Hungry for professional development?

Just returned from Portland, Oregon, where I attended the Grant Professionals Association national conference. I made lots of new friends and attended loads of great workshops. But I reached a crossroads early on in the conference.

Tired from travelling, I let my mind wander in the first workshop I attended. I debated whether to check my email, or text someone. The presenter asked for a show of hands, and I left my hand down, even though I knew the answer to the question she raised. Then a strange thing happened.

I started feeling even MORE tired! Add to that anxious, and disappointed with myself. And lazy, and unappreciative. Oh, and undeserving too!

After five minutes of taking a backseat, I decided most emphatically that I DID NOT like “taking a powder,” DID NOT like myself for being disengaged, and DID NOT feel like I was getting even a fraction out of the workshop that I could have. I was sitting in Portland, feeling sorry for myself, and not liking me for it.

Snap out of it!

And I did. I decided right then and there that no matter how tired I felt, no matter how much I wanted to take a nap, no matter how distracted I could become, that NO ONE was being served by sitting back and letting the world wash over me. What a spoiled brat I was being! I shook it off, snapped to attention, and spent the rest of the conference reaching out to new people — in the lunch line, at the bar, in the ladies room, at meals, and after hours. And I have a boatload of new friends and colleagues because of it. And I introduced my new friends to my old friends, and now THEY have new friends.

I attended every workshop with renewed zeal. I took copious notes, shared them with my new friends (hi, Ariana!), and you know what? Got new energy! I was pumped!

The attached picture is from the last session of the conference. At a time when most people were busy packing and catching their planes, Susan Howlett filled a room with people anxious to learn and get better at their craft. I gave myself the gift of professional development, and I will be a better grant writer because of it. I didn’t back away from it, I embraced the challenge of stretching myself and filling myself up with new knowledge and relationships.

So worth it!

I hope you get the chance to be reinvigorated by professional development soon.

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