I have known many people in the teaching profession who have dedicated
their daily lives to teaching children. I often hear how gratifying and rewarding it is to them as individuals. There is also a humbling pride I have witnessed in many school teachers as they watch “their” children grow throughout the school year.
I remember the first time I was asked at school in the fourth grade
what I wanted to be when I grew up. Possibly out of panic or the unknown,
I said I wanted to be a teacher. Being a school teacher wasn’t in my future.
I have found I don’t have the necessary patience. I have observed teachers—including my wife, who is a teacher by profession—who have shown
more patience then I could ever dream of.
I may not have met my fourth-grade goal of becoming a teacher, but
I have found myself teaching throughout my professional years. I have
gone from teaching cold hard facts, to teaching technical aspects of a
given job, to investing my time in teaching people how to increase their
confidence and improve themselves. I have presented to groups of people,
mentored one-on-one, and managed teams of all sizes. I have taught new
hires, new managers, tenured employees, and tenured managers over the
years. I guess I too have witnessed firsthand the humbling pride of watching others grow.
Watching people learn a new business and better themselves is
powerful. However, this feeling of pride is overpowered by the amount
of learning I find myself doing whenever I am in teaching mode. I have
begun to pick up on the common teachings of patience and humility
myself. There are so many things to learn as a teacher of others. I have
learned that I could be a better listener and ensure that there are two-way
discussions, even in a classroom setting. I have room to improve my
style, my delivery, and my preparation. I have learned that I do not know
everything, and sharing what I do know is intoxicating. I have learned
that as a teaching mentor, I can make a difference one person at a time.
I constantly learn from attendees in the classroom setting. I see an
eagerness to learn and a thirst to share ideas. I have learned that there
is no single best way to do something and that people learn at different
speeds. I have learned through the years that people learn in different
ways: some like books, some learn visually, and different generations
learn differently. I have learned that I need to vary my approach to be
more flexible and plan for the unexpected.
One of my biggest lessons is the recognition that I had things to
teach. I already knew I had business skills to teach that increased people’s
technical acumen. However, I found that I had a story to tell, and there
were people who wanted to listen. We all have our own background and
stories that can be shared. I found that my job satisfaction and success
increased when I shared my own lessons learned and best practices.
I found there is an audience to teach. It can be an audience of one or
an audience of one hundred. There is an active and willing group of people
who are willing to take the steps to be better, learn from one another’s
wisdom, and get the nuggets of information necessary to strengthen their
resolve and confidence—so that they, in turn, can eventually become the
teacher. It is a constant and progressive process.
I have found no better learning experience than humbly standing in
front of a group of people who want to be there. Whenever possible, seek
opportunities in your professional world to be the teacher. Teach someone
something—anything—and you will invariably be the student. Your
thirst to share will pay off in more knowledge for you to absorb. This
ensures a perpetual cycle of teaching and learning.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby