“What you look for in a really good teacher is that quality of rascalness,” says Ram Dass. A rascally teacher will find your weak spots and provoke you to reveal them, often using unorthodox teaching methods. He (or she) will test your strength, stretch your limits, and when you believe you can’t go any further, lead you past the edge to new insight.”
I started this journey at Arizona State University as an adjunct faculty member teaching courses in the principles of electricity, computer applications and numerical analysis. Ironically, I’ve come full circle in this journey and once again I’m teaching in the Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University with the life experience I lacked when I began. I teach technology entrepreneurship to graduate students from all of the engineering disciplines that want to understand who they are as entrepreneurs.
Looking back, I see that teaching required more than knowledge and a keen mind. It needed experience. My mission then and my mission now are intertwined. Naturally I wanted my students to learn the subject. It occurred to me I could do something which would ensure that outcome—and which would encourage responsibility for their own results. Subject mastery was important of course but I saw an opportunity to build awareness, responsibility and self-belief as well which are the primary goal of a coach.
This was the gist of my little experiment—give ownership of results—in this case their grade—back to the individual student. I made it my mission to remind them that they decided which grade they would earn. My role was to present the material and encourage them to realize their potential.
I enjoyed teaching but I needed more seasoning in the so called “real world.”
I worked for a variety of engineering and computer companies gathering experience in systems analysis, sales, marketing, management, organizational development and business development. I excelled in sales, much to my own delight, and led my sales region for a record seven straight years.
One day I had a revelation that it was time to put away both suit and tie and venture into uncharted territory, first as a business development consultant for small to midsize businesses then as a cofounder in a startup. After four startups and a variety of business consulting engagements I came to realize that I was coaching people and organizations naturally.
I coached many executive teams in leadership, cooperation, creativity and communication using ropes courses and other physical challenges to cultivate leadership and improve teamwork. As Yogi Berra famously observed, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” I did.
Through these leadership experiences and consulting engagements I observed first hand how many of life’s most important truths were paradoxical. However, I have developed a practical working philosophy Fabric of Life issues the improves performance and life satisfaction. This is Ken of Zen.
Moving you forward!
Invest in your best self now. Your path starts here!