3 of 7: “How to Check if People are Applying What They’ve Learned?”

“The question I have about creating a great workshop is…”

What is the best way to check if people have been able to grasp and apply what you’ve taught?

Great question.

I think some kind of pre- and then post- enrollment quiz or assessment might do the trick.

But there’s another part of the equation: you need to release the idea that you are responsible for what people DO with the material you teach.

Unless it’s something like CPR, where there are actual life-and-death implications to them learning or not learning, or there’s some kind of meaningful certification involved, it is none of your business whether they ever implement what you teach.

This was VERY hard for me to learn.

I always felt like I wanted to make sure that every single person got every last drop of what I had to give.

But that was just my ego talking, you know?

Sometimes it’s an important step on a person’s journey to buy a book and not read it.

And sometimes it’s important for them to enroll in a class and not use it.

And that’s OK.

Here’s what I reckon: you are responsible for setting up the learning environment, for creating a safe container, for giving them the very best and most accurate information, tools and resources to help them, and for providing your best guidance & encouragement along the way.

But you can’t make them pay attention.

And you can’t make them apply themselves.

You can’t make anyone do anything.

(Have you noticed that?)

But you can light the lamp.

And you can share your story.

And you never know….you just might change someone’s life.

P.S. By the way – if you enroll in Turn Your Wisdom Into Workshops and then discover you’re the person who’s not using it, just let us know within 30 days and we’ll cheerfully refund your tuition. No questions asked. And you get to keep the bonuses as our gift.)



Read good books.

Watch webinars offered by people you respect.

Listen to podcasts hosted by smart, generous people.

There are a lot of brilliant people out there giving away their
very best secrets, and you owe it to yourself – and your
business – to learn as much as you can from them.

I know the sheer volume of information out there can feel
overwhelming, but dedicating some time each day to learning
will pay off in a thousand different ways.

Consider seriously points of view you don’t agree with. What do
they know that you don’t?

How To Make Perfect Choices – Every Time

How To Make Perfect Choices – Every Time

Nags Head Easter 2011 - photo by Samantha Bennett

And the voice said, “Quit thinking you’re doing this wrong…”

I woke up very early on the Saturday before Easter and took a beach walk. The sky and the sea were the same shade of ever-lightening gray, and there was no one else in sight. As I walked, I prayed, and the voice came to me and said, “Quit thinking you’re doing this wrong.”

I stopped.

“Quit thinking you’ve screwed up. You are leading your life in precisely the right way. Your life is unfolding perfectly.

Not the way you’d planned, I know –

But still: diamond-perfect.”

And I started thinking about all the choices, events and situations that we revisit over and over in our minds, and how all that revisiting is stealing valuable energy and mind-space and creativity from NOW.

So I devised a few questions to help unlock a few of those…oh, “regrets” seems like a strong word to use…but the life choices that you still think about and feel sort of bad about.

Step One: You Have Learned Your Lesson

Perhaps you have a lot of these regrets and you really feel them getting in the way of your leading your best life. Or maybe you only have a few, or one or two. But all of us have at least one.

So pick an event from your past that you wish had gone differently. Could be anything:

A trip you didn’t take.
An apology that you bungled.
An opportunity squandered.

First, what is the Life Lesson of that event? What is the “moral of the story?” What behavioral change do you continually reinforce by dwelling on this?

That you are free to choose adventure over safety?
That you need to speak your heart?
That you can lean into the future rather than hanging back?

Good. So, how are you doing with that Life Lesson? Have you got it? Are you sure?

Think of three examples from your life where you have demonstrated an increased ability to be adventuresome, to heart-speak, to lean – or whatever your Lesson was.

I believe that you have learned that lesson. You may give yourself an A+ (or, for those of you who’ve studied with me, you may give yourselves a “C” 😉 because now, in the same way that you no longer have to recall the lesson of “how do I tie my shoes?” or “how do I safely pull my car into the driveway” because you’ve done it a million times, you may now assume that Lesson is part of you. It is part of your unconscious competence. It’s in your bones now, and you can’t unknow it.

So maybe you can afford to be a bit less vigilant, hm?

Step Two: You Did Not Act Alone

Let’s return to that troubling memory for a minute, and let me ask you a question:

Is it possible that you are over-accepting responsibility for this event?


Give it some thought.

Were there other people involved who also bear some responsibility for the way things went down?  Could someone else have helped you out a bit more than they did?

And I don’t mean to say that anyone ought to have done anything differently – after all, those other people are leading their lives just perfectly, too – but I want you to notice that you did not act in a vacuum.

How inexperienced were you at the time?

Did you have all the information you needed?  Are you giving yourself a hard time because you didn’t know then what you know now?  Can you see the ridiculousness of that?

Now write down the name of someone else who might’ve had a hand in this decision or event of yours.

And write down one piece of information that you have now but did not have then.

Do you see that this maybe was not all your fault?  That you were a part of a larger set of circumstances?  Could this new perspective maybe help you put down the whip for a minute?

Step Three: Do You Still Desire That Alternate Future?

Finally, answer this: how do you think your life would be different if you had, in fact, behaved differently?

Complete the sentence, “If I had/hadn’t done XYZ, I would now ________________.”

What goes in the blank?  Be a painter?  Be married?  Have lived abroad?  Still be friends with…?

Good.  Breathe that in.

Do you want that still?

If the answer is Yes, then what is one small (less than 15 minutes, easily within your budget) step you can take today to bring in this thing that you still want?

And be realistic with yourself – maybe you can’t move to Paris today, but you can buy some geraniums and a small photo of the Tour Eiffel to put on your desk.  You can start a penny-jar to save up for a plane ticket, yes?

Or maybe you think you would’ve been a famous textile designer now, so you’re going to spend 15 minutes researching new silk-screening technologies today.

Make it fun – a celebration – an experiment, even!

And perhaps you realized that you really DON’T want that thing anymore.  How marvelous!  Take a moment to celebrate that you “do not want what you haven’t got!”

And so maybe you are so glad that you didn’t marry that person, you decide to buy a special bottle of wine or imported soda pop or special after-dinner tea to commemorate your freedom from that choice.

Because you are here for the joy.  And to spend even one moment criticizing yourself for something that could not have gone any differently than it did is a waste of your light.

And the world needs your light.