Listen to Your Instincts

I have known of Oprah for a very long time, but never had an opportunity to listen to her talk in person. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

At the 2019 ATD Conference in Washington, DC a couple weeks ago, Oprah was the opening keynote speaker. The messages she shared were simple, yet things you need to hear over and again, letting them sink in a bit deeper each time.

One of her messages was to “listen to your gut instinct.”

Thankfully, I have some good sense (thanks to my parents and upbringing) to let that gut instinct steer me in the right direction. Even when it has been a challenging road to face – like realizing when I was not properly positioned in my career and requesting a change, which ended up being a win for the organization and me – twice!

There is another example that is much more simplistic in listening to my gut instinct though. Despite being the exhausted introvert and wanting to head back to my hotel to relax and get away from the people-y environment that is a conference, I agreed to go to a meet up with members of #TLDCast in Virginia the last night I was in town. I had joined the group for an affordable monthly subscription earlier in the week and knew of one person that would be there – Kristen, who sent out the notice on Twitter.

I challenged myself throughout the conference to soak up as much as I could – not only in information, but in networking. Connecting with others is totally NOT in my comfort zone and takes some work. Thankfully, there are so many people that love to talk about their work and their lives that it was not as difficult as I might have imagined.

So I took a Lyft to Virginia – about 20 minutes from my hotel in DC, and met a half dozen new people that nerd out at the same learning and development stuff that I do. Thankfully, after attending many of the conference sessions, I had picked up more insights on the newest in technology and design so I felt like I could understand the language they spoke. As I mentioned to my friend Dana early in the conference, “I was among MY people” geeking out together!

At the meet up, I also had an opportunity to talk with Peter and Megan, who are part of Torrance Learning. I had attended Megan’s session on LLAMA project management (a lot like agile) during the conference and several sessions on xAPI, which I gravitated towards wanting to know more. Torrance Learning hosts xAPI Cohorts in the spring and fall and I was able to sign up for the session beginning in September. In addition, they advised I should head up to Ann Arbor, Michigan (a few hours from Columbus) in December for the wrap up party. If the weather and my schedule cooperate, I plan to be there.

Oprah was right – listen to your gut instinct. Many times, it will lead you in the right direction even though you may not realize why at a much later time.

This post only shares a few small aspects of my ATD conference experiences. Stay tuned for additional blog posts where I share more about the sessions I attended and the resources obtained as a result.

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