Self-Dev: Orchids & Why WIIFM now?

I’ve been buying, enjoying, growing, and killing orchids for at least 20yrs. This year, I have reached a new level of orchid ownership: I learned how to care for them, why they die and how “Big Orchid” sets us up to fail.

As an L&D nerd, I’m wondering why now? Why do I suddenly care enough to learn and change my habits of buying, enjoying, and killing?

  • Self-directed: we all know self-directed learning is a driver in adults converting a task into long-term memory. The why, the WIIFM. With orchids, I have chosen my entire field of study including my instructor (Michael’s Orchids on YouTube).
  • Attention: the orchids have had my attention for about 2 decades. Now they have my attention to help them live their best possible life. I think for me, this has accidentally bumped into my growth (ageing) into appreciating nature more and my move to minimalism. Old me saw orchids as flowering centerpieces to collect and discard. Today’s me sees them as a challenge to my (green thumb) skills and something to concur. I don’t value disposal things anymore either.
  • Transformative: Michael, my unknowing instructor, has challenged my previously held notion that orchids bloom and die. In a video, he taught me how “Big Orchid” sets us up to fail with the peat moss, mildewy, root clump. Who knew! (Big orchid is a tongue in cheek phrase that I am using.) Michael has excited me which makes me share which aides in converting to long term memory. I’m excited by learning that it is not all my fault that they die which increases my attention, which aides to the transformative of me, my learning, and my skills.
  • Emotion: Orchid flowers literally spark joy for me. And I have mentioned that I’m excited by the rewards of my orchid care? I have one that is in full bloom and another growing an impressive bloom spike! This makes me more excited…I see the flowers of my labor and I want MORE. This aide my transformation and ups my attention even more.
  • Spacing: This is the biggest thing that I don’t think we do well enough at work. But here, in self-directed land, I tend to be a bit of a weekend orchid warrior. When do I drill holes in the pots? On weekends. When do my deep inspecting and flushing? On weekends. When I started with the orchid rehab process, it required doing a tea bath for a day and dry for a day, repeat until the leaves are fully hydrated. Orchids are living creatures. And like humans, sometimes they need to dive in deep to the tea bath and then take a break and focus on something else. Then dive in again to the tea bath. This is what I don’t think most of the industry does well with adult learning. Budgets, time away from home or job, and waining attention levels mean we tend to get in and get out. But how does that lead to transformation, long term memory, and the deep reward of flowers? It doesn’t. When the learning does sink in, I wonder what else aided it or if it was a fluke.

Why now for me?  A combination of interests running into each other.

What makes it work? Desire, attention, efforts, spacing, and seeing rewards/

How can you do this in your L&D world?

Data: OKRs

I’ve mentioned that one of my goals for this year is to bring meaningful data to my team’s work. We have a bunch of data in Axonify. We have spent years measuring butts-in-seats and Level 1–which usually told us we needed more chocolate donuts. Not kidding. But what does meaningful data that shows we’ve helped move the needle look like?

The lines of business (LOB) are using stoplights, big hairy audacious goals (BHAGs), and talking about OKRs. Leadership is all about Measure What Matters. I started to buy the book and then I found the condensed video version! Productivity Games is an awesome channel!

I’ve been running work life through my head and journaling in terms of essentialism. I didn’t know it was essentialism, and perhaps someone would disagree with my interpretation. I mentioned before the time management course I took on LinkedIn Learning said to block 40% of your work week to do what your leadership thought made you special, different from other candidates. Why were you hired into this role? Do more of that.

For me, I think it is mentoring of the team, analysis, and measuring what matters.

And we’re back to OKRs. LOBs are setting BHAGs and measuring against quality and quantity. The next phase of journaling is to develop a BHAG, objective(s) to get there, and key results that look at quantity and quality.

Now I return to my journal.


KonMari: Garage


When we combined houses in September, we couldn’t even get everything in the house and garage. There were boxes lined up in the driveway. We had three vehicles and one motorcycle. We had enough Costco-purchased TP, paper towels, and tall kitchen trash bags to last us three years.

Seven months later…the garage is done! Shelves are added up to the ceiling, overhead storage hangs just above the garage door line, and we have only two vehicles. We still have a couple of years of TP, paper towels, and trash bags. But the paper products are stored in a single spot. The biggest and best part…my car is parked in the garage again!

