The Blend Podcast EP012 – eLearning Community is Key

Brendan Cox  00:00

Welcome to the Blend podcast. This week, we thought with everyone working remotely, and the way all industries are going, the human connection was more important than ever. So we thought we’d talk to an expert in elearning, but with a core interest in human connection and communication. So today, I’d like to welcome Patty Bryant to the podcast.

Patti Bryant  00:21

Thanks so much, Brendan, happy to be here.

Brendan Cox  00:24

It’s good to have you. Good to have you on. And tell us a bit about your background and your journey into elearning.

Patti Bryant  00:34

My bachelors is in information system security, that’s what I thought I wanted to do originally – stop computer hackers from hacking into computer systems. And then I realised you don’t actually get to interact with a lot of people with that.

So I kind of took a little journey away from that. At that time, I was also a computer consultant. I lived in this little small town that had vacation properties. And so I would go to different places and help them with their computer needs. But at that point, I moved into tech support for a learning management system company, I didn’t even know what a learning management system was.

I learned what it was and how to support the software. Then I really decided that I just liked training people and when they needed help doing something that’s like where I fit. So I moved into in-person training at a learning management system company. And that’s kind of how I shifted into the training just from tech support into training.

Then I realised, wow, it’s pretty cool that we can put courses in the learning management system, and then people can take them anytime they want. And that’s kind of how I transitioned over into elearning.

Brendan Cox  01:56

Okay, so you were a bit of a unicorn, you were actually a helpful IT person.

Patti Bryant  02:03

Yeah, amazing.

Brendan Cox  02:06

You started out thinking, I’ll do the cybersecurity. Obviously, everyone you come in contact with is hiding so you don’t get to interact with them too much. You went down a route with connecting with more people and communications and things. So when you discovered elearning, what was the kind of journey you took?

Patti Bryant  02:33

Yeah, so I was working at a company when I actually started getting more into elearning, where we had no budget for eLearning. But we had this department that was putting the content online for people, and a lot of them had something called a master’s in elearning implementation and design. And I was really curious about what do you learn with that degree.

So I looked a little bit more into it, and decided to jump into the masters and took that programme. At the same time, I was working at that company, where I could create elearning, but we had a budget of $0. So I had to do everything myself, you know, find free images, do the narration myself, all that kind of stuff.

Then while I was in the middle of my master’s programme, I got a contracting job. It started off as a contracting job at Kapolei headquarters, here in Denver, Colorado. And I remember one of my first projects at AAA. I was like, Okay, well, so what’s our budget for this? And they’re like, no budget, anything you want, do you want us to do a video shoot, if you want it to be an illustration, if you want it to be animation, anything you want, and it was quite an intimidating spot to be in.

So it was interesting at the juxtaposition of having $0 budget and then an unlimited budget. Anyway, that was where I would say I started to develop some heavy elearning and instructional design skills.

Brendan Cox  04:19

Cool. So you started off doing the low budget, homemade video approach? Then you suddenly were chucked into the deep end making a superhero blockbuster movie. What were the things that you found yourself having to do that took your focus the most?

You sort of put most of your resources into because you saying there’s quite a few directions, what was the thing that you found was the most useful to focus your efforts on?


Patti Bryant  04:53

It was an interesting time at Chipotle because the training department was pretty new. They did not have one eLearning course and it was a respectful workplace course. They basically had taken a big binder and stuck it up online and added some assessment questions to it.

So we really spent a lot of time figuring out who was good at what and what I spent my time on was the front end of figuring out what we needed to create what where the problem spots are, what is the needle that we’re trying to move as a business problem within the organization.

Then coming up with high level design ideas for really creative concepts and for eLearning courses that 16, 17, 18 year-olds staff members would connect to, so you’re talking animated comic book strip characters, lots of things that are that are really engaging, and actually do move the needle on the business problem, but also draw in like a younger age range of folks that are looking to learn something.

I had never worked on a team before where everybody was so incredible at different aspects. We had a graphic artist, a developer, we had an illustrator and animator, videographer, all those different things. So it was a really interesting time to learn how to work with a team and not try to do everything myself and have it be mediocre.

Brendan Cox  06:21

That sounds awesome. It sounds like the perfect sandbox to get the full experience of developing elearning. So at that point, you were obviously coming in with the strategic decisions at the beginning. Was that where your interest in the communication aspect came in? Or did you explore a lot of the different aspects of elearning first?  Or did you gravitate towards one part of it from the word go?

