“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” Aristotle
In some sense I was lucky when I was 19 yrs old, I was forced to go to counseling. I was your typical troubled teenager with very poor self-esteem. Like most of teenagers, due to my poor self-image I did everything to fit in or I did the most outrageous thing to gather attention.
I was in deep therapy for over 20 months. Twice a week for 90 minutes each session, I begin to work on my childhood wound and how it affected my current life. Finally, at 22 years old I have the fundamental understanding of the self thus I began to work on the first phase of self-development. First, I had to start answering the question of my own existent and my life’s purpose. It took a couple years surfing, traveling and tons of books by: Plato, Sartre, Fromm, Freud…and a few puffs between each read. I graduated college at 23 and I was still confused about my career, but I had a small inclination towards the question of “What is my purpose of my existent”. I knew that no matter what did for a career, deep in my DNA, I was a teacher at heart.
I bounced around from surf shops to surf shops and eventually I landed a job as a manager. I has a couple great mentors when I worked at Wavelengths. There where I had my first role model of leadership. It wasn’t until I landed a job with a large surf company that I began to look deeply regarding leadership because for the first time I was responsible for more than 100 lives and I was a nervous wreck. Again, the universe blessed me with one my most impactful mentor, G Kam. I thought I knew something about leadership, but I was all wrong. With George’s tutelage, my first lesson of leadership began. This journey begins with us looking inward and it ends with us continue looking inward. I will share this journey on a separate blog but for now there are a few key main traits that I observed in all great leaders and they are: integrity, visionary, competent, transparency, vulnerability, passionate, emotional intelligent and last relentless for learning. I personally believe to be a great leader it starts with self-awareness and most leaders wear variety of hats depends on the situations and they are: a teacher, a priest, a counselor, a student, a judge.
I can barely pass my English classes when I was in high school and college. All of a sudden I caught myself standing in front of a classroom of college freshmen and sophomore delivering a speech about retail and the surf industry at Orange Coast College. To my surprise a few months later I was invited to teach at the college. Having a fulltime job, with 2 children. One was in high school and the others was in college I thought I did not have the time to take on another project. After a week of pondering I decide to take on the class. I wanted to use this opportunity to touched students at their most vulnerable time. I knew I was lost when I was at their age. I had a few requests for the dean and they were: the class had to be at night once a week…and I must be able to create my own curriculum since the current was made back in the 90’s. They agreed and Marketing 200 was borne. (Deep my heart I want to know learning is fun...and addicting.)
For 3 hours a week, it was my job somehow to reach these young lives in hoping to provide a slight light towards their career/education and life path. Moreover, I wanted to influence them towards a bigger life vision. At the beginning, I can barely fill the minimum requirement of 21 students per class. By the end of each year we had a waiting list. I guessed giving free Starbucks to our poor starved students and cussed like a truck-driver did the trick!
What I heard and witnessed from the 4 years of teaching were:
• Parents and society have portrayed that education equal monetary success or job security
• It’s ok for most students to accept classroom learning experience is boring and un-motivating
• Passion for learning is absent and it caused by teachers lack passion for their craft
• There were no class that focus on self-development or personal financial development
• Our education system does not focus on passion for learning. It is focus on memorization and regurgitation.
I am unsure if our education system are effective in getting our young women and men ready for the real world? It seems to me that we are programing our children to chase the monetary route rather than finding their true path and pursuing it with reckless abandonment. We focused too much on IQ and not enough EQ. As a result, we have a majority of our workforce simply go through the motion without any purpose or passion.
In short, I believe the best gift I have received and have learned is my deep love for learning. That curiosity mind has led me to expand my understanding of myself and eventually humanity. It is one of the secret success formulas that I also see in great companies and champion athletes. They are students perpetually and they live in a world of full of possibilities and curiosity. The Can-Do attitude derives from understanding and accepting “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”. (It’s from our great Aristotle.)
As for anyone out there happened to be in a classroom as a teacher or a manager of a team, my hat is off to you for all you do. I recognized that it is not an easy job since we must give all of ourselves every time we show up…but this is how we move the world to a slight better tomorrow. It is through our love and vulnerability that will move them…not fear.
Thank you for listening and much love