Before You Teach

There’s a sign in a Boy Scout camp down in Alabama, and it says:

You can’t teach what you don’t know

like you can go back to where you ain’t been

Poor grammar aside, it is a truism. To teach one of the most significant requirements is that you actually know what you’re talking about. And yet, it is not the only requirement.

To teach others, you need to meet them where they are. After you have the connection, then you can guide them to wherever they need to go. Failure to do so would mean a collapse in the transfer of knowledge. And that could happen no matter how knowledgeable the instructor is.

The greatest thing you could have in teaching others is to know and understand those you are working with. Until that understanding occurs, more likely than not, there merely groups of people trying to search for something in the dark.

The question becomes if you are writing a course, how do you really know your audience and what they need? The answer to that is easier than you think. You need to go out and interact with them.

Many people miss the step because they think it can’t be done or is very hard to do. Yet, is one of the easiest things in the entire training process. To know your students, you just need to go out and communicate with them, be with them, empathize with them. Then, you will know how to teach them and what they need to learn.

Where and how you may ask? If you’re teaching people, who build computers, go to the factory and be on the line with those people for a while as they build the computers. If you’re writing lessons for vets, go to veterans organizations and military bases, and maybe a bar or two near those places.

Coffee houses are great places to learn about other potential students and what they have to live with on a daily basis. Restaurants, parks, charities, organizations, and meet-ups are just a few of the places you could go to talk to people and learn something before you teach others.

Worried you’ll be ignored? Say hi a time or two, and you may be surprised. Offer to buy somebody a cup of coffee, and then listen to what they say. Watch their mannerisms. Their timber and emotion in the voice will tell you where the pain points really are.

When you teach somebody something, you are actually offering them a better way to deal with the pain point. Students need to know something which you are going to teach them so they can do something better. And that relieves the irritation, pain, or worry.

In doing this preliminary work, you are actually removing your own worry, stress, and pain points. Because once you have done this learning about your students, you have made your own work of teaching much easier to accomplish.

A Question?

Today I would like to ask a question.

I have found that most of my adult life I have been coaching people. In the Air Force, in manufacturing, helping people to find jobs, and even now as I write books and develop courses. I have done this over and over again, although definitely, each situation is different, with its own nuances.

I actually like coaching and helping people. Not for my own enjoyment, instead to help them. The real thrill is when I see the light of understanding click on in their eyes. It is the moment when something they’ve been trying to figure out comes to full knowledge.

I don’t want you to think that knowledge is a one-way street. I learn as much from my students and clients as they learn from me. I believe if I leave the classroom, work, or coaching situation without learning something new, I have really not done my job right. Because whenever two human beings collaborate, both should grow.

My question is a simple one. In the world that has more and more social media and yet less and less person-to-person collaboration, do you think that a service where someone can call up and talk to you for 20 minutes or a half hour and ask a question or two would be a viable service to offer?

This is just a thought, based on observation and viewpoints of what the worldview looks like today. Please send me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Have a great day, and thanks for reading the blog and commenting on the question.

From the Inside Out

Have you ever considered why sometimes no matter how much you try you just cannot get the results you are looking for? You feel that no matter what you do there is so much else in the way that you end up not doing anything? To accomplish something, you have to do the right thing. Maybe it’s a good idea to start by looking at what you need to do and stack it up against what you want to do.

We are not just one thing or another. We are human beings, and we are a conglomeration of everything that affects us. To do good work, we need to work from the inside out.

If I don’t sleep well, my work suffers. If I am worrying about everything all the time, my work suffers. If my house and yard are a mess, my work suffers. I need to remove those things that cause my work to suffer, and I need to enhance whatever makes my work thrive.

Does this mean I can’t work at all until everything else in my life is perfect? If we waited for perfection, none of us would ever get any work done. Nothing or at least very little in life is perfect. You have to strike a balance.

I may not be able to do full work while healing from an operation, complete the spring cleaning, or rearrange my schedule to get a full night’s sleep. I could, though, break my work up into bite-sized bits that I could handle.

Maybe I start out by just taking one hour in figuring out a plan of what I need to work on. Maybe I’m planning a new book. Maybe I’m writing a blog. Maybe I am painting a new painting. Whatever it is I just take time and draw a map or timeline, remembering to provide enough time and research to complete the project. If I’m painting a painting, maybe the next day I just put an outline on the canvas. If I am writing a book, maybe I sit down at the computer and just list some of the major events.

If I am writing a book, maybe a start off within the week by writing a sentence. And the next day I write two sentences. The idea is to build slowly until I can write between 500 to a thousand words for the book in a day. My time is still on working from the inside out to take care of me, to take care of around my surroundings, and to take care of my work.

Everything will not become perfection. Yet, what I will find this a sense of equilibrium. This is an equilibrium where the inner me is in balance with my surroundings and my surroundings give me the ability to better perform my work.

