“Your job is to 1) learn and 2) share. Never forget that.”
That’s what a post-it affixed to my computer monitor constantly reminds me. At some point during the pandemic, I realized that the world expects teachers to teach. Which means that most meetings I attend, where I’m the “teacher,” it’s my job to talk. To have the answers. To have the ideas.
Except often, I don’t. I realized I needed to fill my own tank. My material was getting tired. I wasn’t authentic in my expression. And I was self-conscious of this until I realized, “My job is to learn! I don’t have to know everything!”
What that simple reframe enabled was for me to start prioritizing learning, to legitimize it as a valuable use of my time. Instead of just accepting more and more meetings where I’m the one who’s talking, I started creating space for learning.
One thing I learned: No one else will make time for you to learn.
I had to take matters into my own hands. And what a ride it’s been! The single- most enjoyable hour of work each week is the hour I deliberately shed the “teacher’s” cap and put on the student’s. Instead of showing up to talk, I show up to listen.
It’s critical to validate learning by making time for it. And protecting that time. It’s the first thing that we are tempted to toss out the window, because often, it’s not the most urgent thing. But in the long run, it’s hard to imagine something more important.
It’s not just important for ourselves; it’s also one of the best way to exhibit and normalize a growth mindset for others, too.
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Originally published at https://www.jeremyutley.design on May 25, 2022.