The Right Teacher at the Right Time Makes a Difference
In a podcast I recently heard, Derek Sivers commented on Seth Godin and how incredible he was for him in chapter 3 of his life. He added that when he was in chapter 3, Seth Godin was one of the teachers he needed. Today, he has other teachers. That doesn’t mean Seth is no longer any good, it simply means Seth was the perfect teacher for a specific moment in his life.
When I think about books or blogs I’ve read, there are some that I thought were difficult to read or not useful. Years later, I came across it again and all of a sudden it’s the best thing ever.
Back in 2008, I launched my first major career reinvention. As I started to embark on that change, I also started to read more. Reflecting on the last 15 years of my life, I noticed that different chapters of my life required different topics and teachers.
Chapter 1 of my Reinvention
I especially started to read more in my masters in psychology program. In that program, I became interested in all things related to positive psychology. Even if it wasn’t part of the course readings, I would borrow books by the same psychologists that were being cited in the papers I read and wrote. These books were an incredible source of inspiration, guidance, and ideas. I could practically remember roughly where a concept was written about and where on the page to find it. These books were so crucial to my learning, development, and academic coaching practice that it was easy to remember where everything was.
Chapter 2 – Educational Consulting and Teaching
Years later, when I started to consult and teach in the classroom, I started reading books on the neuroscience and psychology of learning. These books again, became my sources of inspiration, guidance, and ideas in the classroom. I still remember reading Switch by Chip and Dan Heath and a week later leveraging their work to design and launch an idea in the math classroom. I sent them a tweet and couple of DMs letting them know and they replied with their encouragement!
Chapter 3 – Executive Coaching and Coach Training
A few years after that, I started to work for IBM and was actively involved in coaching leaders and teaching IBMers how to coach. At this point, my reading topics shifted into the science and psychology of performance. I constantly took ideas from chapters as I went and started incorporating them into workshops, talks, and coaching sessions.
Chapter 4 – Becoming a full-time Entrepreneur
A few years into my time at IBM, I started thinking about getting more serious about launching and eventually going into business for myself, full time. During this time, I attended a few Tony Robbins events (Unleash the Power Within and Business Mastery) and listened to a few of his audio courses (Time of Your Life, Personal Power, and Ultimate Edge). These programs helped me develop the courage and mindset to think about and make such a move. Using what I learned, I started to do the planning and pre-work necessary to eventually make that move.
Around that time, I enrolled in a course on masterminds taught by Tony and one of his business partners, Dean Graziosi. Right away, I started testing the mastermind formats at IBM and eventually launched my own paid 3-month mastermind during the pandemic.
Chapter 5 – Publishing My Work
Today, I’m reading, listening to, and taking courses by people who have learned to effectively create content for a living. They write, produce videos, publish newsletters, launch courses, etc. They teach systems for creating content every day, not only when inspiration strikes. A few times a week, I put something I learned into practice. In fact, writing and publishing to this blog every weekday is one of those ideas. This article marks 25 weekdays in a row of writing and publishing.
- When I find a good author or teacher that adds massive value to my life in that moment, I look through their sources and references. This is how I’ve found other great teachers to keep my momentum going in that chapter of my life.
- If an author or teacher doesn’t feel right or you aren’t connecting with the material, that’s ok, put it down. Don’t fight it or force yourself to make it through the entire book or content. They might be a teacher for another chapter, later in life.
- For those teachers that are the right ones for your current chapter, put their lessons to work right away. Start testing their ideas and strategies. It’s the best way to get the most from their teachings.
- Whenever possible, find communities created by your teachers. I’m doing this right now when it comes to reinvention and it started with one person and by following her, I found many others. Turns out she also leads a community on reinvention and I just joined it last week! These communities will help you find and create opportunities for the current chapter in your life.
- Lastly, it’s ok to say good bye to or put away some of our greatest teachers. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good any more, it simply means we have grown and developed in response to them. That’s precisely what most of them wanted for us and now we’re moving into new chapters that require new teachers.
Be mindful of who you are learning from today and in the future. The right teachers at the right time can make all the difference.
Currently, I’m learning from:
- Amy Porterfield (digital course design and launch)
- Ali Abdaal (building a presence on the internet + productivity)
- Anne-Laure (learning practices grounded in neuroscience and mindfulness)
- Sarah Cordiner (digital course design and launch)
- Nadya Zhexembayeva (business reinvention)
- Michael Hyatt (winning in life and work + productivity)
- David Perell (writing)
Who are some of your best teachers in this chapter of your life?
Share their names, relevant publications, and what they are teaching you in this moment.