I wish I could tell you exactly how to do certain steps in a certain order to accomplish this. I will work on that for you if you wish. Although, I must tell you that every person and every situation is different. And each of us needs to be responsible for ourselves and seek our own way.

Look forward to talking again tomorrow.

 

Not Just Now or Then

We are hoping life is treating you well today.

It seems as though sometimes as technology changes, old and inefficient ways tend to drop by the wayside while newer and more innovative technologies take over. That is the way of the earth and the way it is probably meant to be. After all, when was the last time you saddled up the horse or took the buckboard to the store for groceries? It does still happen yet not like it did.

I know there are those who live in the years of their youth, and others who live in the years of their parents. Truthfully though, as good as the old days were, today is better. More diseases are cured, there are more empathy and understanding in the world, and, they’re more people able to do more things because of advances in technology and humanity.

Are there still illnesses to cure? Is there strife that is unneeded and still needs to be calmed?  Are wars still prevalent around the earth? The answer is yes, and there are poverty, homelessness, and crime. Yet think about it for a moment would you like to be living now or hundred years ago? Were there positives 100 years ago? Yes, there was. Was there unnecessary evil a hundred years ago? Yes, there was and much more than there is now.

I do not condone the evils and hardships of today, and I believe these are the challenges we and our next generation have to work on. And yet, as you look at our timeline you can see advancements in almost any area you wish to search.

Before taking the ideal approach to where the blame the good and the evil lives, we need to understand that good and evil lives within each and every one of us. And, we need to understand the good and the evils we see within the world also rage within us. This is true because sometimes every positive has a possibility of a negative side. That is why we need to think before we act. And it helps to understand the positive and negatives of every action and subsequent reaction.

Just something to think about today as we go on with our lives and our routines.

Thank you for reading with us today.

Now We Will Get Something Done

Yesterday we saw a wonderful demonstration of what this country was designed to do and does best.

Yesterday we saw citizens of our country who have been neglected and denied their civil rights, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, stand up and peacefully march on their legislatures and the presidency to demand freedom from the fear of death.

These citizens showed the rest of us the way. Those who could no longer be present had their concerns voiced by parents and loved ones. Their message was clear. Stop allowing people the means to come into our schools and kill us. They meant it.

Unlike past incidents where speeches were made and vague promises uttered, these citizens spoke clearly, had true empathy, and expect results. And yes, legislatures and the government will have to fix the problem.

These citizens are tired of the talk, tired of their numbers being shot at, and young, most in their teens. They are however receiving an education into our government, our democracy, our way of life. These young citizens have awakened early. They are smart. They have the energy. And they have what it will take to see their demands happen.

We need to pay very close attention. For these are the citizens that will guide us into the future defending those in danger and without a voice, and even defend and protect us as we grow old.

Thank you to all those who have stood to say, “Enough is enough.”

What Am I Working On

Ever have a day where everything seems to fall apart as soon as you touch it? The big desk computer has a two-hour patch it started automatically. The laptop is fussy and hard to bring up and wants to give a continuous grief. The iPad beckons, and as you try to use it for business, it directs you towards games. There’s only one thing to do.

Dude? You have a fast desktop, a 64-bit dual core laptop, and an iPad. The last thing you should be doing is whining about anything. If you have all that, you have what it takes to run an empire. Just think about how many great people started with so much less. And how far they rose with many of them having none of those three items.

 It’s important every day that I look in the mirror, and remind myself first off how lucky I am. Secondly, and most importantly, I need to remind myself it’s not about me. It’s about doing well for the others whom I help.

When we are given things or given the ability to earn them, then much is expected from us in return. And rightly so. For as we rise in our status, just as we were helped by people before us (and yes, we were helped,) it is up to us to reach out a hand and help those behind us.

We have to remember that even the highest person cannot go any higher until the lowliest person takes that next step up.

The question isn’t what’s working, the question is what am I working on to help the next person.

I Owe You an Apology

First and foremost, I owe you an apology. I slipped away in the last week, only through my own fault. No one else forced me to do this, and nothing else should have been big enough to stand between me and the time I spend with you each week. And yet, I became mesmerized. For this, I am truly sorry and will try not to let this happen in the future.

I am now working on a new course that helps people to research what they want to do in life, find friends and mentors to help them by giving advice along the way, and make a map those goals and the milestones to get to them. We hope to start the first pilot class later this month, and it will be for veterans. I hope to have another pilot class after that for college graduates who are having a hard time finding the work they want to do in life.

Needless to say, this is an interesting and new aspect of a problem that is as old as life itself.  As I worked to build this course and deliver it, and with your permission, I will keep you advised and up to date.

The problem I am working to alleviate is not only held by veterans or college grads. Everyone who leaves one comfort zone for another can find themselves in the same quandary. Especially, if their departure was not planned or completely thought through.

As work goes on, I will keep you up-to-date on how it goes and as we get closer, talk to you about others that you know who may benefit from this.

Please forgive me my absence and please add comments as to articles I could post to help you in the future.