10 Valuable Lessons I Have Learnt in 20 Years of Experience As A Trainer

This blog post is doubly special and marks the coming together of 2 big achievements in my life!

One is the mere result of passage of time but is an accomplishment nonetheless – I complete 20 years in the training industry this month and boy! what a roller coaster it’s been!

It seems like I’ve finally earned the greying around my temples! (The rest is artfully covered with modern devices of colour!)

The second one is making it to the first cohort of the Content Accelerator Program launched in India by Linkedin.

After 8 years of consistently creating content in different formats, this seems like the ultimate acknowledgement of the quality of it all!

As I complete 2 decades as a trainer, I can’t help but look back and reminisce over the good and bad times! The mistakes made and the lessons learnt from them!

While I’ll spare you the laundry list of mistakes, I do want to share the lessons that might be beneficial to you in your career journey!

In this post, I am going to share 10 lessons and 10 more in the next one – don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss that one!

# 1. Passion is the key to lasting success

It would be impossible to last in any profession unless one has passion for it.

When I finished my masters degree in English Literature and was looking for a career, I was sure that I wouldn’t want to be confined to a chair as a content writer. People and communication were my twin passions and I wanted to work with them.

And even 2 decades later, I can’t have enough of it! I am still as excited and look forward to every session as I was when I started.

Find out what that passion means to you. Seek what you can start a life long romance with.

# 2. Never stop learning

Apart from passion, self-learning is what has kept me on top of my game. Everything that I have learnt since the end of my academic life has been mostly through books and later, Google.

Today, we have a whole range of choices. From TED Talks to podcasts to YouTube channels dedicated to specific topics.

Make your choice and ensure you learn something new everyday!

# 3. Work on communication skills

When I turned entrepreneur from a full time trainer, I realised that my communication skills were in key in finding success. Talking to clients for business was very different from training them.

Evolution of my own communication through my career has been so enriching!

Work on your written and verbal communication to get ahead in any career that you choose

# 4. Consistency is indeed the key 

When I started my business in 2014, it took me a year to learn the ropes of branding. I’d read all day and look at others who were doing it well.

To be honest, I just showed up every day from 2015 to 2017 – just created and posted content, learning along the way.

I wanted to quit, several times. But just keeping at it brought the tipping point in 2020 when all that branding really started bringing business results!

Had it not been for all the foundation that I built over the years, this wouldn’t have happened.

Show up and keep at it – even when you think nothing seems to be happening!

Photo credit
# 5. Roll with the times

Things change – annoyingly, constantly. the training industry that I started in has changed beyond recognition 20 years later.

Heck! The term personal branding wasn’t even a thing in 2002! I’ve trained for offline communication skills all my life and phew! the world locked down in 2020!

In short, be ready to pivot at short notice!

# 6. Develop new skills as you go

Someone recently asked me how do I know what to deliver to my clients. How did I learn all this “stuff”?

Like I said, branding for people wasn’t even a thing when I started. An important part of rolling with the times is to pickup new skills on the way. Learn new skills and tech know-how that the times demands

Keep up with the times. Learn new skills. Read a lot.

# 7. Don’t bank on mentors

Most successful people talk about the important role mentors played in their lives. But in my experience, mentors may or may not turn up. So be prepared to go solo!

In the training industry, the ties are not very strong and the sector is not very organised. I get tons of calls from people who want to be trainers but can’t find the information they need.

That led me to write this detailed post on how to become a corporate trainer 

Same goes for branding! I learnt everything on the job, watching others and trying out what worked for me.

# 8. Be a copy cat, shamelessly

How do we learn but by watching other people who are doing it well!!

A major part of my learning life has been about checking out what other people are doing. And that’s alright!

There is always something to learn from others, even if is something that you learn something you “don’t” want to do. That’s a learning too!

# 9. Accept/seek help

I still reach out to my network to ask how they did it – an interesting video they created or a great post they wrote!

There’s no harm is accepting that you aren’t good at something and humbly go to others with your questions.

Most people on social media are open and willing to share. Make use of these vast resources of experts around the world.

# 10. Pay for good services

Never try to do everything on your own!

As a solo-entrepreneur, I am always vacillating between spending on expertise and trying to do things on my own. But I have never regretted outsourcing my work.

That has always helped me to be more productive and get a lot more done. Especially since the areas that I am not an expert of took away a lot of time.

But getting someone to do designing and even scheduling content – which is a recurring task – has helped me stay on top of things.

If you pay attention, each of these lessons is valuable for anyone trying to build a life and business from scratch.

Which one is your favourite?

Here is the second part of the series.

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If you want to work on your communication skills and are looking for a coach, let’s talk

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