The Wisdom of Personal Experience

“The only thing there is to get from life is the growth that comes from experiencing it. Life itself is your career, and your interaction with life is your most meaningful relationship.” – The Untethered Soul

During my training to become a yoga instructor, I was taught to teach from my personal experience.  It doesn’t matter how many books you read or lectures you attend, you don’t truly know something until you experience it for yourself.

My physical disposition tends toward tightness in the neck, shoulders and hips, so my personal yoga practice is focused on opening and loosening these areas of my body. Based on my personal experience, it makes perfect sense that I am an effective teacher for people with tight necks, shoulders and hips.  I am more successful in helping them because I teach from direct experience.

This concept is even more powerful when your purpose in life is to help others.  No matter what the modality, health coach, personal trainer, therapist, etc., when you share what you know with another person who needs your help, you are providing a valuable service to them AND receiving the joy of fulfilling your purpose in life.  How cool is that?

One issue that affects many heart-centered people who want to share what they know is that they don’t know how to organize the information effectively. Knowing how to organize your knowledge is critical to ensuring your audience gets the most benefit from the information you are sharing.

The most important thing is to start off by identifying the objectives you want to accomplish.  Why are you offering this information? What do you want participants to do at the end of the learning session?  Next you want to identify key topics that participants need to know in order to do the desired behavior.  For example, if your objective is to help people switch to a gluten-free diet.  They will need to know what gluten-free means, what foods to avoid, where to find these foods, how to order when eating out, etc.  Once you have your key topics, then you identify content and activities that will demonstrate these topics.

Some people recognize they have valuable knowledge to share, but don’t have an understanding of adult learning principles or the speaking and presentation skills that would get their message across most effectively.  I have attended many lectures and presentations where I felt the speaker sold themselves short by not incorporating actions and techniques into their talk that would ignite interest from the audience and make their message so much more powerful.  Simple things, like starting off with a question to engage the audience and learn more about them or including an interactive activity because adults learn best through EXPERIENCE.

Even when you know you have the knowledge and skills to teach others, the task of finding people who want or need this information can be difficult.  It may be easy for you to pick a topic, prepare the information and reserve a location, but getting people to show up can be very challenging (and costly).  Defining who you want to reach and knowing how to reach them is another very important component to being able to share your wisdom with others.

You want to ask yourself questions like “What are their interests, hobbies, preferences?”, “Where would they typically go to find this information?”  An experience I had with using Facebook ads to reach people proved this to be true.  I wanted to reach female professionals so I targeted women with occupations as attorneys, dentists, managers, accountants, etc.  My ad was getting very little response when I decided to focus on specific interests.  When I changed my ad to target women interested in Dr Oz, Yoga Journal, Deepak Chopra, etc. the response rate took off!

In my experience, I have learned that it is THIS EXPERIENCE that makes me a better teacher and adviser and allows me to fulfill my purpose in life — teaching people how they can help not only themselves, but how they can help others.

What wisdom do you share with clients based on your personal experience?