cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Jenny Kaczorowski

Is it a natural consequence, following an intense and engaging experience, to feel a bit of a “drop off”?

I spent the weekend at the ConnectEd Conference in Calgary, and it was a very exciting but also a bit taxing. I helped facilitate a couple sessions and spoke briefly at the reception, which required some focused preparation, I attended a number of great sessions and I spent some time connecting with colleagues from my school. The learning was constant and considerable, and the planning (and dreaming) my co-workers and I did had my head spinning.

When I returned to work, I felt a bit off. I was still vibrating from all of the learning, and while I shared some of the highlights with some members of our staff, it seemed like I couldn’t satisfy my desire to connect and learn the same way I had for the three days at the conference.  When I went home I went on Twitter, connected with a few people, and wrote a blog post, but it still didn’t seem enough.

Today when I went to work, I was spent the entire morning working independently, in my office with the door closed. I was starting to tackle some of the timetabling for next year and the task required a quiet environment and a great deal of focus. In the afternoon, I popped on Twitter a couple times, had a great meeting with a couple people from my division, and an intriguing meeting of our school’s Design Team after school, but it wasn’t enough. I even had a colleague text me this evening to check and see if I was ok, which meant my struggles were clearly visible to others.

I went for a drive tonight to clear my head. I know that part of it is a number of important projects I need to take care of before the end of school, and I am sure that is common to many people this time of year. The issue I kept coming back to though is the struggle of trying to recapture that high of being engaged, excited, and actively participating in learning. Like some kind of learning junkie, I have been looking for my fix. I guess that is the only downside of being at such a great conference, leaving all of that learning and returning to the routines of daily work.

What do you do when you return from a conference? Do you ever feel like the firehose has dwindled to just a drip, and do you find returning a little difficult? Has anyone else ever felt the way I do? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what life is like for you after a great conference or learning experience.     

7 thoughts on “Struggling

  1. Jesse, I feel the same way! Completely, utterly exhausted and unable to communicate the impact that the conference had on me. Take some time for yourself. You will get that energy back, but just know you are not alone in feeling the letdown. Thanks for the inspiration…Innovation Day will be happening at my school next Friday thanks to you! 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Michelle. Yeah I am not too worried about it, but I was a little puzzled by the feeling and wondered if anyone else felt the same way. Probably going to spend tomorrow evening with my wife and daughter, that will recharge me for sure.

      Keep me posted on your Innovation Day!

    • I’ve found that intense workshops, especially in the presence of passionate people, is just plain overwhelming. Whether teaching practices, dance, or martial arts, if you surround yourself with people that LOVE what they and you do, you are bound to feel let down returning to your normal. I find that setting targets for small mastery steps or focus targets keeps you from having your enthusiasm over-inflated and popped like a balloon. And follow up w positive, supportive people to help make the change you want to complete. Hope I made sense,

      • Darren,

        Thanks so much, that is very interesting that you prepare yourself before and during the experience to ensure you don’t become over stimulated. Clearly you have a strong handle on your own emotional investment and I need to try and emulate these practices myself.

        Thanks so much for taking the time to share.


  2. Jesse,

    Being a “learning junkie” myself, I can strongly relate to the thoughts and feelings you’ve expressed. The learning that happens on Twitter and at great conferences is often, more substantial than some of the learning that can happen in our work environment, which can make that transition a bit difficult. I have found that reflection works as does continuing to share those great ideas with your colleagues and others. It can affect change, and may make the struggle that so many of us feel a bit more bearable….


  3. Jesse,

    Having gone through this processes, one thing to remember is that life outside the conference or learning environment is not the same because for most of us, it isn’t a reality. It’s like going on vacation to somewhere else – pick a destination. Very few people get to live the life of constant vacationer. Now, some people get to consistently live the euphoria of conferencing but the great many have to return to what is their “real world” and other, more mundane, expectations/tasks. The let down can be akin to that one may feel after running a marathon or something akin. The key is to reflect on the experience, begin to identify specific things that you want to continue to pursue from your meeting and then, refocus yourself on what it is you do – your job, family, friends, activities, ……. connect with your PLN to continue the discussions and the learning.

    • Thanks so much for your insight, I have been identifying specific areas I want to focus on and I have been connecting with my PLN and both have been helpful.

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