Every night, I plug in all of my electronic contraptions so that they can be freshly charged and ready to go for the undoubtedly busy day ahead. I only wish charging my own batteries was that simple.
Having just spent a few days with a huge group of enthusiastic, energetic, dedicated, and forward-thinking speakers and conference attendees at Elliot Masie’s Learning 2011 conference, I rediscovered the secret to recharging my batteries. Unlike our electronic devices, which seem to thrive quietly in the dark just taking in the energy needed to be powered up for the day ahead, we need people to provide that electric spark that allows us to kick it into high gear.
In an age when we are almost constantly connected to one another through social media, texting, and e-mail, it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking that we are surrounded by people who are giving us the energy to recharge. Not so. Deep conversations are the true energy source – we are powered up by face-to-face, real-time, extended discussions and debates with people who share our passions.
More than one speaker over the course of the conference emphasized the need to put our electronic devices aside and engage more deeply with one another. And while I learned quite a bit from listening to speakers share their stories, and taking long walks around the lake to think about the ideas I was gathering – it was the breakfast discussion, the after-session follow-up, and the late night conversation in the Market that deeply resonated and made things fall into place. I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned and to talk with colleagues who can help me shape the ideas into projects and outcomes.
Here’s one of the things I’ve learned. I don’t need more electronic connections in my life as much as I need a recommitment to real conversation. I too often eat lunch at my desk and hesitate to ask for time to bounce ideas around with others. I don’t reach out often enough to those people who I know are working on similar projects. There are lots of people a lot closer to home who share my excitement about learning and development, so I don’t need to come all the way to Florida to recharge my batteries. Although…. I think I’ll come back next year!
“Feeling connected to others is what gives our lives meaning and fuels our sense of belonging. A sense of connection can come from a shared passion, a shared experience or history, a shared goal or mission. It speaks to our desire to identify with and feel part of something bigger than ourselves.
~ Betsy Myers, from Take the Lead
Let me add a quick shout-out to everyone at The Masie Center who organized such a diverse and high-energy conference, and to all the speakers and colleagues who made the sessions so thought-provoking and enriching. Learning and development really is an exciting and worthy line of work, and I’m thrilled to have engaged with some of the best in the business over the last few days.