What I learned from my students

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Every time I teach a class I learn something. In the past couple of  weeks, I’ve had two powerful light bulb moments as a facilitator.

The first lesson came from a workshop attendee at the Obstacle-buster Mastermind that  I co-facilitated with Barbara Winter in Las Vegas. Barbara and I have questioned why someone would follow self-employment newsletters for decades but never take the first steps to start their own business. During a group discussion about why someone would follow us if they had no interest in being self-employed, one attendee spoke up and said, “Some people just want to dream. Sometimes it’s enough just to watch others doing it and know it’s possible.” That was a huge awakening for me.

My big lesson: My job as a guide is to show you the journey without attachment to final destination.

A couple of nights ago during the first meeting of my “Design a Regret-free Life” workshop in Cincinnati, I took away another valuable lesson. While I was writing the curriculum, I had a vision of the course attracting boomers. People in their 50s have enough years behind them to have learned from poor choices and enough years ahead to still create more meaning in their lives. The course work was geared toward late mid-lifers so imagine my surprise when the circle filled with young women.  My initial thought was, “Damn, I have to re-write all the material”. I was honest with the students that I wasn’t prepared for such a young group. With some spontaneous revision, we dove into the writing and discussions. Tears flowed as the women commented on how quickly they gained clarity and insight from the exercises. Rather than feeling stressed that I’d have to re-write the curriculum for the next three meetings, I was thrilled that these women signed on to do this deep work so early in life. That meant less past regrets and more time to accomplish their dreams.

My big lesson: Never make assumptions about your audience. Be flexible and open to improvisation.

What assumptions might you be making about your customers or clients? How can you remain more flexible in meeting their needs? As always I would love to hear your feedback and comments below.

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