the inspiration blog

how to build an empire (3 of 3): learn from those who know

Posted on: February 27, 2011

Sometimes people asked me how I got into coaching, to which I answer: 25 years of experience, a BA, two graduate degrees… yeah, a long time. It was very incremental, and in some ways, I adapted a lot of other techniques and was somewhat self-taught – at least, I adapted a lot of other modalities into my own brand of transformative coaching and workshops.

But honestly, the words “a long time” are key. I had extended periods of what felt like teaching myself, or stumbling around doing the best to learn. For example, I spent my high school and college years both acting in theater and on the speech and debate team. For the latter, I had very nice speech coaches…who specialized in other events, but not mine. I worked really hard and did OK, but not amazingly. I had literally just a couple of coaching sessions with experienced coaches for my events. They made a lasting impact, and helped me on my way.

I finally hit my stride my senior year at UC Berkeley when I became one of the best speakers in California and did reasonably well nationally. But when I started coaching students myself, I took all that I learned and passed it on to my students – who immediately became successful. It was gratifying to give them quickly what it took so long for me to learn.

Action: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Whatever your goal, find a mentor – and reach your goal much, much faster than you would if you were just on your own.



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