On February 12, 2012, I obtained a business license for Learning 4 Learning Professionals and officially began the consulting chapter of my career. Ten years ago today.

It seems like we’ve lived way more than a decade in the last decade, but I’m proud to be part of a field that makes a difference – and especially proud to work alongside the dedicated and creative people I’ve met along the way.

Ours is a principled, strategic profession, and I have been humbled to meet so many learning professionals with huge talent and deep commitment to doing the work well. The profile of the L&D field has risen over the years, and our portfolio of methods for facilitating learning has greatly expanded. Our array of tools and techniques continues to grow as well. I have loved having L&D as a playground for my career.

A labor of love

Looking back, I feel many moments of real accomplishment. I’ve created strategies to develop L&D teams, designed and facilitated academic courses and customized workshops, written books and research papers, spoken at conferences, contributed articles to practitioner and academic journals, and iterated a web site to host my blog and curated resources.

And to date I’ve collected 67 owls to decorate my home office along with enough books to fill eight bookcases holding a treasure trove of rich thinking and excellent advice. 😊

My client projects, graduate courses, blog posts, and published work together reflect the recent history of an ever-changing profession – exactly why I have continued to enjoy working in this field for nearly 40 years.

Learning strategy and performance consulting. Instructional design. Curation. Gamification. Learning environments (a.k.a. learning ecosystems, modern blended learning). Social learning. Scholarly practice. Creative capacity. Design thinking. Learning culture. Self-directed learning. Developmental leadership.

I see my role as a synthesizer and translator – taking what we know from research and experience and formulating highly practical frameworks, guidance, and templates. It’s work that truly puts me in a flow state, sifting through lots of sources and thinking hard about how to apply key insights. I’m happy to cross the hallway to come to work every day.

Looking ahead

Back in 2012, I wrote a blog post on the nature of my gravitational field. It nicely sums up what has become a deep value in my practice.

“A [planet’s] gravitational field can serve as an accelerator and steering mechanism for objects passing by. In this case, the object is not captured; it is given extra energy and set off at a faster pace in a slightly different direction than it would have been on if it hadn’t brushed by the planet at all.

I’m pretty proud of my gravitational field – I get encouraging feedback that I have a lot to offer to the professionals around me.

But here’s my a-ha moment of the day: I am not supposed to capture the people who pass through my field; they are not supposed to hang by me and follow my same path. No. The role of my gravitational field is to fling people further and faster into the universe – to accelerate the path they are on to the place they are supposed to be.”

I hope I’ve done that for people in my gravitational field over these last ten years. And I hope to do my bit to accelerate our path as a profession in the coming years as well.

Thank you to all those who have challenged my thinking and supported my efforts. Many thanks as well to the clients, students, readers, and session attendees that I have (metaphorically) flung into the universe through my work. I am a more skilled learning professional because my trajectory has intersected with yours. I applaud YOUR work and hope your journey has been as enjoyable and rewarding as mine.