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Birthday Celebrations and Reflections

One day, 20 years ago, I was riding my horse and reflecting on my work life balance. At the time, I was living in the beautiful North Cumbrian countryside but, like a lot of self-employed trainers, spending huge amounts of time hotel hopping. I remember one contract involved nine-hour drives home from Plymouth on a Friday evening. There was a growing disconnect between professional and personal success in that my work was preventing me doing the things I enjoyed outside of work.

By this point in my career, more and more customers were asking me to create training materials based on my experiential, fun approach that they could deliver internally. And, perhaps unusually, I’d realised that I gained at least as much satisfaction and joy from training design, as I did delivery. 

As I reflected on my enjoyment of Training Design, I found my mind wandering for some reason to Friends Reunited. (Remember that?) So, using a technique I’d trained others to use, I started trying to force a connection between Friends Reunited and Training Design…. 

It's extraordinary now to think that an hour of quiet reflection could have changed my life so dramatically. But it did, because I went home with an idea. Thanks to that, and the technical know-how and support of Craig Worcester, Trainers’ Library launched just six weeks later. 

The key learning point from this I think, is never to underestimate the value of thinking time; it really matters. But there’s another and that is, if things don’t feel quite right, stop. Focus on what’s working and what’s not and what you could change. You might be surprised by the opportunities you unlock.

There’s a lot I’ve learnt or had reinforced from running my own company too, including:

  • The value of a great team, great customers and trust.
  • The importance of work/life balance. (Although I was still very slow to give this the priority it deserves.) 
  • Resilience. (We’ve survived everything from a flooded office to a financial crash, and a pandemic when face-to-face training stopped virtually overnight.) 
  • Adaptability and the importance of embracing change. (Twenty years ago, few customers had broadband and 4g didn’t exist, so we had to be very careful with file sizes. These days, customers find no difficulty streaming videos, using our Activity Links or, of course, delivering virtually.)

But perhaps the most important thing I’ve learnt is the importance of recognising and recording your ‘wins’ and celebrating success. 

This really is so important because, life can be difficult, challenging, and stressful, and it’s all too easy to become focused on what’s not going well and on our negative experiences. In doing so, we often lose sight of the progress and successes we’ve achieved. The ability to recognise little wins is, I believe, fundamental to resilience, optimism, self-esteem, and ultimately, happiness.  

And twenty years is a big milestone to celebrate! That’s why we’ll be celebrating together as a whole team (with most partners) over a long weekend in June. 

And we want to extend that celebration and thank our customers too, including those who have been with us since our very first month – May 2003. We’ve a small gift planned for those and other long-standing customers.

For everyone else, there’s the chance to win one of three fabulous Fortnum and Mason Coronation Hampers. (By a strange coincidence, Trainers’ Library’s 20th birthday coincides exactly with the King’s coronation on the 6th May.)

We’ll be holding the draw on the 2nd May (so that the winners receive their hampers for the weekend) and if you’re a customer, you’ll be in it. So, watch out for the result! 

Until next time...

April 25 2023Rod Webb

Rod Webb

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