Patti Bryant  06:51

At the very beginning I would do a lot of meetings with people throughout the company. For example, when I created the respectful workplace course, we didn’t want to create stuff out of our ivory tower, we wanted to get on ground level and see where the problems were what’s really happening, and then work with as many different departments and also restaurants, which we called stores as possible.

So one of the places that I went to was Philadelphia, and talking to a field leader, who was very successful at the time (a field leader is someone who has over several restaurants in a region). The reason I went there was to determine why was he so successful? What was he doing? And could we replicate this among other stores throughout the country?

So I spent like a week with him, touring, going to different restaurants, understanding how he worked, meeting his management team underneath him, things like that, and on the very last day that I spent with him, we were sitting in one of his restaurants at a table.

He said, so everything I’ve showed you is stuff that I do that I think makes a difference. But do you want to see one of the things that I made that I feel is the is crucial to what makes me the most successful? And I was like, Yes, of course. That’s why I’m here.


Each day for 15 minutes, he would read something inspirational or encouraging. At the time, he was reading the Maxwell daily reader, which is by a leadership author called John Maxwell. The concept is that it’s a page a day, it’s something that’s encouraging or inspirational.

It’s a topic that they could discuss. He would read it and would say, ‘what do you guys think about this?’, and over time the front of house and the back of house started getting along better.

He started seeing that the teams got more cohesive, that they were a team between the front house and back of house, people who were more introverted, started talking after a while. And people started seeing themselves as leaders because they had never felt heard before.

During this time they would say something and people would start listening to what they had to say, which started instilling confidence in them. So anyway, it was a big deal, because that was one of the things that helped his entire team and his management staff really elevate.

I started doing that at headquarters and now it’s evolved into a book series that is all about being human, being seen and heard for who you truly are. I think that that’s really important.

Brendan Cox  10:05

So you took all of the things that you developed into play and then sort of created a guide to doing it as well.

Patti Bryant  10:18

So what I started doing when I got back to Chipotle after that trip is that I told my team at the time, which was the training department, I’m going to sit down every day, and I’m going to read something encouraging or inspirational.

I could do it myself but it would be pretty pitiful. Otherwise, you could join me and it might seem a little bit jollier to have you guys sit with me. And so almost immediately, the entire team started reading something encouraging or inspirational each day.

After a while it started expanding because people would be in a meeting and they would say, ‘hey, we do this thing in the morning for 15 minutes, if you ever want to, you know, join, we’ll be here’.

So through word of mouth, it started spreading. Every single day at  815 to 830, we had these conversations, and it got so big that we couldn’t even fit inside. After a while we had to be outside on the patio. I mean, we had people from training and marketing and sustainability and finance, people would come and I would say, ‘Wow, like I we work in the same building. I’ve never even seen your face before. Who are you? Let’s, let’s get to know each other.’

So what happened is the departments started reducing, a lot of times the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing so the silos started breaking down. Even though I don’t know what finance does exactly, I could talk to Kim, and she’s in finance. And now I know a little bit more about that department.

It just really started changing the entire environment. The problem is we ran out of things to read – inspirational, encouraging topics, because we were using the Maxwell daily reader, and it’s only a year’s worth of content. So what I did was I wrote a book series called ‘The Way Back’ and every day is a different topic, or it’s weekly. But every week is a different topic, you might talk about fear one week, you might talk about success another.

It’s all about something that we are growing from. Learning more about each other as humans when we read through it.

Brendan Cox  12:20

Its basically knowing that you’re being heard by someone else and how often we run through life, not taking time to actually hear somebody, when they’ve got something to say, especially at work. I’ve worked in a number of restaurants before I was a designer. You kind of turn up at work and you’re thrown into the fray.

There’s always this sort of line drawn tension that would make a really big difference. There was always that thing of a social night, even just having one night, every six months all together suddenly humanised everybody and the tensions and the stresses that were there sort of disappear, because you realise they’re going through the same stuff, you are also nice and interesting.

So did you How long did you did you build that chip overlay? Did you kind of over a period of years, or was it shorter?

Patti Bryant  13:30

So we did it for two and a half years. Every day, I never missed a day. If I was out, somebody else led the session. It was a little difficult because while I was there, I was writing the books. Some days, I didn’t have any content so I would just say something inspiring that happened this week.

