"The more you want to be a teacher,
the more you need to be a student."
-- Alan Cohen
New: Audio version
[Classic post from 6-10-15]
We all have things that we want to do in this life, and for as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a teacher. But, I didn't want to be a teacher in a school in the way that I saw teaching being done when I was in school most of the time, because there was no creativity there, no feeling, it was more like being a facilitator--someone going through a planned program of the curriculum. I say most because there was one handful of teachers who led by the example I was seeking. And, I loved them and loved learning from them.
With that handful of teachers through all of my schooling, I've never later contacted them to tell them how they made a difference in me. We move on. Yet we've grown. We get busy and we don't have it in our mind often enough to have it be a strong desire to find them and say to them, "You have made a difference in me. Thank you." So I expect that it is very rare for a teacher to hear these kinds and encouraging comments.
As a teacher, I hear them only rarely myself, but they speak volumes to me when I do hear them. They are a great encouragement to me and help renew my desire and drive to continue on the path I've chosen.
Yesterday I was with a client for a couple of hours. He owns two retail stores in dramatically different markets. I've done what he was doing, so I could relate to his business and his market in general. When I first met him, he was very negative about the business he was in. He was sarcastic and pessimistic about the present and the future of his business.
During that time and other times when we had a chance to talk at some length, I would try to encourage him by giving him ideas of other ways of approaching his business, things to try that I had found successful, and in general, to have a different outlook. This is natural for me to do, so I don't pay much attention to it anymore. I just try to encourage people when they seem discouraged.
I had not seen him in quite some time in person and I know that he was going through a change in his business. I needed to see what he was doing so that we could serve him better with our Internet services. When I saw him, he looked like he was a new man. It was hard not to look at him because he seemed to have changed so much.
During the conversation about his new venue, he said that I had made a big difference in him. I asked how did I do that? He said that whenever we talked in person or on the phone, I always seemed calm and encouraging. He said that I suggested different things to try and different ways of looking at things. He said that he used to be angry for the last three years and now he was excited and enjoying his new direction in business. He said that he didn't know if I was always that way in my own life, but it sure made a difference in his.
I saw the physical difference in him and the mental difference too. He talked positively, excited even. He was seeing a much brighter future, and he was selling a lot of products when in the past product sales were not so hot. He looked easily 10 years younger and I was amazed at the transformation. From yesterday to 2012 when we first met, these were two very different people.
We all have the opportunity to make a difference in those we come into contact with. We may never hear about how we helped someone to become more, to have healing, to be transformed. It wasn't me. I didn't do it. He did it. All I did was share, do my best to encourage and give him some ideas to consider that may be of service to him. I was using all the creativity I could, and that is all I can do as a teacher. It is all I ever wanted from a teacher in school, and all the teachers I have paid attention to over the years. The list of those who have made a difference in my life is very long, and I am openly grateful to them all, for to be the best teacher I can be, I must also be the best student.
How Can You Be Of Service To Someone Today? How Can You Make A Difference?
Spread Some Joy Today--because it is contagious to others.