Last week I attended Learning Technologies Conference and exhibition in London. This event is something that I have attended over the last few years as I worked on implementing a e-learning platform. I have also spoken about my journey with e-learning at both the conference and the exhibition representing my employer and the business I had partnered with. I thoroughly enjoyed being on stage and sharing my experiences especially if it meant I would be helping others in whatever way.
This year I had been asked to chair a session all about coaching chat bots, which I thought was really appropriate and the session was really interesting and the presenters really experienced and knowledgeable. I listened intently and learned a lot, most of all about how Chatbots could work in business to effectively support the transfer of learning.
All that aside, the thing that surprised me most was how I felt about being there. I felt a bit out of place, and before you think my inner critic was showing up, she wasn’t because the feelings weren’t about whether I was capable or not, or whether I fitted in, I just felt it was a bit too corporate for me. The corporate feeling is interesting because to me it means big companies, an environment where everything is formal, structured and processes are followed, there’s competition and there’s politics, whether we like to admit it or not!
I reflected on these feelings on the train on the way home and wondered why I felt like this. It was at this point my inner critic did show up asking me are you sure it’s because you’ve you’re not interested in the Learning & Development space anymore? Once I’d told her to be quiet, I considered what was true & what was false.
· It’s true that am still interested in Learning & Development
· It’s true that I’m interested in what the latest research says
· It’s true that I’m interested in what’s happening in the corporate environments, one of my client is one and maybe in the future I’ll find myself in that environment again
· It’s true that I’m interested in how is learning happening? when budgets are tight or non-existent
Nothing false to add to that list – so I can safely disregard the comments from my inner critic!
But overall I realised that over the last few months I have worked really hard to distance myself from the corporate world, when I first knew that I was going to be leaving employment to be self-employed, I had coaching to help me make the transition. I had to mentally separate myself from the corporate goings on around me and while I didn’t switch off, I definitely started to see things differently.
Since last July, I’ve met so many self-employed people through networking and introductions. Everyone has been so friendly and so supportive. There’s no corporate talk, no competition and no definitely no politics, and I love it.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be said for the corporate environment, but for me I’ve realised that it’s just not the space I’m operating in right now. Honestly, the feelings surprised me, they were unexpected and came from no-where, but you know what it’s okay and I’m going to accept those feelings, because it’s a sign of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve moved on.