Become an IDOL 81: Find Your Instructional Design Niche with Sarah Cannistra

Jun 03, 2023

Guest: Sarah Cannistra

In this episode, I'll be chatting with Sarah Cannistra who has an L&D Career, Executive and Business coach, and the founder of The Overnight Trainer, a coaching practice that helps purpose-driven people find, land, create, grow, and LOVE the L&D career of their dreams, so that they can live a life of fulfillment, inspiration, and freedom. Sarah utilizes her past experience as a modern learning leader and hiring manager to coach and consult her clients to ultimate career success. This is one you don't want to miss! Tune in to hear more now. 

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Enjoy the Episode Transcript below:   

Robin Sargent I have here with me today Sarah Cannistra and she is the overnight trainer. You've probably seen her on LinkedIn. And if not, Sarah, will you please do a better job of introducing yourself?

Sarah Cannistra  Of course. So I'm so happy to be here. Happy for us to get to chat. My name is Sarah Cannistra. I am the overnight trainer and I'm an l&d career executive and business coach. So I help people throughout the full lifecycle of their l&d careers from getting in all the way to high level l&d roles and starting their own businesses too. So really a full circle holistic, look at an l&d career, I'm there to help people do that. It's beautiful.

Robin Sargent  And so I always like to start with like, how did you become an idol? what's your what's your background story?

Sarah Cannistra  Yeah. So it's interesting is I never knew that learning and development could be a career that wasn't something I think most people don't grow up and say, When I grow up, I want to be a trainer, right? And so for me, it's interesting. When I look back, I had so many experiences in my career early on, I dropped out of college, when I was 20 years old, I just loved to work. For me, I just saw more value and working, especially for me, I was around that time of like the 08 economic crisis when I dropped out of college, and I was seeing all my friends who were graduating who were not able to get jobs. And here I was like working working full time at a real estate company. And I loved it. And I didn't realize until later how much my onboarding experience in that company really led me to have such a great experience there. And so all of those things I had to pick up on and every time I would move to a new role, I would just get such great training, and again, didn't realize it was someone's job, but someone could do that. And eventually, you know, get moving up into higher level sales roles. And I ended up becoming a sales manager. And a big part of my job as a manager of people, especially in the sales world was training people. So I was making what I didn't know was called then I was making job aids I was making, I was doing recordings, you know, screen grabs, I was making manuals and checklists, and I was hosting weekly meetings where everyone was facilitating. And so again, all of these things were constant themes in my entire life. And I just never knew it could be a full time job. So one day I was sitting, I worked for a real estate company based out of DC. And we had a whole new like training program that they were rolling out. And I was selected to be part of a pilot was for a leadership series. It was a two day long leadership seminar training, which I feel like doesn't exist anymore, you know, in this remote post pandemic world, but I was sitting there in this training, and I was watching the trainer and the facilitator. And I just had like this aha moment of like, oh, my gosh, this is this is this person's full time job, like their full time job is to talk to people and to train people on on how to be better leaders and how to be better, how to have better performance in their organization. So at the end, I like mustered up all the courage that I had inside me, and I said, How do I do this? Like, I don't even know what this is that you all are doing here? But how do I do it? Like I want to do it. And they said, Do you know this particular software? And I said yes. I said great. Do you want to be the software trainer? And I said yes. They said great. We'll start tomorrow. And so that's why my company is called the overnight trainer because I literally became a trainer overnight. But the reality is I didn't become an overnight I have been doing it for so long. I just didn't know that I was already doing it. So I became a software trainer kind of on the side of my full time job. So I still had my full time job as a sales manager. I was a software trainer on the side. I was doing that a couple times a week. And then when a corporate training position came available, they came to me and they said, Hey, we have this position available and I became a full time corporate trainer. And then within two years was leading the department as the first head of corporate training. And from there really went on to leading l&d for other real estate organizations, retail companies, consulting firms. And then about two little over two years ago, I left my full time job leading l&d and another real estate company to start the overnight trainer, I really wanted to help people who had a more non traditional path get into the learning and development space. There's so much to be had inside of our industry. And so that's kind of my my origin story that got me to where we are today.

