Funeral Industry News

I Cannot Direct the Wind But I Can Adjust my Sails

September 24, 2009

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

I Cannot Direct the Wind But I Can Adjust my Sails

I had my first ever experience with a ?Webinar? last week. I approached the day with feelings of trepidation and quasi negativity. The occasion was a government legislated need to upgrade my Embalmers License by completing ?CEU? requirements. Continuing education is important in the fast-paced world of changing technology we live in, but that?s not the point. I was used to the old way. A full-day-opportunity to reconnect with friends I have lost touch with … a reality of retirement. I could see no way that anything could replace the old model. Was I in for a surprise!

Normally, for one of these CEU days, I am up and ready to roll out the door by seven, chew on a leather croissant masquerading as the continental breakfast and be in my seat by nine. My butt is usually sore by ten and I am glad for the ?what passes for coffee? break at 10:30. The rest of the session reminds me that I was up at five thirty and I ?rest my eyes? until noon. Lunch is the high point. Laughs, stories, jokes about who gained the most weight since the last session two years ago, catching up on families, travels and future plans … all shared with three or four around the lunch table. The afternoon usually grinds away slowly until three … I doze until four. A half page of notes are scrawled and cryptic. I inadvertently leave them in the lounge. That has pretty well been my past twenty-year routine.

What could possibly keep me from missing all that? Webinar! My family were originally from Missouri, so I waited for the CEU Gods to ?show me?. Fast forward to the end of my day.

I learned fairly quickly that you cannot play solitaire and just listen. The presenters can tell when you minimize the screen and send you a polite ?reminder? that you risk being marked absent. You can?t just turn up the volume, lie in bed and listen from another room because ?survey questions? requiring a response within two minutes randomly flash on the screen. Miss one and you are marked absent. Wow! These Webinar guys really know what they are doing … but that?s about all that you CAN?T do.

What you CAN do is get up at 8:30, dress and shave during the first break with time to make a double- double-skim-milk latte, chew on a granola bar, fart and pick your nose … if you want. The morning flew. At the lunch break I was amazed. I had answered two brief but important phone calls had still had three pages of meaningful notes. The afternoon session really had me on my toes and I got right in to ?messaging? the presenters, asking questions and making points, something I rarely did in the ?classroom setting? for fear of dragging out the afternoon. By four o?clock I was comfortable, had enjoyed a quick hot tub during the afternoon break and had taken out steaks to barbecue for supper. Notes ? another five pages.

In summary, I really need to reassess my negative feelings about ?The Webinar?. I had completed my first and had actually enjoyed it. I hadn?t just shown up and survived six compulsory hours of stuff I have heard repeatedly over the past 50 years. I had learned something! I phoned my funeral-director children and regaled them with stories of my positive experience. Wow. Change had happened in a part of my life and I loved it.

As for the ?catching up? with old friends … I picked up the telephone and called a few … only to find out that most had attended the same Webinar. Two hated it and five loved it. I found out later that what the ?Nay Sayers? really wanted was a legitimate excuse to get out to the lounge without he ?little lady?. Yes, there are arguments to be made for the social aspect of the seminars of yesterday, but I for one am thankful for this change in my life. Will I repeat the experience? Yes. Will I recommend it to others? Yes. Will I sign up for Webinar?s that I don?t ?have to?. I already have.

I embrace these new wonders in my life and accept the fact that I cannot direct the wind but I can adjust my sails.