Inspiring. Encouraging. Insightful.

These are just some of the words that come to mind as I reflect back on my conversation with Andy Storch from this year’s ATD International Conference & Exposition in Orlando. Author of the book Own Your Career, Own Your Life and Founder of the Talent Development Think Tank, Andy is on a mission to help others find happiness and fulfillment in their own careers, gleaning from the lessons he learned personally while finding this out for himself.

This is important because I work with leaders and individuals all the time, all over the world who are trying to do something different with learning & development. Sometimes, the barriers they face are more internal, rather than external. It can be easy to focus on what you can’t do, to make statements about what you think you can’t do, and to stay there. We, as a community, need to help each other break out of our personal limitations.

Throughout our conversation, we touched on several important matters relating to self-awareness such as:

  • The ‘Victim Mindset’

  • The importance in being selective with the words you use each day

  • Taking responsibility for the actions and events that shape your life

  • And turning your challenges into opportunities

I encourage you to check out the full 30-minute interview on the LCD Group YouTube channel.

During our time together, I asked Andy how these topics relate to those of us in the Talent Development community, and here is a snapshot of what he shared:

  1. As ‘natural givers’ who volunteer much of their time and energy in helping others, TD Professional often don’t take the time out to help and develop themselves. When it comes to personal & professional development, Andy offered the analogy of thinking like the lumberjack who takes the time to sharpen his saw: In the long run, you will cut down more trees with a sharpened saw, then simply moving from one tree to another, without taking the time to reflect upon, develop, and grow your own knowledge and skills.

  2. A lot of TD Professionals are looking to their companies to train them – to provide either the time off or financial resources to develop their skills. This is a mistake! Instead, Andy recommends that we own this ourselves in order to keep up with the speed of change in the modern, business world. Simple and relatively inexpensive actions such as reading an industry book, taking an online course, attending a workshop or listening to a podcast are all beneficial avenues to take. Seek out the people “who are already doing it” and don’t be afraid to take chances and explore new opportunities.

  3. Change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Per Andy, having a growth mindset is key and he urges us all to take the time for self-awareness and reflection. Carve out 1-2 hours in your week to ask yourself, “What is my vision?” “What do I want to accomplish?” And then, “What is going to help me get there?” Invest your time in learning and network with others who are already successful in that chosen field.

I share a lot of similar philosophies with Andy and chatting with him was great because we could build and vibe off each other’s perspectives easily. The conversation was one of my favorites and reminded me a lot of the “why” behind my own past decisions. I’ve always been very focused on intentionally driving and taking responsibility for my career – ever since one of my first managers told me, “No one will care more about your career than you.” The reminder for me is to make sure I keep on owning my career!

How about you? What are your thoughts on owning your modern learning career?