Robin Sargent  I love it. And so I think that we talked before this and we said, one of the things that you specialize in Sarah's talking to people about finding their niche and they're home in the learning and development and spacing. And so really that's just about talking about what is outside of being an instructional designer in learning and development. So You want to start us down that path?

Sarah Cannistra Yeah. And not to say that instructional design isn't great, right. So like the world needs instructional designer. So I always want to preface it with that as well. But there's so many more roles and, and titles out there beyond instructional designer. And I think a lot of people, when they decide, especially now there's a huge, and I'm sure you've seen it too over like, the last couple of years, people really wanted to transition into l&d versus like, like happenstance falling into it and needing to be good at it. Right. So I know like, for me, I saw that shift of there were a lot of accidental trainers. Now there's a lot of intentional trainers. And so it's remembering that there's so many opportunities out there, inclusive of instructional design, but also outside of instructional design.

I used to say you sometimes you need to Marie Kondo your skills and leave it behind and wish it well, but now she's given up on her whole model. So you know, now I know. Yeah, she Exactly. She said, now that she has three kids, she can't keep anything clean. So I need to find a new analogy. But, you know, sometimes we need to leave no thank our skills for what they've done for us in the past, but you don't have to bring them with us. So what are those transferable skills that you have that you want to use? What are your interests? Right? Like, what do you what are you actually interested in in doing and spending your time doing? No, I really, truly believe that your job should give you energy, not all day, every day, right? We all have to do things that we don't want to do sometimes or don't love to do or that might drain us. But when we look at the balance of energy, your job should fuel you and give you energy. And so I help clients figure out like, how do we tap into your interests, so that way you feel like you're being lit up by your role, and you're doing something that you actually want to do. And then the big piece, the third piece of that, too, is values. So what values do you have? What are you what's your core ethos? And what are you looking to have amplified by the next company next role that you're in. So when we look at what the intersection is between your, your skills, your interest and your values, the output of that is your l&d niche. And really what that looks like, more formulaic ly more formulaic is being able to articulate what it is you want to do, like so I want to, you know, develop high level onboarding programs or I want to develop, you know, next generation leadership programming, right? Like, what is it you want to do? How you want to do it? What are those top three to five skills that you want to utilize skills interests, that you want to utilize to make that a reality? And then for Who do you want to do it for and when I mean by for who you want to do it for, it's what type of company values do you want to share in your next company, so a company that values creativity, innovation, and autonomy, or a company that values, innovation, whatever that may be for you. So those three components are really, really important. And what we start to do then is, rather than picking a specific title, I think that's where most people go wrong. In their career journeys, whether it's entering in l&d for the first time or growing, is we're so conditioned to like, pick a title and go with it. Whereas the reality is, you probably know like, you know, this, you could look at three different instructional design job descriptions, they all say instructional designer at the top, but they're all asking for three different things. And so rather than trying to fit yourself into every single box that says, instructional designer, or whatever it may be, how do we start to create your own box and say, Hey, here's all these different roles that fit inside of my box. And that's really where I start to see people open up their mindset around what is available to them. But it's beyond just one specific title, that it could be 50 titles that end up being the right role for you, because the job description is the right role for you. You know, it's kind of almost erasing the title because there really there's no, there's we have no governing laws that say an instructional designer must do this, a learning experience designer must do this, a learning program manager must do this. So I see clients yesterday, I had someone who was applying for a coordinator role. And typically we think of like what a coordinator would be, but this role was essentially a program manager role. They were calling it a coordinator. So again, if she wasn't looking for the specifics in the job description, she would have missed out on that role. And the role paid $150,000 a year. So like, it's not even like it was an entry level role that they just happened to call it that. So finding your niche allows you to expand the options that are available to you while still remaining true to yourself and not throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Robin Sargent  So what are some of these other titles that we can put out in front of people? I mean, oh my gosh, list and the list goes on.

