Old Dog – New Tricks

“Why I Value Professional Development.”

The saying, “You can’t teach an old dogs new tricks” is true if they are left to themselves and never taught anything new. Over 12 years ago I began preparing for my final season of work. But what would that work be?

I knew I was way out of touch with computers and social media which would be crucial to future work and relationships. I enrolled at the community college in Asheville and took three computer courses. As my son David was helping me with a computer issue he lovingly said, “I think you should ask for your money back!” Yet I was determined to not let my “technology issues” and need for personal and professional development stop me.

Life was training me to always be ready for the next opportunity. During the years when my children were small I was able to stay at home investing in my children and cultivating my flower and vegetable garden. As my garden and children grew, I had an incredible opportunity to mentor and coach “Princess Warriors” as a high school basketball coach. It was in the later years of this season of work that I knew I needed to re-tool for the emerging season of owning and leading a floral design company.  While I didn’t know what all was needed at the time to own and lead a floral design company, I knew I needed to find training to help me learn new skills and techniques.  Unfortunately, it turned out that my desire was greater than the resources available at that time.

When I rebranded my flower business a few years ago, I knew I had to move beyond the training void I had experienced in those early years. So, I set a budget and a plan to attend one workshop yearly and actively look for opportunities to be inspired. I determined to cultivate friendships with photographers, event planners, venue owners…and I prayed a lot.

Growing personally and professionally is a priority for me and ensures that I don’t get stuck in a rut or out of touch with the trends. Plus, these opportunities have grown my confidence and competency in floral design and business practices. My clients deserve my best effort to design and create beautiful and memorable floral pieces for their very special celebrations of life. The skills and knowledge gained thru these opportunities helps me remain relevant and effective in mentoring and influencing others in my community and industry. Professional development pushes me to remain open and curious so that I am always learning and growing.

Professional development also provides the vital link to connecting with other floral designers for support and collaboration. Kelly Perry (@Kelly_Perry)and Team Flower (@TeamFlower) have become an invaluable resource for me. I cannot begin to list off all the amazing resources available through the www.TeamFlower.org web page. Go check it out yourself! (You can thank me later.)

I attended the Team Flower Conference in Orlando in March of this year. I was struck by the friendships that had been forged thru a Team Flower workshop and saw how precious and important it is to build these special connections. I also have begun following many of the florist who have attended a workshop and can see how the concepts as well as time to practice and create has helped develop the participants eye for detail and design. I feel I could learn so much about listening and following my heart in business and in my design work. There is a time and season for all things and this seems to be a time where I could use encouragement to press on and not grow weary. Time to work with flowers and tap into the deep well of my soul would be time so well spent! And although I am an old dog there is still much to be learned.

I believe professional development thru floral workshops will renew my spirit, connect me with others, and train me in some new tricks.