I think the big thing is I just wanted a process for people to be able to use plug and play.  Here’s the training on how to facilitate something like this because a lot of stuff happens when you facilitate these things. Maybe nobody talks. Maybe people are talking over each other, maybe somebody gets emotional.

I created like a facilitation type of training on how to do that. And the good news is it’s plug and play and now people in any organisation can use that to get to know the humans around them a little bit better, which is important to me.

Brendan Cox  14:37

So is Chipotle still using it?

Patti Bryant  14:40

They are not still using it. Pretty much most of the people that were there when I was there are not there anymore. The leadership changed shortly after I left and now they are no longer in Denver. They moved to Newport Beach, California so a lot of people were let go and they hired a lot of new people. It’s pretty much a whole different company there now.

Brendan Cox  15:06

Did you find that taking that sort of approach and really getting everyone together and having the time to get everyone together translate well into being freelance in the learning?

Patti Bryant  15:21

I had always wanted to be freelance for such a long time, I was quite a workaholic at AAA even working overtime, sometimes just too much work. I really wanted to take control of my time. So when I finally got the guts to jump into the unknown, I started my own groups outside of that.

I’ve been freelancing for six years at this point. Now I have a group of a lot of people in downtown Denver, Colorado – some of them live in my building. Some of them are people from AAA, who are now freelance, which is funny. So we just have an eclectic group of people that are from mixed backgrounds and hang out each week and discuss one of the topics.

Brendan Cox  16:25

What sort of projects and things? Have you found working as a freelancer that you have you continued to stay in the strategic side of things? Or have you found that there’s a bit more of a spread of different skills that you needed to apply?

Patti Bryant  16:44

Yeah, so I would say that there is a variety. I typically sit in the instructional design seat. That’s where my clients get the biggest bang for their buck. When I come in at the beginning, take a look at what the issue is high level design.

Then I move into storyboarding. At that point, once the storyboard is approved, I move on to something else. But I do have some clients where I do the a gamut of things, including development. I also do narration of my own, like voiceover. I can do everything from beginning to end.

But what I would say is that, and I always tell clients this – you are going to get something that is not as good as if you choose to go with people who are really great at each of their tasks, like a good graphic designer, an incredible developer, me doing instructional design.

If you can bring people together on one project, who are incredible at what they do, and each have their own respects, the training itself is going to be elevated so much. But there are some clients for budgetary reasons, or whatever it might be that, that I do the whole gamut.

I’ve created training for over 70 organisations so far and I’d say 70% is me storyboarding and the other 30% is all of the other aspects.

Brendan Cox  18:19

Okay, so what can you tell us about any of your projects? Are you under NDA on everything? Has anything stood out as a really interesting challenge?

Patti Bryant  18:30

I can tell you about some of them. One of the more recent ones that I really enjoyed was where the goal was not actually to train people how to do something, the goal was more to inspire. It was more of like a marketing piece.

It was for coaches who have clients. What we wanted to do was create something that was very inspiring. It also can kind of feel like you’re in a silo when you’re just a single coach. Maybe there’s a whole network of coaches, but you’re just doing your own thing with your own clients. We wanted to bring in a bit more of here’s what other coaches are doing and let’s collaborate a little and get a little bit more social, let’s connect with each other.

Some of the things were pretty simple, but it was a mix of coaches sharing their experiences with clients. We took very simple video on zoom, just recorded the video and stuck it in. Not the most high quality thing you’ve ever seen which is fine.

Sometimes I like the down and dirty stuff. Then we shared little areas in rise for people to comment and share some type of success story that you’ve had with one of your clients. It builds this collage and so it was really cool.

By the time you’re done with it, you’re seeing all these people that are going through training and success stories. I do think that we definitely hit the mark of creating something inspiring that connected these coaches together.

Brendan Cox  20:29

Would you have say, if you were given complete free rein, and you could choose any kind of client – What would you like to do as a personal project?

Patti Bryant  20:46

I love the type of content when we are helping people find their strengths and use their strengths. And that type of content is something that I feel like really has the power to change people’s lives. I think a lot of times people are looking at, ‘well, here are my weaknesses, and I need to make them better’.

No, maybe you should just focus on your strengths and keep doing more of that. That’s what’s energizing. If I wanted to be a better graphic designer, that’s great. But I don’t, my strength is instructional design, I’m not trying to be a better graphic designer, if I focused on the fact that I do crap, graphic design, then it really weighs me down.

