I was recently interviewed by Jennifer Louden for her course TeachNow. I shared with her some of my teaching experiences - the good and the not-so-good and what it's meant to me along the way. I wanted to share a bit of Jen's reaction to our conversation with you today.
Hi you all! I'm Jennifer Louden and I interviewed Ali recently for my course, TeachNow. I was so struck by Ali's interview I asked her if I could share a tad with you. I hope you find it as blazingly illuminating as I did.
A DISASTER FROM THE BEGINNING
Ali's first teaching gig was, in her words, "A disaster from the beginning." She was teaching at a scrapbooking convention and the company sponsoring her said, 'Just show up, grab some things and it will be fine.' It was not. "I didn’t know what to do. I was so outside of my element. I had no voice. I thought 'There’s none of me in this."
But here is the very cool beans thing I wanted to share with you: Ali's next teaching gig went great because "I went nuts in terms of preparation and figuring out what I really wanted to say beyond 'Here’s the thing that we’re going to make.' The scrapbooking world is very project based - you make a project, you’re walking people through the steps of the project and that’s the usual format. I decided that, for me, there was always going to be something more than just playing with this paper and this product. So the first teaching experience was a really good thing for me. I learned I’m always going to be prepared and I’m always going to have a deeper message."
IT INFORMED HER ENTIRE CREATIVE OUTLOOK
Ali goes on to say that first "disaster" informed so much more than her in-person classes going forward - it formed her entire creative outlook - her blog, her books, her products. "A big piece of discovering my voice was recognizing there is so much more to it beyond gluing things. Having a deeper message, an intention that goes deeper, that is what I care about. I discovered my voice by seeing there is so much more to scrapbooking for me."
This is such a powerful message, it give me chills: our flubs and mistakes are not indications to quit nor are they telling us, "Do it like everybody else." They are holy moments to dig deep and ask, "What do I most care about here? Why am I doing this? Why me doing this?"
Ali says, "Since then it’s been practice. Practicing my message and asking, 'What do I want people to take away from this?' I'm intentional when I go into any teaching event or create any course, thinking about what I want people to take away from it. I only do things I wholeheartedly believe in, that I really care about."
TEACHING IS LIVING WHOLEHEARTEDLY
Talking to Ali about teaching reminds me that teaching - any subject in any format - is always an opportunity to become more fully ourselves. By doing so, we can impart so much more than how to make a die cut or a create a compelling layout - we can impart how to live wholeheartedly and be true to our deepest values.
Thanks Ali for illuminating my teaching.
ABOUT JEN | Jen Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book The Woman’s Comfort Book. She co-created, with Fortune 100 executive trainer Michele Lisenbury Christensen, the popular course TeachNow for people who need more confidence, more income, and more power in their teaching - no matter the subject. On September 19th you can try TeachNow for free. Go here and enjoy!