For the last few years, I’ve been working as a Community Manager for a small company, a Microsoft Partner called Adopt & Embrace and I’ve been LOVING the work. I work three days a week and although my work is not only community management of a small adoption and change community; much of my work involves developing and creating all sorts of instructional content such as articles, resources, programs and videos.
I’m enjoying this part of my role simply because I love creating content – I love writing and I love creating videos.
At Adopt & Embrace, I had my first opportunity to also be part of a collaborative team to write our book and get my name in print.
We wrote Microsoft Teams: A Manager’s Guide to Communications, Collaboration and Co-ordination and it’s been a success. Every week, it’s great to see the number of people buying the book or downloading the audio book.
Currently, I’m co-ordinating the writing of our second book which will be a continuation of this first one but there’s going to be a “special theme”.
The second book takes into account how to get the best value out of M365 in hybrid workplaces. The second part of the book was written entirely by me that is all about the skills needed to get your workforce working in new ways and changing mindsets that get them in a position for continual change and adaption. The main parts which form the bulk of the book will be written by my colleagues who provide some tried and tested ideas and applications based on their work they’ve done with industries. Together, it will be a book for everyone and most of all, a team effort to get it written and published.
Writing the books with the Adopt & Embrace team has been a sheer joy for me because it allows me to create something and see it “out there” being used by people, teams and organisations.
For some time now, I have been thinking about the future of Activate Learning Solutions.
Since starting it back in 2014, I’m not going to lie, it was such a struggle to get ANY company to even value consulting in the area of skills such as collaboration, use of social and virtual technologies and peer-driven learning. I was frustrated and disappointed that success (meaning just simply having a bare basic minimum wage through the business) was not forthcoming. I took it as me being a failure in unable to sell an idea of the importance of continual and lifelong learning.
It just wasn’t what people – and Learning and Development teams – wanted or needed.
Luckily, I recall Paul Woods, my boss at Adopt & Embrace telling me when I first met with him online for him to offer me a job, he said these words:
“I don’t know how we can use your skills but something tells me that we’ll be needing them soon and they will reveal themselves with time.”
I loved that statement. It’s one of the reasons I signed up there and then with Adopt & Embrace.
An open role where I could work and mould around my skills and attributes and then build something together as a team for our customers – and let’s not lie, get paid for it.
I’m now finding that all the things I would have done in Activate Learning Solutions, I’m now doing at Adopt & Embrace.
The reason why I chose to work part-time, three days a week was to use the other two days to work on my own business. However, over time now, I’ve seen that the roles and skills have merged – the only difference is that I was ‘self employed’ in one, an employee in the other.
As such, I have not been taking work on through Activate Learning for a while and over the last year, I’ve done a lot of reflecting.
The COVID lockdowns of last year drastically changed my mindset of a lot of things about myself and my work and I came to realise that I’m enjoying the work at Adopt & Embrace because I am DOING the work that I wanted to do under Activate Learning Solutions.
Whether I’m self-employed or an employee is of no importance to me. The former was a struggle to do everything and it kept me away from the things I loved to do – help create inspiration for continual and lifelong learning through collaborative endeavours with clients – however, under Activate Learning Solutions, I just couldn’t get people – Learning and Development Managers and Teams – to see any value in this to pay for my services.
Now, at Adopt & Embrace, I can focus on the creativity, offer ideas and do the work – the writing and the creating – as an employee and I’m getting more benefit to me personally because it’s satisfying my need to create.
So the future of Activate Learning Solutions (as a business) is on tenuous ground. Over this year, I will be slowly streamlining this site to focus on the blog aspect only and remove any references to resources and sales. So it will focus more on my reflections, creations and developments of different learning experiences I go through.
It will be my “creator space”.
The intention over time and before retirement in about five years time is to totally remove myself from social media altogether as well and focus purely on creating, connecting, building with intention.
That means, more time to myself to create things I want to do, focus on projects that give me my time back, to not addle my brain with different ideas, suggestions and recommendations from public and to simply – take – it – slow.
I’m at an age where stress and anxiety impacts my health and wellbeing because it creates hormonal imbalances and at this time of my life, I simply don’t need the stress.
I’m going to wind down Activate Learning Solutions this year and in return, turn up a notch my creative side to make beautiful things to surround myself with; spend more time with my family; connect with my local community and neighbours and to work on different projects where I’m putting all sorts of skills into practice.
I feel as if I’ve been on a growth journey since 2012 when I first started dabbling with the social networks and media (I was blogging since 2006 however), so after many years of seeing the evolution of being online, I think I’m ready over the next few years to completely change my focus.
What do you think? Have you been on a journey similar to this?