Instead, I’m going to make more money, I’m going to be more successful. I’m going to just be happier to focus on the thing that I’m really great at and do more of that.

So the kind of client that I look for is someone who has content that I really believe in and actually help improve people’s mindset.

Brendan Cox  22:10

Yeah, kind of leaning into your strengths. I think it applies to a lot of stuff. And we’ve noticed it a lot since we started in elearning how you can really can see who’s got a knack for communication, who’s great with problem solving on a technical level, and then who’s really good at seeing stepping back and seeing the big picture and asking the right questions of the client.

I get what you mean, I think if you can help someone elevate what was already good to something even better, it’s so much better than trying to fill in the potholes to get them to a basic level of working. Most of the time those potholes don’t need to be filled in, you could get away with not wasting time on. So in terms of when you’re trying to actually present what you do to clients, (a lot of elearning can be dry compliance types or side of things.) yours is very much in the soft skills arena – How do you approach educating your clients and potential clients as to the benefits of that as a less tangible kind of subject?

Patti Bryant  23:23

Yeah, so there’s this really old school Cathy Moore action mapping video where she describes action mapping in such a beautiful way. Then she talks about how there’s a guy and he’s eating ice cream, and we could design a course and say ice cream is bad for you.

But that doesn’t mean he’s gonna stop eating ice cream, because he’s not motivated to do so. And so if they’re pretty new to elearning, I have them watch this video. We watch it together. And then I go into action mapping – why it’s important because it costs you more time and money for to get the course developed if it’s longer and just full of information.

When people walk away from their computer after they have taken the course and they don’t remember anything. So what we want to do is make sure that everything is actionable. If there’s anything that’s not that’s just extra information, we’re going to put that in a job aid. So we are saving money, we’re saving time, and we’re helping people to actually we’re moving the benchmark we’re moving the needle on the business problem that we’re here to solve anyway. So I typically frame it in what are the benefits of action mapping because that’s what I use mostly in my business.

Brendan Cox  25:03

We have a similar approach, we came across action mapping once we’d already started, but we’ve been doing design thinking workshops for quite a few years. There’s the same sort of thing of just not narrowing your focus and really getting to the asking ‘why’ enough times until you know exactly what you need to do.

Then anything that gets done or made or produced, you have to ask why is it there? Is it in aid of that? Or is it just fat that could be cut off? So that’s really interesting, we’re gonna dig into the action mapping thing in a later episode.  I think because we’ve started combining it with the design thinking workshops, it works is a really nice framework for visualising a project early on.

Patti Bryant  25:50

So that’s amazing. I love that.

Brendan Cox  25:53

So what resources would you recommend to someone who wants to find out more about? Obviously, you’ve got the Kathy Moore video? What kind of resources would you recommend for someone that wants to find out more about elearning and soft skills training? Do you have favourite books?

Patti Bryant  26:12

Design for how people learn by Julie Dirksen is one of my favourites. She actually came out here to Denver for an ATD conference. And I went to one of her workshops. And I just think she’s brilliant, I really loved how she approaches the topic.

So Design For How People Learn is definitely high on my list Made to Stick by Chip Heath is actually a marketing book. That one is really interesting. When I was at AAA, I actually read that book. And then they had a Made to Stick conference out in San Francisco, and I went there and it was really incredible.

When we sat down at the table, the first thing they had us do before they started this seminar at all – was they had iPads for each person. The goal was for you to tell a story, using the iPad and recording yourself. Then at the end of the conference, after you had kind of learned the six sticky principles and all that kind of stuff, you did the same thing – you use the iPad, recorded yourself and told the same story.

You could compare the first recording to the second. The second recording was so much clearer and concrete and tangible. Much more articulate. So that to me was proof that Made to Stick definitely works for training, even though it’s in a marketing book. But that’s a great one.

Just generally in life, the book behind me is one of my favourites, it’s Should versus must, it’s up on my wall back there. Should versus must, is a really great book. It’s by Elle Luna. And that one is about if you’re feeling a little fearful in your life, and you’re like, ‘oh, this is what I should do, this is what people expect me to do.’

Instead, maybe listening to the must and the small still voice that is guiding you instead of what people expect for you to do. So I think for me, the transition from working in an organisation to freelance should versus must was so very important to me, because it helped me move forward in spite of fear.