Sarah Cannistra I actually have if you went to my website, they weren't trader.com I actually have a guide. That's 50 Plus, it's actually 60 I don't know why I called 50 Plus, but it's 50 plus l&d roles and the top skills needed to land them because there's so many different roles. And I think when we think about not even just the roles, but also like all the fields inside of l&d, right, so there's lnd as a whole, there's instructional designs, right? So instructional designer, learning experience designer, you know, everything that kind of falls into elearning developer, right, everything that falls into that category, do you also have customer education, right. So that creates its own customer, education specialist, onboarding specialists, then you have program managers, I have clients who are onboarding program managers, Leadership and Development Program Managers, I have clients who are learning and organizational development specialists, right. So it's like, you literally the possibilities are endless. So to kind of give you a bigger picture, as of I just spoke at a conference a couple of weeks ago, and I pulled these numbers right beforehand, as of like, end of February, there's 1.4 million open, l&d and l&d adjacent roles just in the United States. So you have to imagine that's hundreds of like, it's, it's 1000s of different titles that exist in there, right. And that's up 300,000. From October, I pull those numbers quarterly. And so it's really interesting to see. And there's some titles where I've never thought of before I have a client, she has the weirdest title, I can't even remember it. But really what she does is like employee engagement, that's really what she does. But her title is like, engineering enablement, manager, five, dash four to, like, you know, if she was just looking for instructional design roles, she never would have found that right. So like, you know, it's really getting clear on what your niche is, and just being open to whatever titles come your way. Even if you're like, This is a weird title, read the job description. The job description may be exactly what you're looking for, like, who cares what the title, what you're being called?

Robin Sargent  So say somebody goes through this process, Sarah, and they said, Okay, I've aligned, what I want to do my skills and my values. If I'm not searching for title, am I searching for keywords?

Sarah Cannistra  Yeah, yeah. So you're utilizing a keyword search? So it's thinking about, and I like to think about it in different ways that you can utilize this keyword search. So what I really helped my clients do was figure out like, what are those aligned skills, I think about it, like nutrition facts, you know, like on the back of a label, how when you look at the nutrition facts, and like the ingredients in there, like it always starts with the ingredient that has the most amount inside of that package or inside of that product. And so I like to think about that, too, in terms of what's going to light you up the most, like, what do you want the most in your, like mid career ingredients. And a lot of that has to do with the skills and the strengths that you have that you want to utilize. So for example, I might have a client that says for them, what's most important is program design, facilitation, coaching, let's say eLearning Development, right? So they made those four things like they want to find a role that includes those four things. That's what I encourage people to search for, rather than titles, search for those and your IOT use LinkedIn, I think it's the most robust kind of job search engine, but search for skills instead of for title, it'll take some time for the algorithm to catch up to what you're doing. But it's really interesting for you to see what starts up that aligns with those key words, versus just what pops up with the titles that show up for you. And a whole new world will open up in that case. And I encourage people to do that with values. So start to understand, you know, what are the types of companies that align with your values. So if you have three, four or five core values, search for those inside of your keyword search to and start to see oh, hey, here's this company that's like super, super aligned with my values, let me make sure I'm following them or seeing what's happening there, or networking with people at that company just to learn more about it. So that way, if a role comes available for me, there, I already have that connection. And I know this is a company that will amplify the values that I already bring to the table.

Robin Sargent  We do something similar to and what's also interesting about this formula that I talked about Sarah, is that not only can you work backwards now from okay, you know what your skills are and what you want to focus on in these key words. But now you can also demonstrate to the prospective employer that you have these very specific skills and as validates multiple different ways that you can demonstrate that skills, whether it's through your portfolio, whether it's through specific certificates that you get, or on and on, right just to demonstrate those skills. And also even that more and more recruiters and applicant tracking systems are directly syncing to the back of skilled platforms like the digital badges and credentials, they're actually searching for people who have evidence of specific skills and so even just working backwards and that way.

