Have you ever been in a position where someone had something of value to teach you and you were interested, but the person was so focused on what they had to teach that they were clueless on your level of awareness in that area? Not such a good feeling, right?
Have you ever been in a position where you wanted to teach someone something and they didn’t seem to be enthusiastically receiving what you had to share?
Here’s the thing, teaching isn’t about yourself. If you’re a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a leader, all of the above or some kind of mutant cousin of any of these, bestowing your wisdom, the wisdom you gave your blood, sweat and tears to accrue, isn’t about you, it’s about them. The first order of transferring knowledge is to assume the receiver can, in fact understand it. In other words, you have to assume the other person’s intelligence to integrate your share.
You can’t teach your kid to walk or talk if you assume them incapable. Of course, they are capable, so capable, that you don’t give up on them until they do. You never think to yourself, I’m better than you because I can walk, or say Momma, or Poppa. You know, even if you don’t explicitly think about it, that you went through the same process yourself. You don’t think any less of them. Let me say that again, you don’t think any less of them.
The smarter, more apt, you believe your student to be, the more their capacity for absorption increases. It’s not about you. if you’re making it about you, you’re doing everyone, including you, a disservice. In your position of significance, you cut yourself off from the gifts of the human condition.
A few weeks ago, the awesome-pawsome Lama Farran asked me to be her guinea pig for a course she is taking. I’ve never been one to turn down an opportunity to learn so I jumped in no questions asked, except can it be longer than 4 weeks, this will be fun?
A few weeks in, I was invited to their online class where half a dozen to a dozen students would participate with the instructor in picking apart my brain during a class demonstration (nope, I didn’t know this was part of the deal or I would have thought twice). Admittedly, I was minutely apprehensive, but I knew I would learn something and that this was for the greater good of all involved so why not. Someone’s gotta be the guinea pig. It was an absolute slam dunk awesome 2 hours complete with tears of joy at the end in reverence for all the insights that had been shared, revealed, discovered.
Here’s what made this so successful, there was an attitude of openness and respect from all implicated at the root of it all, and,the instructor showed respect for my ability to understand and contribute to what SHE was teaching and demonstrating. It resulted in great rapport between her and I, increased willingness and openness on my part, and multi-facteted learning for all involved. EVERYONE was heartfelt in their expression of gratitude at the end of the evening.
It’s easy to get lost in the significance of knowledge. If you want to lose yourself, lose yourself in the solid significance of moving people’s hearts and lifting them up by seeing and magnifying their gifts. Now that’s significance of the highest priority.