When the Teacher Becomes the Student

I have a belief: We are all teachers, and we are all students.

This was never more clear to me than in the past week when I was reminded of how I am always learning, even while I’m teaching… sometimes on the exact same thing.

So, what happened?

Well, for the past few weeks I have been on the first leg of my inaugural book tour for my new book What if..? How to Create the Life You Want Using the Power of Possibility. Over 24 days, I traveled up and down the eastern seaboard from CT to VA, meeting with media, conducting events, and speaking with individuals and organizations. I have been immersed in imparting the tools and theories I share in my book for creating the life you want through manifesting and authentic alignment. One aspect of this includes teaching others how important language is when using the law of attraction to create what you want.

And that’s where my learning opportunity came in: I had made my own mistake, and I didn’t see it.

During the past couple of years, as I have been focusing on the short- and long-term goals for my work, I have been using two very specific phrases to describe what I wish to happen. The first phrase was “grassroots,” which I used to describe how I envisioned my work unfolding and reaching a wider audience.

Well, have you ever seen grass grow? It’s not the fastest event on the planet. So, my using this phrase has actually set a nice SLOW and limiting process in motion, when what I really meant to say was “organically.” I would like my work and audience to grow organically – meaning, naturally, and without influence from anything fake. This seemed like an easy fix.

However, the other phrase gave me greater pause, because for the last 6+ years I have used it quite regularly, without realizing the limits I had set on myself.

Since 2009, the motto for my blog and coaching practice has always been:

“Changing the world, by changing lives, one person at a time.”

I believe this – I believe that we change the world by changing ourselves. I know this to be both possible and true. Over the years the core remained the same, though I have modified it slightly:

Changing the world, by changing lives, one word at a time.
Changing the world, by changing lives, one moment at a time.
Changing the world, by changing lives, one word, one moment, one person at a time.

That last version was the one I have been using most recently. But I am now changing it again. Here’s why:

I now realize that I have been limiting myself by using the phrases starting with “one.”

Even though I know that we create lasting communal and global change by starting with the individual, I see that I have limited the scope of my work by ostensibly saying: I only want to do this one thing at a time.

Therefore, the Universe’s ability to help me create my platform and reach a wider audience was restricted by my words. I asked, and they complied. As a result, some of my events these past 2 weeks have had only two or three people at them, instead of the projected 30-40, which dumbfounded me.

Naturally, I felt all the associated human emotions of failure, frustration, and doubt. I questioned whether what I was doing was right (don’t worry, I know it is), and exploring what I could have done better.

Gratefully, I always quickly circled back to something my colleague, José Stevens, shared with me, “even if it’s one person at your table, you offer them your mastery.” And I do, lovingly and joyfully. I know in my heart, and from years of experience, that the one person in front of me is the one that needs what I am offering, and I honor that. I am grateful for those opportunities and value them.

Simultaneously, it was frustrating to be on tour, have realistic expectations based on feedback for bigger gatherings, and have only “one” person show up. And yet, that was exactly what I had asked for… for years!

So, that’s where I found myself one afternoon last week as book tour was coming to a close. I meditated in my friend’s yard, grappling with my frustration and fear, as I stared at myself. With question marks swirling in my head, I suddenly realized what I had done:

I limited myself to “one person at a time” through my choice of words. Holy cow!

The minute I understood it, I sat in silence, awe, and humility. The teacher became the student in a nanosecond. I know the importance of words (heck, I teach this!), and yet I was blind to my own word choice.

On some level I suppose there was a sense of honor for me in the words I used. However, I also now recognize that they are out of alignment with my mission and path – with what I am called to do. Of course, it’s possible for me to go about my work one person/event/word at a time, but I think the earth is evolving faster than that, so I needed to get on board.

And I did.

In the end, it came down to reconciling my mission (changing the world by changing lives) with a limiting belief (“one person at a time”). Therefore, I have modified my phrase to something more clear, expansive, open, and fueled by possibility:

Changing the world, by changing lives.

This simple adjustment invites the Universe to figure out the “how” while allowing me to stay in alignment as I continue to show up in every aspect of my life, as both teacher and student.

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