Sarah Cannistra  I think it's it's kind of like a classic learning principle, right? Like starting with the end in mind. Like okay, what's gonna make me happy? What skills am I going to be utilizing in my next role and I have planned Don't think even further ahead, like, what's the legacy you want to leave behind? And then how do we Yeah, backwards engineer into what that looks like as your next step to? And then to your point, how do we now demonstrate that and I think through your resume, if you need a portfolio, or there's so many through your LinkedIn, your personal brand, through the connections that you have with people are so many different ways to be able to demonstrate that. But if you don't know what you're trying to demonstrate, that's where that's where people kind of go off the rails, and they're applying to hundreds and hundreds of roles, but it's like, those can't be all aligned with you. And you can't possibly demonstrate all of those things and hundreds and hundreds of roles. So but my clients, what we focus on is, its quality over quantity, always the quality of the role isn't aligned with what your l&d niche is. And what I find is, when we apply to more aligned roles, you see a lot more callbacks and interviews than you do when you're just spraying and praying and, you know, sending your resume everywhere and hoping, praying, right that that someone will get back to you eventually, it's a much more aligned approach when you start with what that what is that end in mind for you and work your way backwards.

Robin Sargent  And also just knowing who you are and what you want. And like, just like I liked that word that you said, which is alignment. When you find the position that's in alignment with what it is that you want in your niche. You also have more grit and follow through. So for example, Gretchen Johansen, she's one of my idol mentors. She landed a job at Zillow. But what was interesting about that journey for her was that she had been an instructional designer, a couple other companies. But it was by that time that she really like hone down what she wanted. And when she saw this job come up at Zillow, she knew that it was for her. And so when she first submitted her application, it was rejected by that applicant tracking system. And it was because she knew that she was the perfect person for that role. She reached directly out to them and center them were like, no, look, your applicant tracking system is wrong. Yeah, the person for you. And I look at the job, and they're like, You are the right person. And so I just like to add that it's like that's another part of finding your niche is that you become more aggressive about like, No, this. No, you really do want me?

Sarah Cannistra  Yeah, you're so much more confident, right? Like, I always say, like, clarity breeds confidence. Like a lot of times when we're lacking confidence. Because we're unclear, we're unsure, we're uncertain, right? And so like that, that starts to eat away at our confidence and impostor syndrome comes up and all of those things, but when you are super clear on what value you bring to the table, the skills that you have, like the interest that you've been working towards, right, like, nothing can stop you, like even a reduction can't stop you. Because you have now have that I like to call it your subconscious confidence, like you because you have that clarity. It just oozes out from you, too. So I think it's a great example of like, someone who knew what they wanted had that clarity. And that clarity, gave them confidence to say, Nope, I know, I know, I'm the right person for that job. Like I have true clarity. And I'm seeing a one for one here. I've had that happen to clients to where like, they didn't get selected, but they knew someone who worked there and their their resume got pushed through the back end and like, oh, wait, yeah, how did we reject you? How did that happen? And sometimes it is an applicant tracking system. And a lot of times it's just a human recruiter who may not just they may not be as familiar with the role, so they may not quite know. Right? So I think having that grit comes from that clarity and that confidence for sure.

Robin Sargent  Yeah. And confidence is just so important. Even when you show up to the interview, and I hear you about that it requires clarity, it also requires action, right? If you've never done the thing that you are applying for, then you're not going to have confidence. So I think it's I think it's a combo, right? It's, you have to be clear about what you want. And you have to have taken the actions to know that you can do the job.

Sarah Cannistra  Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think it's true, it's getting, I think where most people get tripped up to is they think they have to demonstrate everything for a new setting. Or really, the reality is we we don't even are talking about this before we hit record but ln D is that not that there's not skills you need to learn once you're already in it or to get in it. But l&d is a field of transferable skills. So there are so many, and that's why I work with people who are in YouTube, higher education K through 12. I have people who are in sales and marketing your customer success, right who say, Hey, I have a lot of these skills already. How do I translate them in? So I think, of course, being able to demonstrate them as important, but you don't have to demonstrate them and have them all in a corporate environment necessarily. But you do have to know how those skills translate. I think that's where people get tripped up. Sometimes they think, Oh, well now I have to learn all of these skills. Again, in a corporate environment. That's not always true. Some of them you do, right. Some of them don't aren't a one for one translation that there's going to be have different ways of doing things. But for a lot of skills, the skill is the skill where you apply it is agnostic. So I think that's a big piece to have like that confidence is being able to articulate how they've utilized that skill, what they've done and the impact that it's had in the past too. I think that's a big, big piece are people too?

