After 32 years as a teacher, I am more convinced than ever that most people don’t truly understand what it means to be a teacher. We live in an age where everyone is a consultant with a presentation and a briefcase thirty miles from home. Teaching is vital, and not just to young students. Employees, professionals, and leaders need teachers in order to grow. Teaching is what I have dedicated my life to and truly love.
Why Do You Teach?
I have met them in stadium shows all over the world: well-known authors, TV personalities, legendary coaches, and business icons. I’ve shared the stage with great people, and I can honestly say true teachers are rare as diamonds.
Anyone can memorize a one-hour speech and wow a crowd. I have always told people I never follow the “show up, eat bad chicken, sign books, and take pictures” model. Although I have delivered over 1,000 keynote addresses globally, my life has been dedicated to one desire. I want to reach inside the heart and mind of a man or woman and help them find the tools, courage, and strength to change his or her life for the better.
Power Point This
How many events have you sat subject to slide after slide of the same verbal vomit? Give me a break. How many times have you been subject to a series of memorized jokes and one-liners that are so ill-timed and disingenuous that they fall flat? Too many I suppose. Trainers who present this way give real Teachers a black eye.
I don’t need a slide or a joke; I need to hear about your journey. A teacher teaches because he or she has learned. Share your lessons, your setbacks, your recoveries, and what life has taught you that might benefit me. Can you teach from the heart or not? If not, don’t call yourself a teacher.
The Greatest Teachers
I have been so blessed to receive instruction from so many incredible teachers: Racer Holstead, Ray Britt, Bubba Panquin, Catherine Bolden, Suzanne Smart, Dr. Elaine Swafford, Shirley Cummings, Lee DuBose, Dr. Ken Blanchard, Coach Bob McKillop, and many, many more. Some of these great people have passed on, and others are still with us. They have and continue to pour themselves into others with such pure intention.
These people and others like them are my heroes. Teachers are the world’s greatest influencers. We need more teachers, and fewer trainers and wannabes with a briefcase and a power point. We need fewer people going through the motions on stage and giving a canned presentation for a payday.
“Changing Lives Through Dynamic Instruction”
Thirty-two years ago, I wrote this mission statement, and I can say without fear of contradiction it still drives what we do. Every day. If you like it raw and you like it real, you would love our work. No boring lines or memorized minutia, we reach life and business without a filter.
A writer in England described our leadership day as “a rock and roll spiritual climax packed with life-changing moments that will last a lifetime.” I’ll take that. That day of teaching was incredible, and it was held in a rugby stadium in London. What an experience.
Call us anything but average, normal, dull, or boring. We show up to make a difference, to have an impact, to ask the hard questions, to examine life, and to do heart and brain surgery without any numbing agents. We are not there to put anyone to sleep. We are there to wake up that amazing person inside of you and say, “Now that you have the tools, confidence, and belief necessary, go rock the world.”
To all the teachers out there every day busting your tails with no resources, teaching hungry children, providing emotional support free of charge, loving your kids, inspiring your kids…you are why I teach. You are my heroes.
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