The Learning Continuum

10 Nov The Learning Continuum

Dear Readers,

As I move and travel around the area facilitating workshops and coaching people and yes, sometimes also working as a consultant on HR related projects, I meet a lot of interesting individuals. Some make an impression on me at the very first glance, and others are just remembered when I file their business cards.

The following article was written by a very courageous individual I met at a training exhibition whereby I was having a speech. The passion witnessed while she was participating and taking part in the discussion, was second to none.

After getting the opportunity to talk to her afterwards, I came to know about the unleashed potential waiting to be discovered and explored. I was quite pleased with what I heard and eventually when I saw the article she published.

The article on this blog, is what she published on her Linked-in profile and which I shared with my 400+ connection happily. I believe that what she wrote is an expression of all of us “go-getters” who strive for learning new things every day.

Yesterday, I met a friend that I thought was a bit awkward when I first got introduced to him. Sloppy looks, weird hobbies, brutal honesty and maybe sarcastic and cynical at all times. For me being as positive as a proton in an atom, it was difficult to digest him at first. But the fact was that the more I spent time with him, the more I started discovering how analytical his mind was, and how much he made sense in his cynics and sarcasm about systems and processes.

Now, me being analytic to the bones as well, I usually get interested in observing how things operate around me and indulge myself in criticizing many of the systems that surround us every day, and hope I can fix them and make them more user or customer friendly one day.

But most of the time I don’t get to find answers to why those systems I found inefficient, were so in the first place, hence leaving my mind with so many unfinished learning. Maybe because I get busy later on pursuing other important tasks, that I push those questions to the back burner. Every time I see my friend, I get to learn from him so many answers to the so many left out questions in my mind, which helps me fill in the blanks. My mind is pleased then and the learning is fulfilled.

Today, I like my friend’s company more than ever before. I guess it is also my desire to learn continually, day in day out, which is the main reason for that.

Why I quit my safe, well-paid job at P&G (Desi Koleva)

Why would you ever consider leaving your secure, well-paid job in one of the best companies in the world? How could you detach yourself from a strong corporate culture and a network of intelligent, motivated people, many of who have also become your friends?

There comes a tipping point when the burning need for life-long fulfilment overcomes the promise of short-term promotions and pay rises. At precisely this point, I left my Procter & Gamble marketing job to pursue my passion for learning and development. Here is why:

I wanted my passion to be my full-time job, not just part of it
Brand management can be great fun and I did enjoy it. I learnt to work in cross-functional teams and to understand what makes people tick. Over time, however, I found my favorite days at work were when I had delivered formal training or just taught a colleague something new. I used to come home and my partner Mark would say:

“You have delivered training today. I can tell because your face is glowing.”

I received very positive feedback from the participants who were impressed by the time and energy I dedicated on developing others since it was only part of my job.

I was hungry – actually starving – to learn more

Working on the same brand in two very distinct regions – the UK and Arabian Peninsula – helped me understand the purely cultural differences in a business. I learned invaluable lessons on interpreting implicit messages and navigating ambiguity. As my business grew double digits for two consecutive years, it was time for a new challenge, which the company could not provide here and now.

No longer enjoying my day job, I began to focus on training and development in my spare time. I was both following my passion and learning new things. My evenings and weekends were filling up with reading, networking and designing training programs. Eventually this “double life” became tiresome and unhealthy as it ate into my time with family and friends. Training and development had grown enough to be my full-time job, not just my hobby.

I needed to be fully honest with myself again

Some people can come into the office, deliver a project and leave without the slightest emotion or attachment. I am not one of these people. I envision an incredible future and get excited about it. I energize my time around it. I tell the whole world about it because I believe it’s going to make a genuine difference.

But what happened when I stopped believe in the vision? I was less excited about it, I tried to rally my team but my energy was stifled, I was ashamed of telling the world about it because let’s be honest, it wasn’t really going to make a big difference. Although I learnt to persevere, continuing to work hard and grow the business – I was no longer having fun and wasn’t proud of my achievements. I felt untrue to myself as my mind wandered back to training and development, constantly looking for opportunities to teach and help others in the office and outside. I was asking my team to work on brand plans that I was no longer so passionate about and that just didn’t feel right.

When I finally resigned, a huge rock fell off my shoulders. I envisioned an incredible future in training and development and got excited about it. I am now telling the whole world about my passion because I believe it’s going to make a genuine difference to people’s lives.

Be honest – are you passionate about your job? Are you learning something new every day?
If you are one of the many people re-evaluating their life and work, then get in touch on I would be happy to listen, share my experience and advise you on some “shortcuts” to help make your journey a little smoother and faster.


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