Experience teaches only the teachable.
Being teachable is not so much about being able to be “taught” as much as it is about attitude. It’s having the thirst and hunger to learn and grow. It’s being willing to learn from mistakes and failures and be a better person for them.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden states it: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
Being teachable is recognizing and admitting that there is greater knowledge and experience to be acquired and had. It is being humbled in not knowing everything and not always being right.
As the business landscape changes and evolves, faster than many of us can get our hands on, its is important that we open our hearts and minds to being teachable. Adopting a “Teach Me” attitude will better serve us in the long run, personally and professionally.
The challenging part of being teachable is finding teachable moments and opportunities. Not all of us is fortunate to work in a learning environment or with managers and staff that makes learning possible. But that should not stop us.
Learning is often more about what we take away from our environment, from others and from ourselves. It involves reflection, taking initiative, going above and beyond, often to create a new challenge or challenge ourselves.
A few ideas on how to keep learning and develop a “Teach Me” attitude:
A lot. A book, magazine or anything you can get your hands on. My preference – Google Reader. Makes it easy to follow your favorites. Buy an iPad. Makes all that reading you’re going to do easy anytime time permits.
Find a mentor.
Someone in your industry or area of interest and develop a relationship with them. Get to know more about their experience, lessons in life, and ideas.
Be a Mentor.
Bring along the next generation by taking a young adult or student under your wing. Show them the ropes of the business you are in, help them set goals and achieve success. Put your knowledge and experience to good use.
It softens the heart, makes us feel purposeful and helps us learn more than we imagined we would about others – and ourselves. Give back and you will receive.