Personal Learning Networks (PLN) = An Attitude of Gratitude

Anyone who believes they got where they are by her- or himself is pretty much lying. We all have someone who helped us get here. In my case, I have a whole host of “someones”. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say so. I hope you know who you are, as they are too numerous to mention here. (note to self: send out many, many written thank you’s!)

To begin, I don’t think Betty G had any idea of the gift she gave me so many years ago. On my last day working in the customer service department of a large catalog retailer’s call center, she took me aside and stated that if I didn’t pursue some form of teaching in my future work then I would be making a “big mistake”. Wow! Considering I left with no real plan, that was quite a lot to take in. Her words lingered and have bounced around in my brain all of the years since she spoke them, though I’ve never actually seen her again. I like to think she’d be proud of what I’ve accomplished. And even more proud of what I still plan to accomplish in the future.

As I built my career in training, learning, facilitation, design and development, I made connections. LOTS of them. I networked like crazy. And I still do. People were so generous with me in the beginning, sharing resources, agreeing to take my calls, providing free or discounted attendance at events—and more.  My local ASTD-SCWC chapter was another gift I was given. Who knew that the work I’d been doing and making up out of my head was not only “real” but there was a local consortium of people who do this for their livelihood and are willing to talk with me about it! How cool!

Fast forward to early 2010 when this little thing called Twitter came into my world.  I created an account and did what is referred to as “t-watching” for months. And then I met Terrence Wing and simply wouldn’t let me stay on the outside looking in. (He was a great friend lost too young, last December. Post by another friend here. ) TW introduced me to the world of tweet chats and choosing to follow people specifically for the purpose of fostering my hunger for learning and knowledge. Again, how cool!

Friendships have formed with people in the learning field, whether we’ve ever met in person or not. I’m talking about real friendships. And equally as important and the focus of this post, is the “attitude of gratitude” that prevails. We collaborate on projects; help each other solve design and development challenges. We share in each other’s successes and comfort each other when things aren’t going so well. We joke, we snark, we have fun at others’ expense. But most importantly, we share resources and our own learning.

As someone who works from my home, having connections is important, especially with my fellow “training managers”. However, connection to like-minded people in my PLN has made a profound difference in my own learning, approach to work, broadening my knowledge of many things relative to the work I do in learning, performance, and organizational development.  How cool!

PLN:  THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!