Recently, I attended an event in Fort Myers, FL called The Grande Dames Tea, The Wisdom of Age, which featured three inspiring women from our community who shared their stories and their philosophies.
One of these women was Myra Janco Daniels, founder and president of The Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, FL and The Naples Museum of Art. She regaled us with great anecdotes and sweet memories, but one piece of advice really resonated with me. She encouraged the audience to “Learn something every day, and teach something every day.” I have been trying to do so ever since…
The learning part comes naturally. With the diverse nature of my clients’ organizations I am always learning something new: from geothermal solar arrays to identity theft protection to the antioxidant nature of organic olive oils — we are constantly researching and reading to be able to convey our clients’ messages to their publics. But the teaching part was a different story. Although I am an adjunct professor at Florida Gulf Coast University , and we almost always have a student intern in our midst, I was not attuned to teaching something every single day.
Now I have a new approach: be conscious of both learning and teaching on a daily basis. Inspiration came not only from Mrs. Daniels’ words of wisdom, but also from a recent article in the New York Times about The Brooklyn Brainery. Billing themselves as “cheap classes on anything and everything in NYC” they are actually much more than that.
Here they are bringing back the lost arts of tying knots and baking bread as well as offering classes in digital photography, postcard making and lots more. And people are flocking there, classes are waitlisted, proving that most do recognize that it’s never too late to learn something new. How nice to get out of the routine day-to-day and expand your knowledge with something totally random but certainly not useless. I find the whole concept very thrilling and hope we can start something similar in Southwest Florida.
For now, I learn from my clients, my associates and my PR peers. Today, I learned about Quickbooks 2011 from Cheryl Willett who taught a workshop at the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and now I know about 10 more things than I did when I woke up this morning. In turn, I taught my summer intern how to write an upbeat, exciting radio spot that can get the message out effectively in 60 seconds. I am also teaching my husband how to use his iphone.
What do we get from all this learning and teaching? There are no ulterior motives here, no hidden agenda. There’s a simple beauty in gathering more knowledge and improving ourselves every day — and equal fulfillment in doing the same for someone else.
What have you learned or taught today? I would love to know.