I believe most of us like to learn, grow, and become better than we were yesterday. The problem some people run into is that they don’t know where to start. When we don’t know where to begin, things become muddy, and we can quickly get stuck. Teachability is an area that almost everyone can grow in, but few strive after it. Remember, learning now is a great investment for your future. Here are my twelve keys to becoming more teachable.
1. Become a great question asker. This is not an easy one to do if you’re like me. I would rather talk about what I know to either influence or impress people. This takes away from your opportunity to learn. Ask questions. And listen. And ask more questions. And listen.
2. Carry a moleskin with you. I’ve sat in Dale’s Man Up sessions, and I take notes every time like it is the first time. If you have a moleskin with you, then you are constantly ready to learn.
3. Try new things and experiences. If the only type of training you go through is intellectual, then you may be intellectually brilliant but emotionally weak. If you only go through emotional intelligence trainings, then you may not expand your sphere of understanding. If you only go through Christian seminars, you may miss out on areas you can grow in like physical, mental, and emotional strength.
4. Travel. If you want to learn, go to a place where you know nothing. You will learn through cultural differences. Traveling is like a winepress for your heart. As other cultures, languages, and time zones press against your heart, you will be able to see what is inside of your heart. As the toxins of your heart and head are pressed out, you can learn the unique ways civilizations interact and how the world works on a larger scale.
5. Ask some people if you can pick their brain. If they agree set up a meeting with them. Then, send them a list of questions a week in advance. When you get there, be ready with an open mind, an open moleskin, and a pen with the same hunger as that of a lion feasting upon a gazelle.
6. Make other people the expert. This does two things. A) It frees you up to learn without your ego being present. B) It gives them permission to share what they know without them feeling awkward for hogging the floor, or sounding arrogant. After all, you asked them.
7. Chew up the fish and spit out the bones. Just because you disagree with them doesn’t mean you have to tell them. You asked to learn from them. They may say a few things that are dumb or wrong. Now is not your time to correct. Now is your time to learn. So shut up and learn. As they talk, write down what you’re learning so that you won’t forget it.
8. Ask the best leaders you know what the 10 or 20 books are that influenced them the most. If you want to learn how great leaders think, then find out who has shaped the way that they think.
9. Give Back. If you are meeting with someone to learn from them, buy their meal, give them a gift card, or write them a thank you note for their time. If you have to pay them for their time, do it. Learn, learn, learn! The price of education will never be as high as the price of ignorance. Also, we pay for what we value. If you value learning, it will cost you. Remember you are becoming better. Stop buying the present, and invest in your future.
10. Get a coach. If you want to preach better, get a preaching coach. If you want to be a better mom, get a mom coach. If you want to become a better writer, get a writing coach.
11. Get rid of your “I know” mentality. The words “I know” are often driven by insecurity. Even if you know the answer, what person actually likes it when you say, “Would you tell me about this?”, then as soon as they start talking, you say, “I know.”
12. Take time to reflect what you learn. If you take all the information you gather, but you don’t reflect on what you learned, then you may be end up with a wealth of knowledge and no wisdom. You may end up like a conduit with information pouring through you, but finding no real day to day insight based on what you have learned.
Being teachable isn’t easy, but it will make you better. Learn like your life is on the line. You deserve to treat yourself to a feast of brilliance. Wouldn’t it be amazing if wisdom led you down the path of excellence? Become better today.
What are some other ways to become more teachable?