Robin Sargent  Yeah. I mean, just we've been talking about examples of people who transfer in and the transferable skills and even just talking, I think we even mentioned that the skills that you learn as an instructional designer transfer outside l&d, and we've seen that ourselves, we were talking about it, like, for example, there has been people that came through my academy, and they learn the skills of an instructional designer, but they really liked the organization. And they like the tech and the tools. And so they went and started a career as a virtual assistant. And so those skills just open up so many different doors, I'm sure you've seen.

Sarah Cannistra  Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, even to you're talking about this, too, like I even see it, you know, I do, I do business coaching people who are looking to leave l&d and start their own l&d business, whether it's coaching or consulting or freelancing. And that's a really cool thing to to see the skills that we learn as, as learning and development professionals, how that translates to being business owners too, right? And like creating content and being able to market things and being able to run gap analysis and needs analysis of your own business, being able to understand what is it what is it my clients actually need? And how do I create solutions for that? So I see so many transferable skills between being in l&d at any part of l&d and entrepreneurship to but to your point, of course, like there are so I've had clients who have decided that they wanted to take their l&d skills and go be in marketing, or go be in customer success or go be in sales, and be you know, sales, development and things like that. So it's so I think the possibilities are infinite, in all honesty of like, what you can do when you have core learning and development skills.

Robin Sargent  I think that another thing, just kind of what we've been talking about kind of brought up my first experience, as an instructional designer, I didn't figure out a niche, I was just like, get me out of higher education. Yeah. And let me just play with the toys that they that they give you access to incorporate. But I think there's something to be said about the niche that you find at the beginning might not be the niche that you stay in over time. Because I know it's certainly changed for me because like my first job, it was an instructional designer and a software company. And so all I did was updating elearning for a software that was continuously being updated. And after a couple of years of that I was just frankly, I was bored. Yeah. Yeah.

Sarah Cannistra  Yeah, I think absolutely. You're 100% Correct. So your niche, I would say it's living and breathing, right? It's evolving. Because as you start to gain more information, more self awareness, you step into a new role, you will always learn what I like it, what I don't like what I like, what I don't like it, you're constantly reprogramming. And so I always, especially with my clients in the beginning, their niche is a very iterative process. And so as they have networking conversations, they come back to it as they go on interviews, and they're like, Oh, I do not want to do that job. Right, they come back to it, as they get offers. Sometimes they're like, Oh, that's not really aligned with what I want to do, they come back to it. So it's a very iterative process. But once you're in a role, I think it's really important to kind of check in and, and do a gut check every like three to six months, somewhere in between there to start to ask yourself, Okay, like, what are the skills that I'm utilizing that I want to continue to use? What am I utilizing that I'm like, oh, like, I know, for me personally, for many, many years, I was a facilitator. That's what I did and what I did best, and I was really, really good at it. But I got burned out by it. So when I started to think about what my next move is going to be, I knew I wanted to move into a role where I would be doing less facilitation, even though I knew I was really good at it. And everyone knew me for being a great facilitator. And so I think it's important to check in with yourself because it's really easy to get caught in the trap of like I I've been really good at updating elearning software elearning courses, right? I'm good at it, everyone knows me for it. And so you kind of can easily fall in that trap of keep doing it. So I think every three to six months checking in what skills am I utilizing that are making me you know, giving me energy? What skills am I utilizing that are sucking my energy out? What new interests do I have because of course, every time you start a new role, you're exposed to more things, more people, more projects, so your interests are going to change and then your values our values change to as we grow as we mature. As we learn more as we see my values that I had in my first company, were very different the values I had in the last company I was in because I grew up my values changed as a person I learned more. And so those things shift and change as you shift and change. It's important to always go back and I think every three to six months. It Somewhere in there, check in see what's going on and then start to prepare yourself for now what does it look like to move into my next niche, you don't have to wait until you're burnt out bored, annoyed, whatever it is, most people do that, right? They'll they'll wait until it gets to not too late. But until they're at a breaking point, whereas How amazing would that be, if six months into a new role, you're really happy, you're fulfilled in it. And you know that in your next role, you'd like to focus more on X, Y, and Z. Like, it gives you so much more of a runway to develop yourself and have networking conversations and to figure out how you're going to market yourself. And it's so much less pressure. And we do that. So I spoke at a conference a couple of weeks ago, on finding your niche. And I had someone come up to me afterwards and was like, I didn't come to your session, because I'm happy in my job. But I regret not coming because everyone said that like now they just have clarity on like their overall career trajectory in their life. And it was so poignant to me, because it's like, yeah, most people wait until they're unhappy or bored or burnt out to say, what's next for me. But how magical is it if we're happy? And we say, what's next for me?

