Years ago I read a book by Robert Fulghum entitled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. There are sixteen things important in our lives and we learned them in kindergarten. And I remember most the very first line: Share everything.
When I reflect on my experiences as a trainer today, I am reminded of the power of his ideas. Yes, as educators, we too should share. To share, as defined by Merriam Webster, is simply to let someone else have or use a part of (something that belongs to you). We should share our materials, our time, our experiences, and our optimism. The wonderful thing about sharing is that receiving is absolute in the bargain.
As trainers, we work with a lot of materials: curriculum, syllabi, course outline, books, modules, handouts, power points, and so on. When we design or prepare those materials, we also got the information from other sources, so I think there should be no problem to share them again with others. I know some people are very secretive about information and their ideas because they don’t want others to take credit from what they have been doing. For my part, I would be glad to share for I will know if my work is really exemplary or worth modeling for others. When I share, I usually get more feedback from others, which can provide answer for me that mine are relevant, effective, or useful. To me it’s not like giving away my intellectual capital for free, because I get the generosity of fellow trainers with their shared perspectives in return. By sharing my materials, I will increase the depth of my knowledge.
Sharing is the social skill through practice and patience, and that certainly demands our investment of time. I think it is more rewarding when a two-way process occurs: one person communicates and the other person needs to understand and be in a position to respond, if they wish to. Without interaction, I don’t really think a real conversation occurs. Nowadays it is more timesaving for us to use forums and groups in our social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or LinkedIn. We can also use them to strengthen our branding if we use them wisely. (I know some people use social media just to vent their frustration: grousing and complaining all the time, which I think we shouldn’t as we are professionals). In my instance, I have cultivated the most productive relationships with my colleagues or trainees when I engage in face-to-face conversation or group discussions several times. These I mean not just an email exchange or a quick chat on FB or WA; we do need to set aside special time to do it. By saving some time for sharing, I get honest exchange of ideas and build a better rapport with my colleagues or trainees since we both want to be benefited from the sharing.
Sharing Optimism and Balanced Perspective
Trainers must show optimism and balanced perspective, which are important to our happiness. I believe that good things will happen if we are optimistic. It gives us reason to look forward to the future with positive attitude. When we have optimism, we will do everything in our power to improve the situation, and keep hoping that our actions will be fruitful.
An optimist trainer will not show fear and doubt in front of his or her trainees. Trainers will behave differently since optimism and balanced perspective give us energy and motivation to do the efforts, it can make all the difference. Therefore, we must cultivate optimism through frequent sharing because it doesn’t come easily, as life is also full of challenges and opportunities as well. When we share, we focus our attention on our innate character strengths (wisdom, courage, compassion, and so on). We must trust our own ability to deal with any situation that crosses our path and let others know the key success to do it. So, rather than sharing our perceived failures and what we don’t have, we should encourage each other by sharing good things. We will have a feel-good strategy, which I think can also be good for our immune system and success levels as well. Research has shown that optimistic people tend to be healthier and experience more success in life.
My Closing Remarks
There are real benefits to sharing what you know and have. Ideas are open knowledge that anyone should have access to. There are never any benefits in not sharing most knowledge with the people around us. I have always believed in the power of sharing ideas and have found that the more I have done this, the better our units (and I) have done. So, setting aside certain amount of time for sharing will improve my ability and my rapport with others.
We must share information freely, and never hide information from anyone. When we give away all our ideas, we create the need to replenish them, which opens the door to creativity and innovation. Furthermore, sharing our ideas with others give us access to more ideas. The people I know who hoard information tend to have stale ideas because they only share or seek innovation when relevant, meaning that their own store of information is limited and stagnant.
And finally, happiness may stem from sharing optimism and balanced perspective. All trainers’ success depends on their abilities to remain optimistic and accepting that life is full of challenges and chances that we can benefit from. We must share optimism and we can lead everyone to success or better life.
So, share, share, share.