We Teach What We Need to Perfect

TeacherThe month of January has taught me that the metaphor of the dance floor to the balcony is always useful. The concept of the balcony and the dance floor comes from Leadership Can Be Taught by Sharon Daloz Parks. It highlights the merits of taking the time to move off the dance floor where all the action is to also experience the view from the balcony where you can look at things from a new and broader perspective. When you are in the middle of the situation or stuck in the weeds, it’s hard to have a clear view of everything that’s going on simultaneously.

Our guests on the radio show here in January shared their wisdom in having a mission statement, creating vision boards, making decisions according to our values, alongside many other concepts that we all know to be true. Life gets busy, and while we incorporate the concepts at times, other times we completely forget about them. I believe that it’s true that when the student is ready, the teacher will come.

As we join together in the manner we did on the radio show and on our webinar, we share ideas and inspire each other to do what we know works. During the webinar, “Living your Best Life,” we were talking about personal mission statements. One woman said she had a personal mission statement and she had put it away and forgot about it. It was a great reminder to bring it back and use it as a rudder as she makes decisions.

I used to use the expression, “We teach what we need to learn.” With some coaching from a good friend I realized “we teach what we need to perfect” is far more accurate. When we have opportunities at work to mentor other people, create a culture where we are coaching our teams and each other, we get to practice and perfect the things that we believe in.

Every year we see replays of the cycles of life. Shops and magazine covers are all about Valentine’s Day for February. What’s old is new again. There are ideas that are timeless and get replayed, and then we also get new infusions of information that challenge and broaden our outlook.

So as you stand in the balcony, being self-reflective and thinking about what will serve you personally and professionally in 2014, go back in your history and look at what practices, rituals or habits has served you well in the past. Think about your happiest days, most successful projects, or your most fulfilling relationships. What did you do that made them work that you could do again now? As you then try these practices back on for size and share them with others, you have an opportunity to teach what you need to perfect.

This entry was posted in Coaching, Execution, Leadership, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to We Teach What We Need to Perfect

  1. Love the dance floor/balcony analogy. I have always enjoyed the expression “teach what you need to learn”, and your shift to “perfect” surprised me. I don’t agree. Another phrase, “progress, not perfection” takes the pressure of “perfect” off, so perhaps that title is still a work in progress! “Teach when you need to ‘integrate’, perhaps? We are always learning, and I think that is a wonderful thing. Thanks for always teaching us, Wendy. And bringing forward wise women as well.

    • Wendy says:

      Hi Michelle-

      I took a great class this week on Executive Coaching, Organizational Effectiveness and Neuroscience. One of leaders, Ann Betz said, “We teach what we need to learn.” From a neuroscience perspective we deepen our neural pathways by teaching what we know. Those words still resonate with me. Thanks for your feedback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *