Learning is a lifetime endeavor…

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.”

Conrad Hall 

A sage friend and colleague shared this with me yesterday, and I thought it was exceptionally profound as it captures the essence of a continual learning mindset. This captures the essence of “iron sharpening iron…”

“I want to work with people who I can learn from, and who are open to learning from me. People with whom I can exchange the student/teacher hats at a moment’s notice. People who sit in the uniquely blessed and fulfilling seat of Plato – a student of Socrates and then a teacher to Aristotle.”

Are you learning to lead…

“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.” 

Lisa Cash Henson

There is a big difference between telling people what to do and guiding them to better decisions. The key differences are; a willingness to teach and an ability to learn. Both of these attributes are required of the leader before they can lead anyone. Only then can they appropriately guide others.

What are you going to learn? Who are you going to teach?

“Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those who you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one: men learn as they teach.”

Seneca

Do you have a goal to learn something from at least one person every day? How about teaching one person something every day?  

Reflect on your interactions with all the people you touched today. What did you learn, and what did you teach? Could you take two minutes to write it down?  

Imagine how much more prosperous the world will be for you and others one year from today if you approached every interaction with a teach/learn mindset. It’s never too late to start…

Teaching is a gift to be received and given…

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

William Arthur Ward

Think back over your life; who were the teachers, mentors, or coaches who helped you elevated your thinking or performance to the next level? How did they do this? What were their specific behaviors that impacted you? Why were they so profoundly impactful on your life?  What specifically did they DO? 

The answers to these questions will be unique and special to you and your life. Perhaps someone saw a talent within you that you didn’t yet see? Maybe they didn’t let you quit when that is all you wanted to do? Possibly they had a unique way of distilling the seemingly complex into a manner that just “clicked” for you. Regardless of how or what they did, they profoundly impacted your life through their behaviors and actions.  

Have you taken any of those behaviors and built them into your life? Were you merely a recipient of someone else’s greatness, or have you become a conduit and multiplier and transferred it on to others? The beauty of great teachers is that they aren’t only elevating you; they are planting seeds to inspire and promote others within you.  

It is an incredible gift to be the beneficiary of a great teacher. However, once taught, you must pass that teaching on to others. To clarify, I am not talking about the specific knowledge or expertise, but the method by which you were inspired to learn.  This was the real gift you were given. Honor the one that gave it to you by finding a way to pass it on to others.  

Create 10x returns in the lives of others…

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”

Benjamin Disraeli

Revealing to someone else their own riches is akin to creating and unlocking the secret of the compound interest rates in another person’s life. 

Helping someone discover their hidden gifts or talents will create a lasting impact that will extend far beyond the individual you enabled. Just like $1,000 invested when a person turns 18 grows to be worth almost $90,000 (at 10% growth) by the time they retire, the investment you make in others will expand over time. One CRITICAL difference is that the impact isn’t limited by market returns or by the original investment amount. Because you are enabling another person, the returns can generate at an exponential rate.  

Because one person’s life is changed forever, they impact 1, 100, 1,000, 10,000 others throughout their lives (or even more…).  

Invest in others, not just by sharing your earthly blessings but also by building a 10x impact by unlocking other people’s talents and treasures. The return on your investment might be eternal.

crop man drawing on whiteboard during financial training
Photo by Malte Luk on Pexels.com

Leadership presence…

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Sheryl Sandberg

My very first boss and mentor once told me that it is the number one responsibility of a leader to ensure that they never need to be indispensable in order for the team to be successful.

In fact, a leader should do everything they can to coach, train, and empower those that they serve so that their individual presence isn’t a requirement for operational success but is instead an additive factor for strategic success.

How do you know if you are delivering on this key leadership premise?

I have found that the types of questions you ask, and that your team members ask you, to be an excellent barometer of success for a leader.

First, are the questions you are asking meant to direct or manage the operational efforts of your team members or are they meant to help them grow in their capabilities? Do you ask more open-ended questions or closed yes/no questions?

Second, Are the questions your team members are asking seeking permission or insight? Are they asking questions on what or how to do something or are they asking for perspective and input on their own thoughts and ideas? If they are asking permission based questions then your presence will be required for ongoing success and that is a recipe for leadership failure.

If you are leading effectively, then you don’t need to be physically present all the time for the right things to happen and for the right decisions to be made. Your leadership influence is presence enough…

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dusty

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