Professional Development Day at Willamette University

Arty Trost was this year’s keynote speaker for the Professional Development Day at Willamette University. With Arty’s permission, I am posting the highlights from the mornings workshop on this blog.

Arty discussed her experiences of life from the edge as an ultralight aircraft pilot both literally and metaphorically, and the hurtles & risks she overcame to achieve some of her life-long goals. She is the only woman to have crossed the United States in an ultralight airplane.

One of the main points I pulled from the workshop is that baby steps often lead to more changes in life than major shifts. An attendee mentioned a philosophical analogy of games (e.g. board, card, or dice games), in which the winner succeeds through balancing the low risk of a series of small to moderate steps with the high risk and less frequent big steps. In other words, several small changes can be more effective than a single big leap of change. In the beginning, make very small steps such as imagining your goal, or just exploring the different options. The small steps may seem ridiculously small, but by conquering the small goals one at a time will put you on track for success.

She also discussed the different types of risks (financial, interpersonal/relationships, mental/intellectual, physical, psychological/emotional). Each type of risk will weigh differently for each individual. One person will view a physical challenge as more risky than a financial challenge, but another will view the same situation in completely the opposite way. It largely depends on our past experiences, personality, role models, attitudes towards life, etc.

Arty outlined five main principles for change:
1. Fly with people who stretch your wings. Surround yourself with those who will provide support, but encourage you to grow.
2. You are the pilot in command. Listen to the experts, but set your own limits.
3. Create big & challenging goals. Prepare before you take off and make risks acceptable. Focus on the goal, not the problem.
4. Be ready to change your flight plan. Fly where the bad weather isn’t, or land and wait it out.
5. Enjoy your flight.

To learn more about Arty, check her web site at


About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on June 8, 2009, in Philosophies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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