Shelving everywhere! 

You might notice a few things that still need sorting. The work area on the left is storage for random things so M has no place to work. The tall, white boards in the center back are for the next project–more on that later. The blue-taped, amber-ish boards on the right by rubbish bins need rehoming.

We gave away oodles of moving boxes and quite a few Sterlite bins yesterday. Posted on Fb Marketplace and bam! Gone in a few hours.

This is what happens when you live with a project manager who is the son of an engineer.

Capsule challenge

My closet as of April 6, 2019

So that’s my closet. Yesterday was the 10th and final day of a 10×10 capsule challenge. I was so ready to be done. I was done after day 5. It wasn’t even 10 straight calendar days–it was 10 business days. I choose tops poorly. I picked all my new faves, which were all patterns and resulted in hard to layer with the other items I selected.

According to the Cladwell app, this pic has 71 items in it. That’s my Work It capsule. Shoes included. This pic has way more than 71 items in. The far left, higher rod contains clothes from pre-gallbladder surgery when I was 20something pounds lighter, and swimsuits that fit. The left of the main rod contains oodles of tees that are in Cladwell but not in my Work It capsule. Work It is work clothes. And there are shoes on the floor of the closet not pictured.

I’m excited to have 71 items for Cladwell to build outfits from. Well, part of me. The part of me that started the minimalism journey wants to pair 71 down to about 30-40 items. Meaning, 5-10 bottoms, my 3 dresses, 5 pairs of shoes, 8 top layers, and 20ish tops. So that’s my next step in the process…as things wear out or size out…cut this picture in half.

We’ll see what it looks like in April 2020!

Minimalism – a journey

28 days ago, I posted about a bunch of personal learning topics. I’ve spent much of March watching minimalism videos, camping with no water/electric/toilets/cell signals, finishing TWO books, and #konmari-ing stuff. I am 48 now. I made $118 selling things I no longer need on eBay. I am much happier and feel lighter. I supported a friend through an incredibly unbelievable and tough personal time. It feels good to be on the other side of that (for all of us).

And that spring has sprung helps too!

Suggested YouTube Channels

I’ve subscribed to a number of minimalist channels on YouTube. I thought I’d share some of my more favorite ones:

Minimalism Update

Basically, I’m slowly going all-in on minimalism. My biggest bad habit yet to break is when dining out (an infrequent activity) to remind the waiter that I don’t want a straw even brought to me. I feel like once it is out at the table, it’s done for. Can’t return to the pile.

We’ve recently used up the last of the Ziploc bags and we did not replace them! I saw M going for a snack-sized bag (we still have a box) for granola the offer the day. I offered him a small plastic container instead.

It’s definitely a journey to get to where we need to be for boat life in 4 years. I look at some items, like my beloved orchids, and think: okay, you can stay with long haul but you’ll need to be in a wooden orchid basket, not the ceramic pot. But do I need to do that now? No, I can enjoy my white ceramic pots until splash time comes. Who knows?! Perhaps the orchid won’t even still be around by then!

YNAB Update

My money is 62 days old. That pleases me greatly! I like I can’t even express! I’m wondering if 100 days is possible. I’ve added a page in my bullet journal to track.

I also figured out something that I was doing wrong for the past 3mos. I was incorrectly categorizing my income. DUH! No wonder my reports weren’t helpful. All fixed and ready to do it correctly in April.

Two of my beloved orchids. One bloomed this year!

Next up on the journey…attempting to take-in a pair of pants. Sewing has never been my thing–perhaps it could even be called my enemy. Hitting some of the harder items in my #konmari-ing. The sentimental items.

Personal Learning

In 2019, I have planned a variety of personal learning experiences and goals. These have nothing to do with L&D, work, or being a leader. Some are self-care related and some are hobby related.

I have a couple that I am ready to journal about.

KonMari + Capsule Wardrobe + Minimalism + Hygge + YNAB

I have jumped on the Marie Kondo bandwagon. The SO and I were already on a path of downsizing and combining homes at the end of 2018. Two late 40somethings move in together…and you have  A LOT of DUPLICATES! Marie Kondo arrived at just the right time for me. She provided a structure and way to ease into parting with things that I might actually still enjoy but Mark’s version sparks more joy (e.g., couch). If you haven’t watched the KonMari folding method, then you aren’t really living. It is LIFE CHANGING!

