How much have we learned from others….and do they know it?


It is said that experience is the best teacher and there is no question that we can learn a lot from real world encounters.  We also learn a lot from being inquisitive and having a thirst for knowledge.

I believe the most successful people learn a lot from others throughout their lives and it begins with our teachers.  After our formal education, there are so many other people who offer us valuable insights, new ideas, better ways of doing things and so much more.

If learning is essential in our lives, let’s reflect on those who have taught us over the years.  Teachers, advisors, colleagues, consultants, therapists, friends, family, fitness trainers, and the list goes on.

It is likely that their contribution to our lives has been significant and maybe even profound.  Have we ever expressed our gratitude for some of the greatest gifts in life that we have received from them?

In many of my previous blog posts I have spoken about expressing profound gratitude and in some cases have provided specific ways to do so.

Let me share with you someone who taught me a great deal and some of what I said to him

I was fortunate to have someone who taught me about a thinking process that promoted both clarity as well as a process for achieving extraordinary results in both my personal and professional lives.  Some 35 years ago, Fred Jervis, the founder of The Center for Constructive Change taught me this creative way of thinking

During my yearlong journey of gratitude I visited with Fred to tell him all the ways it has influenced not only my life but the lives of so many that I have coached over the years.  Here is just a little of what I told him:

“I know you’ve influenced a lot of people, but just from my perspective, I want you to understand that not a day goes by that I don’t marvel in some way at the process of thinking that you brought to my life.  I came to tell you from the deepest places in my heart and my head and my soul how fortunate I’ve felt to have met you.  Im so indebted to you for what you’ve done for me and I want to let you know that when I am helping others, it’s paying forward what I’ve learned from you over these many years.”

I encourage everyone to start with just one person and someone who has taught you something very meaningful would be a wonderful place to start.  It could be a teacher, a parent, a colleague, or anyone else that comes to mind. It could be they taught you to love of a subject, to learn an avocation, how to live a more joyous and fulfilled life or how to maximize your talents in your work life.

Now that you have identified the person, take out a piece of paper and make bullet points of the impact this person has had on your life (you may find it helpful to get started by going to the bottom of this page and downloading a free guide to facilitate the process).

You have not captured the full power of expressing extraordinary gratitude until you actually deliver your thoughts to the person.  Whether you do it in a letter, an email, a phone call or in person is up to you.  If you have a talent for writing a poem or a song that would be very extraordinary.

After you deliver your message you will likely feel that you have enhanced your relationship, enriched your life, and achieved a peace of mind knowing that you will never have any regret in the future for things that could have been said but were not.

And for the rest of the story….your recipient will receive one of life’s most special gifts; the knowledge that he or she has made an important difference in the life of someone.

For more examples of how to create and deliver these expressions of gratitude and for tools on how to do it your way, read my book, This is the Moment.

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