This week I've been thinking about what drives people to succeed and what can get in the way. It's tournament time for fall sports and, as I've shared before, our school is often on the low end of the scoreboard. We've had a season of going to games at a number of different schools and I've been observing how fans and coaches support their teams. What stands out to me is that our fans are pretty quiet. We clap when something goes well and we yell when something doesn't go quite right, but we aren't cheering on our team in between. We aren't bolstering their confidence by letting them know we believe they can win.
This observation reminded me of an incredible learning experience I had years ago with Sarah Singer who is one of the people I respect most in adult learning. During her training, she taught us to juggle scarves. Now, I'll be the first to tell you that when we began the activity, I was 100% certain that I could not learn to juggle anything - my hand-eye coordination is pretty lacking. When we started, she showed us how to juggle scarves and assigned us a partner. Then we gave it a try. Initially our partner was asked to observe. At the end of the first round, not very many of us were able to juggle. Then, we tried it again and our partner was asked to cheer us on by saying things like, "You got this!", "You can do it!", etc. Instantly, I could feel my mindset begin to shift. It started to feel possible. On the third round, our partner continued to cheer us on and they shared tips to help us get better like "Throw it a little higher." By the time we finished the activity, everyone in the room could juggle scarves. Even me.
So I wonder, do our kids believe they can do it? Do they see that winning is possible?
And I think about that in my life and for other adults I spend time with - how do I help my kids and the people around me see and believe in possibility? In a time of such criticality, how can we continue to be open to the endless possibilities that lay before us?
Believing in possibility is what drives me. I may seem overly optimistic at times. I don't think that's the case. I have a pretty good grasp on reality. I simply believe that good things are possible for each of us and those possibilities can be realized when we believe in them, determine the path to get there, and put in the necessary effort. But we don't realize the possibilities all on our own. We also need to surround ourselves with people who will cheer us on, give us honest feedback and pick us up when we stumble.