As I was beginning my journey to disrupt education, my wife worked at a prominent university as a consultant in their education division. She had access to major decision makers in the world of educational research. I was giddy with excitement to find out more about new initiatives in education. I asked my wife to check with her connections to see if I could connect with the new CEO of the division. Within a week, through an acquaintance of my wife, I was connected with the CEO on LinkedIn. I was introduced through a connection on that platform and then was stifled by a question he asked me. “Hi Peter, how may I help you?”
I hadn’t thought of that question. Ever. I thought I would be connected to this person and he would start asking questions about what I was doing with disrupting education and taking full interest in what I was finding out. I never thought I would need help. I had no answer. THe answer I gave was something like, “No help right now, I wanted to connect with you to see what innovative things your organization is doing.” I never heard from him again. I screwed up. It was a major lesson in networking.
I have met some major players in education since that time years ago. I hear the same question from them as well only now I have two answers every time. I also take a few steps of research before I interact with people. I look into what the person is about and try to find out part of their journey. I also look for parallels in what I am doing and what they have done or are currently working on. When I hear “How can I help you.” I am no longer silent. I always make sure I have two answers to that question. The answer requires me to think in terms of my goals for disrupt education. It also requires me to think about myself and what I can and can’t accomplish. Additionally, I have to know my strengths and weaknesses. Sounds like a lot of self-awareness doesn’t it? It is.
In educational systems, we do not do a good job of teaching self-awareness. I often ask students if their hero in life is in front of them and ask them “How can I help you?” they should have two answers. Teach your students this. You will definitely improve the success rate of your class.
Another way to DIsrupt Education!