If you’ve ever helped your kids with homework, explained a new piece of technology to your co-workers, or given a guest directions to your new house, you know that the best way to retain information is to teach it to someone else.
The effect is amplified when we teach from memory. For instance, a recent study showed that test groups who taught math problems without any references not only outperformed their students, but also other teachers who leveraged additional resources for help. There’s power in making yourself accountable to holding and sharing knowledge.
If you want to live out the principles of The ONE Thing, internalizing the information the book, living it out, and teaching it to others are natural next steps on the path of mastery.
It’s easy to understand a concept like “going small” from reading about it. Yet, when we try to live out the concept, we get a taste of how it feels to actually put it to work. (Spoiler: it’s harder than you think!) The beautiful thing about teaching is that it forces us to reconcile and articulate how concepts, thoughts, and experiences interact with one another. In turn, it provides us with a deeper understanding of what we’ve learned.
We realize that everyone reading this post may not have the advantage of leading a classroom. But, the truth is that everyone has unique opportunities to teach The ONE Thing in their daily lives — you just have to know where to look.
Whether you’re a manager or an entry-level employee, there’s a good chance that you meet with people on a regular basis to discuss your work.
Regularly scheduled meetings with your co-workers are a great place to share what you’ve written on your 4-1-1. They can also be a good forum for explaining how focusing on your ONE thing benefits the goals of a team.
A great way to teach prioritization in real time is to encourage your team to identify one thing you should all accomplish by the end of your time together (ideally, what accomplishment will allow everyone to end the meeting early). Asking them to prioritize will naturally cause them to consider what’s not important to their goals and begin to say “no” to those things. Having to say “no” to anything outside of your current priority opens up a lot of questions. These questions are great teaching opportunities. More likely than not, you’ll get a chance to walk someone through those concepts from memory.
Teach Others How to Respect Their Time
The “value of time” is a concept that we can teach by example.
Many people say they know how to use their time wisely, but still fall prey to moment-by-moment distractions. To defuse these productivity landmines, we often have to shut ourselves in for a while, push notifications to the side, and narrow our focus to only what matters most.
If you aren’t answering your texts or emails—there’s a good chance someone might want to know why.
Use their questions as an opportunity to explain why your time is a valuable resource. Your conversation can point out that you accomplish more when you can focus on one task at a time rather than switching gears to accommodate every new distraction. By modeling this behavior before your discussion, you’ll also be showing them how they can start to build their own bunkers.
Teaching others to respect the boundaries you set on your time empowers them to protect their own schedules. It can create a positive loop where you and the people around you support each other’s priorities.
Seek and Provide Accountability
It’s been written multiple times that you’re more likely to form good habits if you ask other people to hold you accountable. The benefits are so worthwhile that a study by the American Society of Training and Development showed that simply having an accountability partner means having a 65 percent chance of accomplishing a goal.
Still, many people are reluctant to talk about the parts of themselves that they want to improve. If you take this brave step, there’s a good chance that the person you tell will not only be willing to help you, but they might ask for you to hold them accountable for their goals in return.
By asking for accountability, you teach others how to be more honest and vulnerable. It also empowers them to lean on you for support just as you’ve leaned on them.
The priorities that you set by yourself, like filling out a 4-1-1 or time blocking your calendar, are only half of your path to success. If you want to master the principles of The ONE Thing, you have to be able to teach them to others. Join the ONE Thing community to share your teaching experiences with like-minded people, and reach out to our team about getting certified to teach individuals and organizations.