Brendan Cox  28:35

Yeah, the Chip and Dan Heath one as well, I’ve read the power of moments by them, which is a fantastic book and covers that thing of lifting up positive moments and not focusing on the negative ones. How you can really change a lot of the relationships around you, with customers, clients, people, your friends, everybody by lifting those little moments that you actually have.

Opportunities to elevate everything from sending an invoice to a customer to when you go on holiday and all these kind of things. So I really like the way they write. I’ll definitely check that one out, as well. We’ll put links to everything in the end of the end of the podcast so we can we can swap some books.

So what kind of things are you up to at the moment? You’ve got groups set up in different places doing different things?

Patti Bryant  29:33

I do. Yeah. So I’m doing the freelancing. I have an online community that is called Propella. I’m a mentor there and we help people who are either transitioning into the l&d freelancing – maybe they’re working at an organisation and they’re looking to make the leap.

Maybe they’ve already made the leap. And we offer templates and tools. And we do live events every week, I host community hours myself every other week or so. So lots of different community aspects to that.

I also have another community, which is the online network of independent learning professionals.  Typically, people that are a little bit further along in their learning journey. You know, the Christie Tucker’s and Devlin Pecks are in that community. We go to each other when we have something kind of advanced that we need help with, but I do community hours with them as well. So lots of groups, lots of connecting with humans, which is my favourite.

Brendan Cox  30:43

Everyone’s sort of stuck behind the camera, on their laptops and things like that. What’s your sort of direction that you see everything going in with elearning? Especially from a soft skills and communications perspective? Do you have any kind of general insight?

Patti Bryant  31:09

You know, I think the incorporation of the human element is really important. So similar to the story that I gave you about with the project that I did recently, where we’re a little bit more social and interacting with coaches, I think that’s a big thing is finding ways that we can learn together, finding ways we can collaborate, instead of it being this asynchronous.

I’m going to log into an elearning course and take it by myself, and then never talk to anyone about what I learned or not collaborate with anyone. The shift away from that would be really helpful, because we can learn together, we grow together, and I am excited to see that kind of shift.

The other thing is curated content, that people just are creating themselves. It’s like what I talked before with the rise course, where we have videos from different coaches, they’re like zoom videos, they’re not some professional videography type of project. I think the nice thing about that is it allows everyone to participate.

Here at my apartment I put a bunch of noodles down the drain. It turns out you should never put noodles down the drain because what happens is it gurgles up and then it clogs your drains and all this stuff. I mean, what I needed in that moment, was not a professional polished video, what I did was I looked up on YouTube – how to get noodles out of your drain, and it was just like a crappy little video of some guy showing me and I was able to with that video – unclog my pipes.

I became a little tiny plumber in the process. I think sometimes we put so much emphasis on making things beautiful and perfect and over engineer it. We don’t accept other people to collaborate with. One of the things we worked on when I was at AAA – we did not have a how to roll a burrito video, which is just incredible. There was no trace of it.

Patti Bryant  33:24

We just let people on their iPhone and show if they think they roll a burrito the best. Let them record it and send it in andnd let’s pick the best one. Instead of like trying to make everything beautiful and perfect. Let’s get some involvement from the community, the people who are actually doing this all day, every day. I think that’s another thing that has less emphasis on things being shiny and perfect – and more on involving others.

Brendan Cox  33:59

Yeah, definitely. A lot of the just doing it, rather than focusing on being perfect is definitely a key thing. Are there any hobbies or interests you’ve had throughout your life all the way back to like childhood that seemed completely disconnected? But now with what you’re doing in  elearning, there seems to actually be a bit of a signpost for the interest and things that you like now?

Patti Bryant  34:26

When I was little, one of my favourite things to do was to write plays, and then have my friends and I act them out. I also did it with my granddad. I call him Papa because I’m from the south. But my Papa and I would create different types of programmes and also have commercials in the middle – like the stupidest little commercials you’ve seen.

We would script all of it out. Record on his big, huge old camera, and then watch it back. It was like one of our favourite things. Looking to today, a lot of what I do is write conversations that people have or I do a lot of also video scripts. So it’s very similar to what I did when I was little, which is pretty fascinating. I didn’t know what I was doing when I was little. now I know a little bit more.

