I was reminded this weekend, during a project with my son Joseph, how “experience is truly the best teacher.”
My son and daughter-in- law have recently purchased their first home. For those who live in Southern California, you know what an accomplishment that truly is for first-time homeowners. Their home has a few projects to complete and one was to install glass doors on their bathtubs.
Being a believer in the power of peer learning, Joseph had taken time to asked friends for advice and search for videos of other DIYers on the best installation methods. We also consulted with experts who worked for our local home improvement center. Throughout the first installation, we stopped frequently to discuss the various options presented to us. Much our time was taken with reading and in some cases re-reading the directions to ensure we had a solid understanding for the proper installation process.
Earlier in my life, when I bought my first home, my brother and I installed doors on one of my bathtubs. Joseph and I talked about how I was actually one year younger than he is today when I last did this installation and much of that experience had left the recesses of my memory. It was a sobering moment for me to realize how life is unfolds over time for us.
We successfully completed the first installation and took some time to celebrate our accomplishment, but only for a few fleeting moments as the master bath room tub was next. We figured we would start with the guest bath as it would be a much less used tub. What we found was that the second installation proved to be much easier. Not because the hardware was more straight forward. It was not, as this was a complicated installation kit. Not because the directions were superior, in fact, even though the second kit was more expensive the directions were less helpful. And not because there was anything significantly different with the master tub. It was virtually the same as the guestroom tub. The key difference was the experienced that we had gained from the time invested installing the first tub doors.
There was simply no substitute for our direct experience and we breezed through the second install in significantly less time. As we talked throughout the day, Joseph and I discussed how, having completed two installations, our confidence in doing another install was very high. Also, we would be great people to have in the room helping a friend with their tub door installation!
This wonderful opportunity to help my son – Dads, you know what I am talking about – served as a great reminder for why I have devoted my life to helping business owners benefit from power of peer learning; there is no substitute for direct experience. But it can be very valuable to have a person “in the room” with you when you are trying to figure out what is the best way to handle a challenge or take advantage of an opportunity. Their experience, freely shared, can truly make a dramatic difference on the outcome of your “project”.
I hope this story helps to explain why, each month, the business owners in my community come together to freely share of their experiences for in business as in life experience is truly the best teacher.