Yes, You Are a Teacher

By Jen Louden   |  8Comments|

I know, all the way down to my purple nail-polished toes, you are a teacher. As in: You have something to share with the world that you care so much about, sometimes you think you’ll burst with your love and passion for what you love … and maybe, burst from frustration. Frustration, because you aren’t getting it out there. You aren’t sharing it. You aren’t taking your seat as a teacher.


I was thrown pell-mell into teaching at the ripe age of 28 when my first book, “The Woman’s Comfort Book,” became a word-of-mouth best-seller. I was asked to teach workshops and give talks. Sometimes I spoke to seven people in a church basement, sometimes to 1,000 in a hospital auditorium. I had no idea what I was doing. I spent so many of those years – when I could have been having a blast and being of far greater service – worrying if I was good enough. Feeling like a fraud. Illegitimate.

Who was I to be teaching women about self-nurturing, self-kindness and self-love? I certainly didn’t love myself all the time. I struggled with all kinds of shadow comforts and time monsters (the things we do that don’t really nurture us or move us toward our most alive life). Plus, nobody was talking about any of this stuff then – outside of recovery circles, so I felt like a fraud and a flake. What I was doing didn’t feel tangible or important to me, even as I got thousands of letters telling me how much my work was changing lives.

Fast forward 20 years and thousands of hours spent teaching. Here is what I need you to hear now: You are legit because you care … because you are curious … because you show up … because you love what you share.

Please take a moment to let that truth sink into your heart and bones. Breathe it in.

Then, if there are any voices that say something like:

But I need a degree.

I need more experience.

I have to be smarter.

I have to be more serene.

I should be able to do tree pose without wobbling.

I’d have to be like Kris and be vegan and juice every morning and meditate faithfully. …

Please tell those voices this, “I may need to learn more to be the teacher I want to be. But that has nothing … NOTHING to do with my legitimacy. I am legit because I care … because I am curious … because I show up … because I love. That love is noble, that love is legit. And I will honor it by taking action to share what I love.”

It’s just like everything in life, right? So many messages yammering at you to question your own knowing, to doubt yourself, to compare your insides with others’ outsides, and then try to fix what’s missing.

That fixing place will never lead to honest and helpful teaching. Humble questing, the desire to evolve, asking “What do I need to learn to best teach this?” Those are great questions to ask. Fixing yourself, doubting your caring, trying to be perfect at what you wish to share? That way lies great suffering.

Your love and passion for your subject is the bedrock on which all your other credentials rest, and without which, those credentials simply don’t matter.

There have been powerful, compelling teachers whose ONLY credential was their own interest in the topic and their experience. Author of the “The Artist’s Way” Julia Cameron didn’t go to school to learn about teaching people to unlock their creativity. She created, she wrote, she composed, and she noticed the process. Natalie Goldberg meditated and wrote a lot, but it was her struggle with her own writing and paying attention to that struggle that gave us “Writing Down the Bones.” I don’t have a certification in self-care. I took my pain over having no idea how to be kind to myself and turned it into a way to help people. Yes, I did a ton of research and experiments, but so can you!

So please: Waste no time questioning your own legitimacy. It was such a waste of my time and energy, learn from my mistake! Pour that energy into learning, into your students, and into your outreach instead. Pour that energy into living the love you feel for what you wish to share. You’ll be so happy you did. And so will we!

A best-selling author of six books, Jennifer Louden leads retreats, coaches women, writes and explores life on an island in the Pacific Northwest. She co-created the popular course “TeachNow” with Fortune 500 executive trainer Michele Christensen, in order to empower people who need more confidence, more income, and more power in their teaching. Enjoy the wonderful library of free action guides at http://theteacherspath.com/to help you learn immediately how teaching can help you thrive.

Photo credit: Bill S


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8 responses to Yes, You Are a Teacher
  1. Oh Kris this is so perfect for me right now! I am a Pilates and Meditation Teacher on the Gold Coast, Queensland Australia.
    About a year ago I woke during a very powerful dream about writing a book. I had never experienced such profound clarity before, I knew this was more than a dream; this was a deep and meaningful message that I had to pay attention to. I felt amazingly inspired, empowered, and energised. So I listened and acted on this intuitive message: I began writing! Ideas and words just flowed out of me effortlessly. It was as if I suddenly began to swim with the tide of life, as opposed to always resisting and swimming against it. I just fell into the flow and went with it. I didn’t even know I could write until I wrote!
    Now my first book – Living from the Inside Out, a guide to healing and transforming your life from within is currently being edited by New York #1 best selling author, Jennifer Read-Hawthorne, and from there who knows what the adventure will entail.
    During the writing of my book, self-doubt and little demons entered questioning my credibility, which created limiting belief stories—I don’t have a PhD, nor am I a psychologist, nor do I have any writing or journalism credentials however I stayed strong, I cleaned out the trash from within, and I just followed my heart. I released the over-analysing and relaxed so that I could begin to co-create with the universe, as I was now ready to take on my role as the creator of my life and allow it to be all that I knew it could be. It’s truly amazing what miracles appear in your life when you allow them! ?

  2. The timing of this is incredible. I recently started my own business but my heart isn’t in it. I’m good at it–but I don’t love it. Last night, I fell asleep thinking about what I do love. But I kept questioning if I knew it well enough to actually teach others. Thank you so much, Jen. I’m going to go play on your website now. :)

  3. THANK YOU so much for this message! I have been struggling with my “lack of” educational credentials & that fact keeps holding me back! I have a true passion for sharing nutritional information. I read & teach all the time, but that frustration sneaks up on me all the time. I just want to spread the message. Thank you again for sharing your story!

  4. So often I have thought, ‘Who am I to …’ Yet, if we truly are divine beings, we all have gifts to share, wisdom to impart and stories to express that will help others. Thank you for another reminder ~ I am enough! Gx

  5. oh goodness good gals that the post helped! Join us Sept. 19th for a free sample of TeachNow – even if you don’t have the room for the full meal course, the free class will do more of this for you! Sign up at http://theteacherspath.com/

  6. I absolutely cannot tell you how much this post means to me. I was just talking last night to my mentor teacher about ALL of these very same things, and together we came to the same conclusion you stated: when you feel like you don’t have enough “skills” or credibility, your authenticity IS enough. I worry that I won’t have the classroom management skills to be effective, or that I won’t always know what to say when a kid asks a really big question. Sometimes I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing in the classroom, but I love these kids with something I can’t even describe, and for now, while I’m learning all the little details of how to be a great teacher, that love is enough. Thank you so much for that confirmation.

  7. I so needed to hear this today! Thanks so much for writing this post. It’s great to hear from someone who’s been a teacher for 20 years that that you felt inadequate trying to teach. Great advice that it’s time wasted. Thank you!

  8. So what i needed to hear, thank you!