Brendan Cox  35:30

Yeah, I find it really interesting in elearning, because everyone, over time is going to change and there’ll be more people there just like, ‘I wouldn’t be an elearning developer at school’. But the thing is there’s so many people at the moment that have come in from completely different backgrounds, it’s really interesting to not just hear their journeys, but actually what they did when they were younger, or what they did in previous jobs.

There’s little nuggets are almost like breadcrumbs that have led to being in elearning, because it’s such a big Venn diagram of skill sets, interests, kind of motivations. I was always about storytelling – so everything from Lego to my own film sets out of little cars and stuff.

I used to write a pop quiz for everybody, every week, make short movies with my friends, and then spend all my time basically drawing and animating things. And it was only when I actually got into this, that I realised it was all just about communicating and connecting with people. Part of that has really come into play with the analysis side of instructional design, and just getting to know clients. So you understand what they need almost better than they do.

Patti Bryant  36:50

Everything I do really comes from how does it make people feel. When I was younger, I really thought that I wanted to be the facilitator of new hire orientations, I’ve thought that maybe that is what I wanted to do because I love taking people who are in an uncomfortable situation and making them feel more comfortable, more at ease more confident.

So it’s twofold in what I do. It’s one part of it is with clients. For example, if I’m working with Andrea, at XYZ Corporation, my goal is to make Andrea look amazing. To make her feel like she has all the answers. I get clients all the time who are asking for things that are way out of my wheelhouse. You know, they’ll say, ‘you’ve done a really great job with this eLearning course, can you make like one of those whiteboard animated videos’.

I say, ‘No, but I will find you someone that will do that. And so don’t you worry about it’. I really try to take any type of stress that they have and just remove that. That’s another nice thing about having communities that I can reach out to people and say, ‘hey, who’s good at, you know, creating beyond videos, reach out to me, I’ve got someone to connect you with’. Win-win for everyone.

Then the other flip side of it is when I am writing something, I’m always like a storyboard, I’m always thinking about the learner and how they feel like, for example, if I’m if I am creating training on customer service principles, I’m thinking if they’ve had some interactions that didn’t go the way they wanted.

So maybe if they’re feeling inadequate, then my training has got to make them feel like they’re a little bit more confident. If I don’t feel like something that I’m creating increases confidence, I’m really not interested in creating it.

Brendan Cox  38:49

Yeah, I think it is making sure that you always have empathy for the audience. One of the things that design thinking is – you analyse it, and then you through the research and analysis bit, create as much empathy as humanly possible with the end user so you can design a good solution.

So do you listen to podcasts? Or do you have favourite types of media that you consume? Are you on tik-tok all the time?

Patti Bryant  39:27

I’m more of a book reader. I would say I definitely have gone through phases where I’ve listened to podcasts, I would say with podcasts, I like things that are a little bit more fun to listen to. I typically read to learn something. I don’t read fiction typically.

I’m currently reading a book called Get Together. It’s a book about community and what it means and why it’s helpful, and what the best communities do. The most effective communities, how they’re structured and things like that. So that’s the kind of stuff that I typically I spent a lot of time reading with – the intent to learn some skill.

Brendan Cox  40:20

Oh, yeah, I’m the same. I generally read self-help books and things like that. And if I’m digging into fiction, I generally go into movies and TV shows and things like that.

I used to sit in the sit in the library as a kid reading all the comic books, and just spread the food. I used to get into flow state, where my mom would come and have to come and get me because I totally got lost hours and hours later.

Brendan Cox  40:49

The bread crumbs thing I’m really interested in – how people get to where they are. And it’s interesting to see each stage of what you did before is led up to it. There’s always another level of it, I was rereading, Make Time, by I don’t know, forgot the author’s name, but I’ll link to in the thing.

He wrote a book on design sprints. His design thinking process to basically speed everything up. It’s the agile thing of rapid testing and prototyping, to make something quick, and they developed it at Google. And it was almost like their focus was on just to be as fast as possible for work.

Over the next sort of five to six years, he realized his kind of priorities are in the wrong place. So he stopped working for Google and the next book he wrote was called Make Time. It’s more about working less and more about giving yourself more free time to be with the people that you care about.

It’s really interesting to over time you can work hard, but work in itself isn’t the important bit. It’s the people around you and the connections you have to them. That’s the key. And it just takes time.

Patti Bryant  42:26

I think that it’s interesting because my mind set has really shifted very similarly to what you just mentioned. I can remember being at AAA, and I’d be there till midnight, or whatever, and people would leave at six, specifically, one of my friends that worked there, and he would leave at six.

