I attended two amazing training classes at work last week. One was for Introduction to Lean process improvement and the other was for Crafting Communications. I absorbed useful ideas and wisdom from both classes. As usually, I was ecstatic about lessons learned in classes, and I was able to spring some of these new ideas into action within days.
But there is a layer of fear lurking underneath. What if I let my lessons learned slip away as time passes by? What if I completely forget the poignant tips from the challenging "Writing Headlines" exercise from the communications class? There is apprehension that I might flippantly dismiss the new information with a "that was nice, now let's move on" mentality. What is that fear? Will appending the worksheet from the communications class into my Levenger Circa organizer notebook be an exercise in futility? Would I begin to resent the "types of waste" of lean methodologies over time as it comes to a head against my material hoarding tendencies?
My fear is about the possibility of doing things half-assed. I feel a strong aversion to adopting a "just good enough to get by" mentality. I don't want to be content with half-assery. There ain't no half-steppin' when it comes to taking learning seriously. This is why I always participate and become active at learning classes, conferences, online meetings, and other events. It's not enough just to show up: I learn and contribute.
I have a disdain for "tourists" who appear at learning events, infect the rest of their class with boredom and apathy, and infuriate attendees who are there to learn and collaborate. Tourists are mostly corporate folks who view these classes and conferences as a form of paid time away from their offices. I've witnessed tourists in one Project Management class who would completely ignore group exercises and spend time making smart-ass remarks as rest of the group collaborated. It's most likely that their employers had paid them to attend the class, so there's no incentive for them to participate. Having paid $600 out of my own pocket to attend the same course so I could invest in my own learning, it chapped my ass to have these disinterested morons getting in the way of my learning experience.
I harbor similar dislike for colleagues who show up at "mandatory training classes" and make shit worse for those who actually want to learn new stuff. Over a decade ago, I attended an mandatory "Harassment in the Workplace" session with several colleagues. I was interested in learning about the topic and applying the lessons learned towards work, but one idiot co-worker spent most of session snoring in the back of the classroom! If they weren't interested in attending the class, they need to work with their bosses to find alternatives, and get the hell out of the way for those who want to learn!
Since I invest time and money for a good bulk of my learning opportunities (usually through taking "learning vacations"), I won't be shy about making the most out of these events. I will speak up, participate, and encourage inclusiveness among fellow attendees. I don't care if I am attending a professional or technical conference, a bar camp, or a gathering of inspiring people: these are all opportunities for me to make new connects, establish friendships, learn from other people, and share my knowledge with them. I'm full-ass at these events. And if the tourists don't like that, they can go stick it where the sun doesn't shine.