On LinkedIn the other day, Dan Galloway asked the question, ”
If you were given just one opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of people, what three life lessons would you want the audience to embed in their brains?
Good question, huh? So here is the response I wrote:
In no particular order:
1. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t try, you’ll always be where you are.
2. “You can do anything you want to do, you just have to face the consequences of your actions.” Facing consequences, be they good or bad, is one of the best attributes a leader or team member can have.
3. “You’re never too old (senior, important, junior, young, etc.) to learn.” The corollary to this is that you must listen to everyone, because you don’t know where you’re going to learn about that next great idea.”
I wish I could say that I thought of these, but it was my very wise mom who came up with the answers. In my class about Adult Learning Theory at Roosevelt University, we were talking about what makes someone wise. To paraphrase a Supreme Court Justice, I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it! Here’s a picture of my mom and dad on their 46th wedding anniversary…
So, those three “Life Lessons” that were pounded into my head. You can do anything you want to do, you just have to face the consequences of your actions. I was probably the only 3 year-old who would recite that on cue 🙂
Seriously, that was the start of my thinking. My mom taught me to think with that one sentence. I thought about it. I thought about making my little brother disappear. I realized that I could do it, but what would the consequences be? I would go to jail (mom was…and still is…very good at explaining and dispensing consequences), and I decided that I didn’t want to do that. I was thinking.
So, how can I apply that to my learning courses? You can do anything you want to do, you just have to face the consequences of your actions…in corporate america. Of course, if you don’t listen/learn/participate, you won’t be able to do your job, and the consequence could be termination. But what I really want to get to is making my learners think, not just sit on their backsides and wait for the class to be over. Think about the consequences of using whatever it is I’m teaching, or not using what I’m teaching. That’s really the point of corporate training, isn’t it? I mean, imagine the possibilities if we can get them to think about using whatever it is we’re teaching! Imagine the feedback to the organization if they decide not to use it…the reasons they could give, and issues/concerns/problems they could unearth. Of course, acting on those is a different topic altogether!
hmmm. If my learners truly think about my subject, then I feel they should be allowed the luxury of deciding for themselves if they will use what I’m teaching or not. After all, they’re adults. As long as they fully understand the consequences of it, good or bad. Right? Or wrong?