I remember the feeling that I had towards him was a bit judgmental – like, you’re going to leave right now and we have all this stuff to do. I felt a heavy responsibility that we were creating training for 50,000 people, it had to be perfect. So it was a really interesting thing, because I remember later, closer to the end of me leaving AAA, I asked him, ‘what are you up to today?’ He was like, ‘I’m just laying in the hammock looking at my chickens.’

Brendan C

He’s got chickens at work?’

Patti Bryant  43:36

Well, he was at home. And, and I thought, ‘Man, like, maybe he’s onto something, maybe I’ve been missing out because I was at work.’ It was like, a weekend. He was at home and I was at work. I think I might have been trying to probe him to come in. So now I am not all about the work.

Brendan Cox  44:00

Yeah. I can remember the name of the book. I’m terrible with half remembering things. But it was the The Art of Saying No. About turning things down. Once you can, with learning not to have to do everything yourself, and being able to delegate things off to the people with the right skill set, you can focus on what you’re good at.

It’s like learning to say no is something that’s helped a lot with balance. I found it changed a lot when I did go freelance because I started saying yes to everything, because you’re worried about scarcity. And then over time, you realise there’s tonnes of work and you don’t have to have imposter syndrome. You can turn stuff down if you really want to and life gets a lot more rosy and you can get some chickens.

Patti Bryant  44:46

I agree with that 100%. I really try to anytime I get work offered to decide, do I really want to do this or If I accept it, am I accepting it based on fear? If I’m accepting it based on fear, fear that this is the very last project I’ll ever be offered, I decide to say no, in spite of the fear, and it has worked out brilliantly. So I definitely believe that for sure.

Brendan Cox  45:24

A lot of the decisions that we all make comes down to emotional reactions that are based on fear, generally, at the core of it is fear of being outcast. These stepping stones of, ‘oh, but if I don’t do this, they’ll think I’m not good at my job’. And if I’m not good at my job, they’ll maybe not promote me. And if they don’t promote me over a period of time, maybe they won’t think I’m worth anything, and then I’ll lose my job. And then I lose everything.

By the end, you’re just on your own. It’s really interesting, because it talks about visualising that fear, and putting it as, what is the actual steps that would have to happen? That kind of ultimate fear to be realised. When you write it all down, it seems so ridiculous and so unlikely.

So the probability that it happens now, after all of my life experience, and all that I know is that it gets smaller each time, to the point where there’s no reason to be scared of it, because it’s so unlikely to happen. You won’t worry about it. And then it’s almost like that little voice switches off and you stop being scared of that thing is super interesting. Where can we find you?

Patti Bryant  47:50

You can find me on There’s information on there about Propella. If somebody is interested in wanting to go freelance or just finding out a little bit more information about what type of events we have then we have information.

If you just need a little encouragement and inspiration that’s there. And then just a little about my background, and also just training information is on there.

Brendan Cox  48:25

Great. So is there anything else you’d like our listeners to know about? Or think it might be useful or interesting for them? Hmm,

Patti Bryant  48:32

I was having a conversation this morning with someone and they said, ‘well, how do I know what good training is? Or how do I know that I’m on the right path?’ We’re all working with different clients and we don’t know the standard. How do we know? I don’t know if this is something I’ve found recently, it’s something I’ve been thinking and it is that community is key.

If you have a community, then you can borrow from their wisdom from their support, even sometimes from their belief if you don’t believe in yourself. You say, ‘hey, I just need help. What do you think about this? Am I like wandering off into the desert? Or am I in the right direction?’

I think that community is key. And it’s really important, especially now in this pandemic, where people are a little bit more isolated than they were in the past. You have got to find a community and plug in whether it’s learning and development or like minded people that I can sit and chat with each week, getting involved with others.

Brendan Cox  50:05

Cool. That’s perfect. Thanks for taking the time to sit and chat with us and will no doubt be catching up with you again in future. I’m on the propeller group as well. So it’s been really nice actually getting your you and the other admins all help while we were setting up Blend.

It has been really useful. We will post the links to all of that in the show notes as well. If people are interested, they can join up with that community because I highly recommend it. So thanks very much for your time. I look forward to catching up with you again soon at some point.

Patti Bryant  50:37

Thank you so much, Brendan. Happy to be here and so glad that you’re part of the community as well.

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