Back in 2009, as I evaluated the opportunity to join the faculty at Loyola here in New Orleans, I saw two major obstacles in my path.
First, I couldn’t imagine teaching what I had done for a living over the course of what had been 20 years or so at that point.
My main thought was, “I have nothing to teach! How do you teach what you’ve reflexively done simply in an act of survival if not desperation?”
Second, as someone who’d done his share of college gigs on tour with the artists I managed, I couldn’t imagine choosing to be around actual college kids on purpose.
As it happens, I’m delighted to say that I could not have been more wrong.
I have never learned so much as I have teaching these amazing people.
Every day I’m asked challenging, insightful questions for which I have to find real and meaningful answers.
I’m always being kept humble and honest because these people know how to call BS with nothing more than the look in their eyes and their seated posture. They’re masters of passive skepticism.
There’s one other benefit I enjoy from this work I do. One I never saw coming.
By being here for 10 years, this spring, I’ll have graduated something like 3,000 young men and women. Many into the city where I’ve lived, many more distributed throughout the country and even the world. All out there, doing their work.
And that unanticipated benefit I referred to?
So many of them have remained in touch with me and many of those I now count as friends.
I spent my day today with two of my class of 2012. They came in yesterday and I interviewed them for our Music Industry Forum on Monday night.
Today they spent literally all day with me, coming to all 4 of the classes I teach, starting at 9am and ending at 9pm.
I was so impressed with their grace, decency and generosity with my students — and me.
More so, I am impressed with the people they are and the work they’re doing in their own lives and careers.
I preach strategy and planning to anyone who’ll listen. But in this case, I’m now realizing one humbling fact.
I was wonderfully wrong.
And I‘m feeling grateful for having been.