virtual conference? (Scans the room, very few hands raised.) Yup, same here.
The universe pressed the fast-forward button on digitalization and remote work during 2020. Things that would have previously taken 5–10 years to accomplish (taking an entire company remote, creating a fully virtual onboarding process, etc.) happened in mere weeks. The move to remote work changed how employees learn, what they need to know, how teams communicate, and how companies build and sustain their work cultures.
As the Director of Learning & Development (L&D) at a startup company…
Learning and development (L&D) has evolved at a rapid pace — and things are changing even faster as companies begin to embrace remote work learning.
One hundred years ago, L&D was narrowly focused on improving efficiency on simple manual tasks like operating machinery. Then the field broadened to include in-person training for complex and dynamic jobs: sales, finance, etc.
In the past 10–20 years, L&D has further expanded to include aspects of employee engagement and retention as companies have realized that if they don’t train their employees, they’ll jump ship to another company that will help them develop necessary career…
Today, employees expect more from their employers than ever before. In addition to a paycheck and a fun work environment, an increasing number of employees expect their company to help them develop professional skills.
Data shows that professional growth is especially important to younger employees who have begun to enter the workforce. Recruiting agency Robert Half found that 91 percent of Gen Z employees evaluated professional development as one of the most important factors for choosing where they want to work. …
As a huge book nerd, there’s something uniquely embarrassing about having to admit that I haven’t read some of the most famous books in classic literature.
For years, whenever friends found out that I read over 70 books per year, they’d immediately assume that I had read their favorite book, only for me to respond with chagrin: “No, I haven’t read [insert amazing book here].”
The Hobbit? Nope, sorry Bilbo.
War and Peace? Hmmm…do people actually read books that long?
Les Miserables? Miserably, no.
Just like you, I was forced to read a lot of classic literature like Animal Farm…
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” -Stephen King¹
In the same way that every teacher was first a student, every writer was first a reader. Reading is the best way to learn what good writing sounds like (and what bad writing sounds like).
Great writing purrs like a sports car after a tuneup. And the more you read the work of talented authors, the more you’ll be able to recognize that…
Where do you work?
What do you do?
Where are you from?
How many times have you been asked these questions?
The sheer lack of imagination applied to most conversations makes it seem like our species only developed speech a few decades ago and we’re still trying to figure it out. Either that or we’re so hamstrung with worry about asking the wrong thing that we decide to only ask the safe questions — the ones we know won’t offend anyone or reveal anything too personal.
In every conversation, we’re given a rich palette of colors to paint with, but…