Experience isn’t the best teacher
Beware: this can seriously alter the direction of your life.
‘Let me reflect on that, and I’ll let you know.’ Anyone in sales knows that usually means “no”. However, when it comes to personal growth, it usually means “there is a lesson in there somewhere, and I need to try and find it”.
I had a significant “Aha!” moment recently that came out of the blue when I wasn’t expecting it. It was while I was reflecting on the outcome of attending a course designed to discover the purpose for your life, and boy has it had a significant effect on the direction of my life.
“Experience isn’t the best teacher; evaluated experience is.”
~ John Maxwell.
Way back in Roman times, in an account written on the Civil War (Commentarii de Bello Civili), Julius Caesar is credited with saying that ‘Experience is the teacher of all things’, however Water Scott (1854-1900) disagrees with the proverb, saying that ‘experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.’ I suspect that there is wisdom in both sayings, and perhaps the best summary is summed up by Maxwell as: “Experience isn’t the best teacher; evaluated experience is.”
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
~ Peter Drucker
I had signed up to attend an event which I had wanted to get along to for a while, despite having done the “sweet-spot” exercise several times over the years. What is the sweet-spot exercise? Well, it’s usually designed to help a person find their place and purpose in life’s journey by evaluating three or four headings and finding where they intersect or overlap.
This particular program encourages the participants to evaluate themselves using the three headings or prompts of Core Values, Personal Gifts, and Experiences. The one that is fairly unusual in my experience is to include personal experiences in quite the way this program uses (see chazown.com). For me, this is where the dawning of a new direction emerged.
Looking back over my timeline during that event started me on a personal journey of reflection that I guess brought into the light some key thoughts that had been present all along, but just sitting quietly in the shadows. The key thought that emerged from this exercise is that right from the earliest times it would be true to say that in many cases “everything I have done, I have taught”, and that applies to sport and music, as well as more academic topics. That was the first of three key thoughts that emerged.
In a teaching, training or coaching environment I have often been heard to ask students “what are you here for”, to which they usually reply “to learn”. “And what am I here for?” … “to teach”. My reply to that is usually “If I am only here to teach, then I can teach and even if you go away having learned nothing I have done my job. No, I am here ‘to help you learn’; if you go away having learned nothing then I have NOT done my job!” That brought the next key thought into the light.
“I am here to help you learn.”
The third key thought that emerged from that evaluation of my experiences, and that kept emerging was that my passion and gift is in the field of leadership, and that had been manifest in coming alongside several leaders and teams, and helping them to become better at leading the mission they were engaged in. A colleague recently commented:
“Rarely is someone’s vocation and anointing shown to me so clearly as yours. (your) approach and insight into leadership and management understanding is both profound and contextually vibrant.”
~ Craig Walford
Here started a journey that brings me to the visit I will be making at the end of this month to a certification event that marks a turning point in my career. In the light of attending the Chazown program (pronounced “kha-ZONE”, it is a word that means Dream, Revelation or Vision) I embarked on a leadership certification program, with a view to being certified as an independent Coach, Teacher and Speaker with a world class Leadership Expert.
Early on in my career, I spent several hours in airports on business journeys around Europe, and much of my waiting time was spent browsing the contents of the airport bookshops, which inevitably had several business related books on offer. Titles from Peter Drucker and Ken Blanchard were a regular favourite.
I first came into contact with the work of John C Maxwell in the late 1990s, and had enjoyed several titles on the topic of leadership, and got to know his work in more detail during a three-year program called “The Million Leaders Mandate” in the 2000s which I attended with a colleague. More recently in 2014, John Maxwell was listed as “the No. 1 leadership and management expert in the world” by Inc. Magazine and leads the field according to Global Gurus and many other observers. What better place to obtain certification.
“John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized as the best leadership speaker, trainer and author who has written over 70 books and sold more than 19 million copies.”
~ Global Gurus
Looking back on the Chazown event, it will come as no surprise that having signed up to attend, I ended up leading one of the break-out groups to facilitate discussion, and delivering the talk to lead one of the key sessions.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.