Box of Crayons Blog


Jen Louden, Creator of the Teach Now Program

(Jen’s opening enrolment to her terrific TeachNow program. If you’re a teacher, facilitator, trainer or coach, you’ll want to take a look to see how it can help you better engage and inspire those you work with. Here are the details.)

If you’re one of my regular listeners (or readers!), you probably know about my so-called Brain Trust – a group of smart, savvy people that talks regularly and meets up once a year for a retreat. These wise people offer an amazing sounding board that helps me reflect on who I am, what I’m doing and what patterns I’ve fallen into. It’s one of the most critical tools I’ve had in terms of personal and professional growth.

Today, I’m speaking with one of the Brain Trust’s original members, Jen Louden. She’s written a gazillion books, including The Woman’s Comfort Book,  The Life Organizer,  The Woman’s Retreat Book, and Comfort Secrets for Busy Women, and is a great resource on many topics. One area of particular interest that we share is teaching, learning and change. So I invited her to share her thoughts on those important matters.

In this interview, Jen and I discuss:

  • The connection between being a good teacher and a good learner
  • Why everyone, including teachers, needs a mentor or teacher of their own
  • The adversaries of learning
  • The physicality of learning
  • Reframing the definition of the word “teacher”

(Scroll down for more in-depth podcast notes.)

Listen to my interview with Jen Louden.

0:02:07: Jen fills Michael in on how she became a writer, and how her best-selling The Woman’s Comfort Book launched her on a mission to explore what it means to live life to the fullest.

0:04:00: Michael asks Jen about one of her current works, Teach Now. She explains that she started exploring the concept of teaching, and truly owning one’s expertise, at one of their Brain Trust retreats, and expands on how far the initiative has gone.

0:05:21: Michael goes on to ask Jen about the connection between being a good teacher and being a good learner. She replies that it’s two things: a love of learning is usually what drives people to teach; and in order to continue to teach well, people must stay open to ongoing learning.

0:06:28: Michael and Jen discuss the adversaries of learning, particularly for people who already see themselves as teachers. They talk about becoming a “smarty pants,” underestimating the importance of learning through traditional leadership or mentorship, and resisting the idea that anyone else has something valuable to teach. Jen points out that it’s important to stay aware of the “blind spots” in one’s knowledge base.

0:10:23: Michael makes a counterpoint, asking Jen about people who see themselves as chronic apprentices and undervalue their own worth as teachers. This leads Jen to bring up the importance of taking action and applying learned knowledge, rather than simply taking it in on a purely intellectual level.

0:11:28: Michael and Jen explore the idea that learning only happens when people engage their bodies, as well as their minds. They talk about the physicality of learning, and the fact that “forgetting the body” is one of the greatest adversaries of learning. Jen reveals that when she teaches, she avoids keeping people seated for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Michael mentions that he has two desks in his office, so he can move around and get a slightly new perspective when he hits a mental roadblock.

0:16:16: Michael asks Jen for her advice to people who don’t recognize the value of what they have to teach. She says that the key is reframing their definition of the word “teacher,” and mentally going back to the time when they learned something they love (and are therefore now in a position to teach). Jen and Michael agree that this not only refreshes the memory of what it’s like to have a beginner’s mind, but also rekindles the beginner’s enthusiasm. They also concur that although some people resist the term, everyone is a “teacher.”

0:19:27: Michael concludes by asking Jen to direct listeners to where they can find more information about her work.

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