Robin Sargent  Yeah, I really like how you phrase it, because I do the same thing, Sara, where you talk about what it is that lights you up? And what gives you energy? Because there's one thing where there's a time management, and there's energy management. And it's really is like, yeah, we have a certain amount of time. But like, do you have enough energy in that time that you're spending and we know from studies that we really only have four hours of full energy to focus on the real hard, thoughtful work that we have to do. And so you're only going to get the most out of those four hours of high energy if you're doing something that lights you up and brings you energy. And so yeah, so tracking your energy levels, when you're doing certain tasks.

Sarah Cannistra  Yeah, I always I actually encourage my clients to do this, especially when it comes to applying to jobs of like, weighing your level of energy versus enthusiasm, right? I think the same can be said, when it comes to your job write general, like, what's the amount of energy I have to put into this compared to my level of enthusiasm, because if the energy is constantly out, pacing and exceeding the enthusiasm you have for it, well, you're gonna burn out. You are going to burn out quickly, right? Because now you're just, you don't have four hours of energy anymore. Now you have two, right, because you're doing things that are just like sucking it out at a rapid pace. But if we can match what you're enthusiastic for, or if it's even beyond, right, then you start to have this like energy reserve, which is really, really nice to have. So maybe, maybe you get five hours, maybe you get six hours. And we've all been there before in some way, shape, or form, whether it's work or not where we've gotten lost in something, right. And all of a sudden, we're like, oh my gosh, I've been sitting here for eight hours, I had no idea but like, it's because you were consciously or subconsciously enthusiastic or excited about it, and it was energizing you and it was pushing you to go forward. I know for me sometimes, like, even last night, I was working on something for a new membership that I'm doing. My husband to be said it's 10 o'clock. I was like at night. Like, what happened to like, oh my gosh, like we were just like watching basketball and like, I swear we just turned the TV on. And it was like 6pm I was just so in that in that zone is because I was really excited about what I was doing. And the same can be said for job searching for career transitioning for finding a role and being in your role and finding satisfaction in your role. Satisfaction really comes down to energy management. I love how you put that and I think it's really important to reflect on that at the end of each day. Like what did I put my energy towards today? And like, did it drain me or did it energize me? And that's a helpful way that in that three, six month timeframe go back to that like actually write it down? My friend Jess Amelie, I love her. She is an incredible l&d practitioner. But she has a journal that she keeps next to her every day called tilt things I learned today. And so like she'll she'll journal just really quickly, high level what she learned what took her energy, you know what, like, and being able to now go back to that really quickly and say, Oh, hey, for the last three months, I've been doing this every day and like it's killing me, or like I'm doing this every day and I'm like been so excited about it. Now, how do I do more or less of that going forward? So that energy management piece is so important, but we also have to be reflective enough to think about how am I managing my energy? I think that's the missing piece while people are like, Oh, I'm drained. And like they move on. They just are drained the next day, the day after that, but after that, but how often do we pause and say like what's draining me? What could not drain me? So I think that's the reflection piece is a really important part.

Robin Sargent  I liked how we talked about writing things down. So if we were to give somebody something that they could do right now Sarah, would it be for them to make a list of all of their skills? Let's walk them through it.