Part of living together is sharing closet space which means ensuring that you have the best wardrobe for your life that also takes up less space than it did when you had all the closets to yourself. This led me accidentally to capsule wardrobes. I am using the Cladwell app on my iPad. App has paired clothing articles in ways that my mind never did. The capsule wardrobe community (mostly Use Less on YouTube) have inspired me to buy less and buy better quality.

This ended up with me studying minimalism and hygge. Use Less talks about both along with oodles of YouTubers. KonMari and capsule wardrobes feed into living a minimalist life. Hygge is a Danish principle of comfortable, cozy living. I feel that old me could easily turn hygge style into buying more and adding to the house–as in the opposite of minimalism. Since hygge entered after minimalism and KonMari…I’ve been smartly rearranging things to make the house more hygge.

And the final piece of the puzzle is my adoption of You Need A Budget (YNAB). I started using it in December. It’s about giving each dollar a job–which may be to sit in a savings account. My money is 57 days old, as of today. This means that the next dollar I spend likely entered my account 57 days ago–as in not living paycheck-to-paycheck! This is amazing to me as my parents lived paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s the only life I have ever known. I had to learn on my own how not to do that and that took me until age 47 (yesterday I turned 48yo!).

Bullet Journaling

I literally starting the journal today. On my 48th year and 1 day of life. Where has this been my whole life??? I am so excited to start BuJo that I tweeted almost immediately after selecting the journal and setting up the forward and aft pages. I will be tracking daily tasks in my Ink+Volt journal for another couple of months. I started the BuJo now because I have items for the collections part that need a home. These items have been collecting (no pun intended) on pieces of paper on my home deks. Not very KonMari or minimalist.

So that’s what I am up to in my personal learning journey.

TLDC19 Reflection

It’s been about 3 weeks since TLDC19. It’s time and even past time to reflect. This was my first TLDC conference. I have organized my reflection in a few buckets:


One of the best things about TLDC19 was the chatter. Just talking to people you may have chatted with online and may have just met. The size and culture of the conference were unlike the other big ones that can simulate human cattle calls, rounding people from one session to another with treats and beverages in between. From Sunday night through Tuesday, I participated in numerous conversations about whatever was on our minds. That was often L&D related, sometimes music, sometimes tech, sometimes current climate & culture. The community spirit of the attendees and their desire to just know each other was refreshing and aided in tamping down the conference fatigue that happens with the larger ones.


The presenters and in keynotes were accessible. You could chat with them and start/continue relationships with them. ATD had President Obama last year. I expect him to not be accessible. The TLDC team selects not the world famous speakers who may give the audience the adrenaline rush of a brush with greatness, but equally intelligent speakers with the ability to make you think. As much as I would have loved to have been in the room last year with Obama and 5,000 other people, I got to hear Trish Uhl and Kati Ryan give me a rush talking about disruption and personal brand (respectively). Trish’s disruption keynote is still rattling around in my mind. That’s a far better rush, IMHO.


Cognitive load was a topic in Tim Slade’s visual design session. Humans can only take in so much at a time–my point above! Slade said (not direct quote) that we can control extraneous cognitive load by controlling how we chunk and present content. I feel like that sums up TLDC19. I don’t know if Brent and team are doing this consciously.  Speakers presented and the days were arranged in a way that I could have internal and external intellectual collisions, spark an idea, capture my ideas (for me in One Note), and mentally check-in and out of the conference as I needed.

There were times that something sparked in me an idea that I had to write down and I tuned out what was being said. During a few conversations with people, I had to pull out my phone and take notes. What they shared was either so brilliant or inspiring that I had to capture the thought.

I had a lot of ideas pop. I’ve acted on a few. Working and living with other ideas still. The most disappointing part for me is that I ended up leaving early on Tuesday. I was sick and declining (bronchitis and ear infection). I plan to catch the recordings of that afternoon. Even re-watch sessions I attended.

Thank you TLDC team and community for the best conference!