I spent the weekend with a friend’s 9-year-old niece. We had a grand time attending Space Day at a local museum, watching movies and jumping rope! One of my favorite parts of our time together was teaching Keileen the crossover jump.
The first day she struggled to find a rhythm. After 30 minutes worth of attempts and some improvement, still the rope never made it under her feet on the crossover. Not once.
Day two she improved remarkably. She found a rhythm that worked. At first she still didn’t succeed, but after 30 or more minutes (and many red marks on her ankles!), she got it. I wish you could have seen her face! Mouth wide open, eyes sparkling, her disbelief quickly turned to outright joy!
Her success inspired renewed motivation to stick with it. She did another crossover, and another. Her confidence soared! She continued working and by the end of the day she jumped a sequence that included 8 crossovers without missing!
Watching the learning process that led to Keileen accomplishing her goal reminded me of four important ingredients in mastering any goal.
Perseverance: Keileen failed more than she succeeded. She has the marks on her ankles and back to prove it! Yet she kept trying. She pushed through her frustration and tried again and again and again.
No matter what we’re trying to learn or master, we will face obstacles. We will make mistakes along the way. How we respond to all the things that impede our progress impacts whether we reach our goal or not. As Jimmy Valvano said, “Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up!”
Focus: On day two I noticed that Keileen was jumping with her eyes closed. This heightened her concentration and was the key to finding her rhythm. It literally changed everything!
When pursuing our desired outcomes, we must figure out how to stay focused. Perhaps it’s scheduling blocks of time to focus on one activity. Maybe it means only checking email 3 times/day. Closing our eyes may not be an option, but finding ways to maintain focus could be the turning point in finding success.
Coachability: Keileen wanted to master this trick so badly that she readily accepted my suggestions. Granted, she respected my coaching because she knew I could do the crossover. But still she showed not an ounce of prideful attitude. She willingly listened and tried methods I suggested.
None of us know it all. What sets the greatest leadership minds apart from others is that no matter how much success they attain, they maintain a spirit of humility and a teachability. As we pursue our goals, we must remain open to other ideas and input.
Encouragement: hearing constant encouragement helped Keileen to not give up. Telling her when I noticed small improvements, reminding her that she could do it, and clapping/yelling/high-fiving when she finally got it—all of this communicated that I believed in her and increased her confidence.
We all need a cheerleader in our corner. We weren’t made to go it alone! I have a business coach who encourages me to keep trying when I feel like giving up. Just knowing someone else believes in us can make all the difference. I hope you can name some people who regularly speak encouragement into your life.