Sarah Cannistra  Like you just said it that's exactly what I was gonna say same brain. Yeah, get really, really clear what here's what I would say to do. You make a list of all the skills that you've ever utilized like, don't even like don't think about it brain dump all the skills that you've ever utilized. And from there, then go through and really ask yourself, like, do I want to utilize this in my next role? Like, is this something I actually I'm just good at it and it's making the list? Or do I actually want to utilize that, and everything that's just making the list to make the list, delete it, like say, Goodbye, thank you for what it did for you and your career thus far, wish it wish it best, maybe you come back to it right for me, years later, I came back to facilitation. I love facilitating now for my clients and things like that, right. So it can come back, it doesn't mean you're deleting it from your brain, like it's not like an operating system or your your computer crashed. So make that list, get rid of the skills that just aren't in alignment with you right now that aren't getting us that big picture. So I think it's a really helpful place to start for you to understand. And then you can start to think about how do I want to utilize these skills in my next role? And then with that, you can start to see, is there an opportunity for me to upskill so in some skills, you may see, Oh, I like I've been doing this and now people I've been networking with, we're speaking the same language here. But there may be some skills that you have to learn more about, maybe it's a piece of technology, or it's a certain framework or something, right. So that case might need to learn more. But I would say the big thing that someone else someone could do right now is to also really think about the future. And I like to do a visualization exercise with all of my clients, where we really close our eyes and think about at the end of our career, right, our graph at our at our retirement party where all your loved ones are surrounding you and all your co workers who you like, you know, have come to show up and thinking about, I walk into this exercise where like you're you're in this room of love, right? People who just love and adore you and who you've had so much impact on in your learning and development career. As each one stands up, what are they saying about you? Right? What impact did you have on them or their organization or their learners, and really think about the impact that you want to have a legacy you want to leave behind, and then come back into the present, look at those skills and say, Okay, now what I want to do next, to get me closer to that legacy, I think that's a really important piece is we don't have to live out the legacy right now. We all have many, many, many years ahead of us inside of our careers to leave a legacy. But what do we want to do next? Like what what piece can I do next, to really live out that legacy. And I think that's where those skills come in understanding the interest that you have to getting clear on your own personal values. I always say your skills are gonna get you in the door, but your values are gonna get you the job. Right. It's like when when, you know, as hiring managers, when you have that gut feeling, it's not really a gut feeling. The gut feeling is the value alignment, this person we have, our values will amplify each other, they're a value add to our organization. So I think when you can nail those three things, it makes your career transition so much easier. That's something you can start to do today and reflect on today.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, oh my gosh, this is so good. So in closing, Sarah, since I mean, that's what you guys need to go do right now. Still write down your skills and start thinking about your, your future retirement party? What is your best and final piece of advice for those who want to become an idol?

Sarah Cannistra  Yeah, get clear on what it is you actually want to do and how you want to do it and for who you want to do it for. I think when you can articulate that the learning development world becomes your oyster, the opportunities are endless for you in the best way possible. So reflect do the inner work. I always say finding a new career is 90% mindset 10% strategy. The strategy is actually the easy part. But working through your own mindset, getting clear on what you want. Getting that clarity, building that confidence.  That's the biggest part of it. So when we can get clear when we know we can articulate it, and we have the confidence to back it up. becomes much easier.

Robin Sargent  Couldn't have said better. Thank you so much, Sarah, for coming and joining me this was an absolute pleasure. I really appreciate you.

Sarah Cannistra  Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. It's so much fun.

Robin Sargent  Thank you so much for listening. You can find the show notes for this episode at idolcourses.com. If you liked this podcast and you want to become an instructional designer, and online learning developer, join me in the Idol courses Academy, where you'll learn to build all the assets you need to land your first instructional design job, early access to this podcast tutorials for how to use the elearning authoring tools, templates for everything course building and paid instructional design experience opportunities, go to idolcourses.com forward slash Academy and enroll or get on the waitlist. Now get out there and build transcendent courses.

Thank you so much for reading the show notes for this episode.  If you enjoyed this episode, you may like:

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IDOL Success Story with Barbara Taylor

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