Awake at the Wheel

Exploring the intersection between work, play, and the creative process.

When Do You Know Enough To Teach?

I’ve had this conversation so many times. Maybe you have too…

I’ve had this conversation so many times. Maybe you have too…

To make money, I’ve been told, you must position yourself as the wizard. The all-knowing sage who doth bestow knowledge upon the poor ignorant masses. You must be…the guru. The teacher of teachers. The ONE!

I see this mindset in nonfiction book land in a major way. Publishers want to sign authors who proactively label themselves gods of their domain. Because they think it’ll sell more books. Far more often than not, it doesn’t.

Makes you wonder if that’s the only way.

I’ve always recoiled from that idea of the need to claim some sort of elevated status as a prerequisite to the ability to provide value. It’s never felt like the right approach for me. Because I don’t have any ego need to be “that” person. In fact, quite the opposite. I don’t want to be the wizard, the guru, the blah, blah, blah who floats on air. And I’ve been careful never to position myself as such. Hell, the final chapter in my first book, Career Renegade, was entitled, “Be Your Own Guru.”

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Why? Because I don’t want to live my life being held to the impossible standard or expectation of omniscience and perfection that wizard status puts on you. I want to live fully, engage often, ask questions, discover. I want to be a human being just trying to be, well…human. Someone who wants to dig deep into life and share whatever it is I’ve discovered in a way that helps others in their own quests to unfold.

Question is, is that really enough? To just share what you know at any given point in time?

Or do you have to be THE ONE before you can help ANY ONE?

I think not. It’s a shift in mindset. A subtle, yet powerful one. And it’s an onion that gets peeled in a really juicy conversation between NY Times bestselling author and Shambhala Buddhist meditation teacher, Susan Piver, and I in this week’s episode of Good Life Project™.

At one point in the conversation, Susan dropped this thought-provoking idea…

“Don’t teach anyone anything, help them discover something” Click to tweet

I love that frame. Because it’s not about playing God. It’s not about bestowing, it’s about illuminating.

It’s about being of service, helping others find ways to move forward without proclaiming yourself the sage or all-knowing guru. It’s about earning a living by opening your heart and sharing whatever learnings you’ve gleaned from your far-from-complete path with enough humility to inspire others to discover their own truths. It’s about the power of knowing the right questions, the right resources and the right primes, not just dropping the right answers.

So, come join Susan and me as we explore these ideas, dance with the power of mindfulness, and dive into the grace of serendipity and the joy of the unplanned life in this week’s episode of Good Life Project.

And, in the comments below, answer this question…

What can you share that’s of value today?

Jonathan Fields is an attorney turned lifestyle-entrepreneur, speaker, and author of Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance.

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