Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach—right? WRONG. You should be teaching right now, exactly where you are. It doesn’t matter if other people are teaching the same thing or if other people have more experience than you. Teaching what you know is invaluable, and it’s not only good for establishing yourself as an expert but it helps you understand what you know even better.
Taking time to teach doesn’t slow down your learning—it actually accelerates it. You’ll hear why it doesn’t matter if you teach something wrong and the reason you don’t have to have an audience before you teach.
If you want to become good at something, teach others how to do it. The former doesn’t have to precede the latter. Teaching is learning.
— Sean McCabe (@seanwes) April 17, 2014
- You Have a Unique Perspective
- 05:05 The primary reason you want to be teaching now is because you have a unique perspective—even if you’re just starting out.
- 05:54 “What if I don’t have a complete knowledge. Do I even have any business teaching?”
- 06:44 No one has a complete knowledge.
- 08:28 It’s a common misconception to think that you’re not enough of an expert to teach. The people that are leaders in any given industry are the people that started to teach. They didn’t get to a place of arrival before they decided that they could teach.
- 09:24 It’s easy to look at someone else who is teaching something you already know and pat yourself on the back for knowing it. But they’re reaching the people who haven’t yet learned what you have. There’s always someone who can learn from you. The sooner you start teaching, the sooner you will establish yourself as an expert.
- 11:23 You have to realize that you see people as experts because they teach. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they teach because they’re experts.
- 11:53 We often think something isn’t worth teaching because it seems basic to us, or it’s not advanced. We think, what if people say, “Dude, I already know that stuff”? I have news for you: They WILL say that. And it doesn’t matter. Ignore it.
- Lead With Conviction
- 15:30 Take on an assertive role.
- 17:48 You shouldn’t be afraid to be wrong. Even if you are, it provides a teaching opportunity. If you’re wrong in front of people, you have the chance to right it in front of people. When they see that honesty and transparency, they’ll believe in you all the more. They’ll want to continue to follow you, because they know whenever you discovered that something you said was wrong, you’re going to show them.
- 18:21 You have to speak strongly and with conviction if you want people to listen to you.
- 18:33 “Aren’t there people that are way more qualified than me? Who am I to teach?”
- 18:40 Someone with 25 years of experience may have good advice, but they’re not going to remember quite how it was when they just started out. You, having more recently experienced something, might actually be better able to relate to someone who is in a similar position. You have a unique and fresh perspective on what it’s like to start as a beginner. For that reason, you may be the best person to teach someone new how to go from Step 1 to Step 2, even if you don’t yet know how to get from Step 9 to Step 10.
- The Fear of Being Wrong
- 24:00 We don’t want to say something and then feel discredited when we get feedback down the road where someone says “What you said there wasn’t accurate.”
- 24:28 Not being honest and open when we make mistakes is worse for credibility than being wrong.
- 26:43 Even if you don’t have all the answers, putting something out there creates a space for people to think in or have a discussion around.
- 28:19 Fallacy:
“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”
- Teaching Doesn’t Slow Down Your Learning
- 29:19 The hope is that we might impart knowledge that will not only enable someone to gain the same level of experience we gave, but even surpass it. You want them to be even more successful than you were. Be a springboard.
- 30:32 You learn as you teach. You have to learn in order to teach. You have to do your research and check your facts and make sure you thoroughly understand concepts.
- Teaching Helps You Learn
- 30:53 As you articulate a concept, you begin to internalize it. We have talked about how it’s possible to regurgitate something or speak something without having experiential knowledge, but as you teach things you’re going to close that gap. You’ll start to internalize things to a greater extent as you teach.
- 31:21 Teaching is a form of learning. If you really want to become good at something, teach others how to do it.
- 31:49 Teaching helps you understand how you do what you do. It’s valuable to understand why or how you do something. A lot of people who are good at things just kind of “do it” and don’t really know how or why. Teaching forces you to uncover those reasons.
- Teaching As You Go Helps Solidify Your Understanding
- 34:00 Explaining your process is not only beneficial to others, but extremely beneficial to you.
- 35:42 People often get to a point where they do things and they don’t really know how they’re doing it. If you’re teaching along the way, you’re making sure you understand everything about what you do. You have to understand it in order to be able to break it down and teach it to someone.
- 36:38 Your unique voice from your unique circumstances in the current moment and time is going to be valuable to a group of people out there who will relate to your circumstances. They will relate to where you are in your journey better than they will relate to someone who is further down the road.
- Action Steps
- 37:02 Take a step back. Ask yourself:
- How do I do [this thing]?
- What steps do I take?
- What kind of tools do I use?
- 37:48 Break those answers down even further. Find a way to describe your own process or talk in more detail. Talk about why you use a certain tool, etc.
- 38:49 Ask the “Why?” question. Keep going back as far as you can, keep asking “Why?” as much as you can, and keep breaking down your bullets as much as you can.
- Document Your Process As You Go
- 41:39 As soon as you start, you want to be documenting. Take photos. Write down steps, write down your thought process. If you wait until the end, you will have bias. When you’re at the end, you already have the concept—you already came up with the solution. This will color your view of the early steps and cause you to idealize them. This is why the person with 25 years of experience isn’t always the best person to ask for advice on how to get started.
- 42:38 Unless you are documenting your process, documenting your thoughts, and documenting your steps as you go, you’re not going to be able to speak as effectively to someone who is at one of those early stages when you’re already past them.
- 44:34 Your first podcast isn’t going to be the best. Your first blog post isn’t going to be written eloquently. Your first YouTube video isn’t going to have the greatest lighting.
- 45:22 If you withhold your teaching until you can do so in a “professional way,” you’re going to lose the unique perspective you have in your current circumstances—and that perspective may be exactly what someone needs.
- 45:46 When you’re teaching as you go, you have the ability to look over the early material you produced and better understand the mindset of people who are in that place.
- Put Yourself On A Schedule
- 46:25 Decide on a blog, or podcast, or YouTube account and set yourself on a schedule. If you start with only what you have in mind to teach, that’s all you’ll ever teach. If you start with a schedule, it forces you to teach. Show up every week and teach what you’re learning.
- 47:27 “Isn’t this all assuming you already have an audience?”
- 47:38 You shouldn’t wait until you have an audience to start teaching.
- 48:00 At the very least, teaching will benefit you. In the future, when your audience finds you, they’re going to go back through your earlier stuff and it’s going to be valuable to them. Don’t worry right now about whether people are going to see it—keep doing things consistently and you will find your audience.
- 48:46 How do I know if I should be teaching?
- If you have 1,000 followers, you should be teaching.
- If you have 100 followers, you should be teaching.
- If you have 26 followers, you should be teaching.
- If you have 0 followers, you should be teaching.
- 48:58 How do you think you’re going to get followers? Why should people pay attention to you? What do you have to offer? What kind of value are you providing? Don’t put the cart before the horse.
All you have to know to teach is more than any one other person.
Leaders are seen as experts because they teach.
You’ll sound a lot smarter if you remove the words “I think” from sentences. Make a statement and have some conviction.
Be wrong sometimes.
You lose even more credibility when you’re so afraid of being wrong that you rarely say anything assertively at all.
You have the permission to teach poorly.
I know that sounds weird, but hear me out: If you haven’t yet taught for long, your first lessons aren’t going to be great. That’s ok. You have to start somewhere. You’re not going to get there until you teach. Allow yourself to not be so great at it at first.
You’ll sound a lot smarter if you remove the words “I think” from sentences. Make a statement and have some conviction. Be wrong sometimes.
— Sean McCabe (@seanwes) April 17, 2014