Are you in kindergarten learning from a first grader?

In business, we learn two ways through mentors and mistakes!   Sure, we can take classes, get certifications, degrees and even turn around and train the trainer, but…the real learning comes from the experience!    One of the biggest business myths (in my opinion) is all you have to do is read a book or write a book and you now have the ability to charge people for what you know.  But do you REALLY know, what you THINK you know?    Yes, I wrote about a book called Why Should I Hire You?, but I had a degree in Business Administration (with a concentration in Human Resources) an industry certification, (Professional in Human Resources) and over 10 years of experience in Human Resources when I wrote it!

In the world we live in (this damn economy), it’s very common for people to go from employee to entrepreneur {often a synonym for unemployed, coach, consultant} to expert!  But the reality is, none of us can truly gain expert level knowledge after 1 year of anything.   Yes, there are viable CERTIFIED coaches and VIABLE consultant businesses, but if your coach or consultant has gone from EMPLOYEE TO EXPERT IN ONLY ONE YEAR, then it’s likely that they are learning the ropes at your expense!  It’s great for  ANYONE to advance with degrees and designations to add to credentials and credibility, but the key  to success is learning from those who are smarter than you!  Yes, there are many kindergarteners who may be a bit smarter than a first grader, but why entrust your future to a first grader (someone with limited experience) when you have access to a college graduate (someone who progressed through all levels of education and has real world experience).

Below are a few things items found on a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist:

Expressive and Receptive Language:

  • Understands vocabulary related to the position, direction, size and comparison

Translation:  Is the person you are learning from experienced in the service you are seeking (more than 1 year)?

Approach to Learning & Cognition:

  • Retells a simple story after listening to a story with pictures

Translation:  Is the person you are learning from  equipped (and willing) to given you a written “problem solving” solution after you’ve presented your problem to them – even if that means referring you to someone else?

 Phonological Awareness and Print Knowledge:

  • Recognizes own name in print (I think this was my favorite)

Translation:  Is the person you are learning from  an INDUSTRY expert (not just on social media or their personal website) and recognized by others as such?


  • Demonstrates an understanding of “adding to” or “taking away” using objects up to five.

Translation:  Is the person you are learning from “adding to” your success and “taking away” your problems with results?


  • Demonstrates independence in personal care.

Translation:  Is the person you are learning from in good standing in social groups, professional groups and respected by their peers?

If you answered NO to more than one of the above translations!  You might be working with a first grader!

Kindergarten Checklist Source

This article was written by

Stephanie C. Harper, PHR, CCP, CHRM is a certified human resources professional by trade with more than 20 years experience in the field. An author, career expert, speaker and radio host she is also the Founder and Publisher of CAREER Magazine. She has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Greater Diversity News, Trinity Broadcasting Network and the Steve Harvey TV Show (to name a few).

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