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Frances Ferguson

Glasstap Ltd

Training Design Manager

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Over-thinker or over-eager?


There’s nothing like the feeling when kaboom, you suddenly have a fantastic idea. The heart starts pumping, the butterflies are dancing, the possibilities are endless, the excitement overwhelming and despite everything, you can’t keep the huge beam off your face.

We’ve all been there. We all know what a great, great feeling it is; it’s awesomely fantastic & just a little bit addictive. But the question is, what happens next?

Do you leap right in & crack on, excited to be in the whirlwind of activity & certain that your passion is enough to make it happen? Or are you the person who analyses, who checks, who crafts, who perfects; making sure that you have found the fool proof way to make this wonderful idea happen?

We probably all recognise the challenge – for some, it will make us smile & nod with hard won wisdom as we remember how we responded & made it happen. For others we will probably wince & shudder; asking ourselves once more that unanswerable question: “what if?...”

The truth is that when introducing change we are all somewhere along the ‘think or do spectrum’; we probably all have tales of when our chosen approach helped & other times that we remember, with less fondness. Times when it enabled us to take an opportunity that still makes us smile & times when we regret that our enthusiasm made us foolhardy or our reticence meant we missed out.

I am reminded of this as I await, with anticipation, my favourite sporting weekend of the year – the Wimbledon finals.

What must it feel like to walk onto that fabulous Centre Court? How must it feel to see those beautiful words from Rudyard Kipling and consider how you face defeat or victory and treat those two imposters just the same?

Most of us will never ever have that particular experience, yet we all know what it is like to challenge ourselves to do something different, to achieve something that at times felt tantalisingly impossible.

We know what it feels like to fear that we can’t do it and to stop, stutter & wobble as we fight to find our way through. Sometimes we will emerge victorious, other times we simply need to learn and move on.

Our memories of this feeling are doubly important for those of us in the L&D profession; it matters that we remember the overwhelming fear at the start, worrying & wondering how we will find a way through and to smile as we recall what success feels like.

When we can recall that process we can understand the internal battle going on the minds of our learners. Because for our learners, just like the 2013 Wimbledon Finalists, the capability and desire to succeed is not always enough – we need to be able to execute the plan.

And applying learning is rather like winning a professional tennis match – it may appear to be a solo endeavour, but look closely & you will see a posse of people all working hard to make it happen.

So whether your learners are the kind of people who love to leap on in & get on with it, or whether they are cautious planners who want to ‘know’ before they ‘do’ the one thing they have in common is that they will need support and encouragement beyond the training room.

Our challenge is finding a way to make that always happen. If we can do that, then we may not have won Wimbledon but we've achieve something mighty fine indeed.

2 Responses

  1. Over-thinker or over-eager

    Interesting parallel which IMHO works incredibly well.

    Certainly the article makes me reflective around my own practice.

    Thank You

  2. Thank you

    My pleasure – thank you for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it.

    All the best


Author Profile Picture
Frances Ferguson

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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