Practice What You Preach!
Some of my favorite learning moments involve my children. They like hearing that I talk about them when I’m facilitating sessions; I think it makes them feel special. What I’ve learned is that simple family memories and stories can be a powerful way to demonstrate business topics and ideas. It’s nice to get out of the business “bathwater” occasionally and make connections using real, relatable examples.
This is one of my favorites: When I began my career in learning, and my children were little, I would ask them every day when they came home from school, “What did you learn today?” They used to say “Nothing”, until the day I acted shocked (in an overly dramatic way, of course) and said, “Nothing?!” They both looked at me surprised, wondering what was coming next. My next questions were, “Do we need to switch teachers? Do we need to switch schools? If you are learning NOTHING, we need to make a change!” They quickly backtracked and had different answers. My poor children now think very hard when I ask them that question after school. 😉
I have challenged them to find the learning in each and every day. I explained that the learning may happen in the classroom or it may happen on the playground, and the learning does not always come from the teacher. I tell them to be open to learning something new, something different, from anyone and everyone, each and every day. I have challenged myself to do the same. It is amazing what you might learn when you are truly open to learning and discovering, and it often comes from the most unlikely sources (I will share one of those stories in a future blog post).
Another favorite moment came from an impromptu, informal feedback session my kids and I had in the car on the way home from a day at the beach. We talked about personal challenges and took the opportunity to give each other some feedback. I gave each of them one thing I wanted them to work on and allowed them to do the same for me, which really surprised them. It was a pretty cool moment: THEY were asked to give their MOM feedback! Do we present this opportunity enough as leaders? Do we ask for feedback in a real and meaningful way?
How many of us would consider ourselves active learners, in all areas of our lives? This is very different from showing up in the classroom (in grade school or in a professional training class) and expecting someone to “teach us” something. I would argue that the responsibility to learn rests squarely on our own shoulders. As learners, we get out of any experience what we are willing to put into it. We must be willing to be open, listen, observe, discover, and engage to create our own learning experience.
For me it was a simple shift; why not practice what I preach?
I would love to hear your personal learning stories; please comment and stay connected.