Here’s one I heard when I worked at OhioHealth: Watch one, Do one, Teach one.
The person who taught me this phrase explained that this philosophy was engrained in her as a nurse. To fully learn a new procedure, you watch it being done, you do it yourself, and then you teach it to someone else.
That last step is critical. It is what separates common practitioners of any craft from the masters. It is where most of us stop short.
Think about it. If you are going to teach something, there is a level of expectation that you know the material. It forces us to raise our game. We must have the confidence in our skills if we are to teach others.
I believe that is why so few of us teach; we lack the confidence in our own skills or knowledge. That is a shame. There are many people with much to give, who hide behind a cloak of fear.
A clear benefit to teaching others is that we learn more ourselves. One of my friends in college taught classes at another school. He was not the smartest person in our own classrooms. But, he was a good teacher. His own struggles as a student helped him as a teacher because he could relate to his students’ challenges. He shared with me how much he was learning by teaching. He also shared his joy in receiving high marks from his students.
You don’t have to be a master of the material to teach. Some of my most memorable teachers in school were those who, rather than spewing forth their vast knowledge from on high, invited us to join them in their own journey of exploration on the subject. Those shared explorations were far more interesting than sitting through boring lectures.
Now it’s your turn.
Watch one. Do one. Teach one.
(Side note: I take this concept of teaching seriously. I now offer one-on-one coaching for speakers and entertainers who want to better connect with their audiences. If you want your time in front of others to be more powerful, give me a call.)
Are you fiercely independent? Do you love doing things all by yourself?
Here’s a thought. Invite a friend to join you.
Confession time. I love doing things myself. I abhor asking for help.
Maybe this is a guy thing. Watch people burdened by a load of boxes enter a building. Chances are, you will see what I have noticed. A women laden down with a bunch of stuff, when approached, “Can I help you with that?” will more often than not say, “Sure.” A man in the same situation is far more prone to respond, “Nah, I’m good.” despite items falling off the stack they are balancing.
It is only over the last few years that I have learned the joy of asking for help. It is not the asking that I enjoy. It is the camaraderie that results in working on a project together.
My fierce independent streak has put me in dangerous situations.
For example… Several years ago, I purchased a large air compressor for my shop. We’re not talking about a nice portable unit that is meant to be moved. No, this is a full-scale, 5′ tall, behemoth typically used in a mid-sized production shop. (Why? Because I could. But, that is a different topic. )
The point is, it’s big. And quite heavy. When I bought it, it required 3 of us to load it into my van. Those other 2 people did not follow me home to help unload it. They had other customers to serve.
At home, I realized the folly of what I was attempting to do even as I was sliding it out of the van – by myself. I knew this could easily go wrong. In my head, I was already playing out the worst case scenario of being pinned underneath this thing, wondering whether I’d be able to hang on long enough to yell out to the mail carrier who was due to arrive sometime in the next hour.
OK, let’s be honest. It’s not an independent streak. It is shear stubbornness.
Obviously, since I am now telling the story, it worked out in the end. There were no trips to the emergency room.
I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson. Don’t do stupid stuff. But, I’d be lying. I still get myself into dangerous situations. However, I am getting better at asking for help.
It is not avoiding danger that has helped me change. It is a realization that it’s more fun to do things with another person.
Just last night, I drove to a friend’s house to have him help me replace the side view mirrors on my truck. I could have managed it alone. Maybe.
The real reason I made the trip was to spend time with my friend. The side benefit was that the new mirrors are installed. Correctly. The first time. (My friend is an avid car repair hobbyist.)
What it has taken me way too long to figure out is the joy of treating projects not as a way to accomplish a task, but as a means to spend time with another human being. The task itself becomes secondary to the pleasure of the interaction.
Next time you find yourself laden with boxes, burdens, or tasks, reach out to another person and invite them to join you. You’ll both benefit.
You might or might not accomplish the task you originally set out to accomplish. Either way, you’ll enjoy the process more with the company of a friend.
In one of the gyms I used to go to, there was a sign prominently displayed in the weight room that read, “Go heavy or go home.”
In another context, I frequently heard the saying, “Play to win or don’t bother playing.”
Each of these sayings has their place. If you are a naturally competitive person, then both of these probably strike you as being obvious. You likely feel wholehearted agreement.
One problem with these concepts is that in the wrong circumstances, they can induce substantial unnecessary amounts of stress.
Another issue is they might cause you to give up early. Maybe you look ahead toward the finish line, realize there is no way for you to win this particular race, and therefore stop trying. Give up on this one, move on to the next race, maybe you’ll have better luck there.
These sayings do not fully incorporate the level of influence factors beyond our effort have on the outcome. I’m not talking about making excuses when things don’t go our way. I am talking about accepting the reality that there’s often more involved in the decisions others make than simply the amount of effort that we put into trying to sway them one way or another.
I recently spoke to a group of recruiters for an organization. Their key metric is the number of people they are able to get to sign on the dotted line. The majority of their training is based on classic sales methodology, with “getting to the close” being a key component.
The problem is that they were becoming overly obsessed with that metric of closing the deal. Each person they were recruiting was seen as critical to their success in their job as recruiter. When they were unable to seal the deal with a particular individual, they viewed it as failure. They took it personally. It was creating an enormous amount of stress on the individuals.
I can relate.
I have this same experience in my own business. I tend to view each prospective client as critical to the success of my business. When a prospective client tells me, “we’ve decided to go a different direction” (a frequently used phrase instead of simply saying, “no”) it is easy to take this personally. Being a one-person service-oriented business, the product I am selling is, essentially, myself. As a result, failure to close the sale takes on a high degree of personal rejection.
Do you enjoy rejection? I sure don’t.
The attitude shift that has helped me the most, and that I shared with this group of recruiters, is the concept of Involved Detachment.
What does that mean?
It means going heavy and playing to win… while detaching yourself from the outcome.
It means giving it your absolute best shot, doing all you can to convey your value proposition. And then once you’ve done that, let it go. You’ve done your part, now it is up to them.
This is still very much a work in progress for me. There are good days, and there are not so good days.
It is easy to view an opportunity as being impossible to win. As the level of the events at which I work has elevated, so has the level of the people I am being compared against for the time slot. While it is pretty cool to be considered alongside some of these people, it can also be intimidating. I view many of them with such high esteem that it seems pointless to even bother submitting my proposal.
But, just as there are factors beyond my influence for which another person might be chosen, there are also factors beyond my control which cause a client to select me over the others being considered.
Got that? It is not my job to tell them “no”. There is a reason that they chose to contact me in the first place, to include me in their search.
My job is simply to understand as much as possible about the client’s goals, put forth what I have to offer as clearly as possible, do it well, and then let it go.
Where can you apply this concept in your life and work? In what areas are you being overly concerned with the outcome? Are you quitting before you even start?