I want to share with you why being “realistic” is the WORST thing a parent or coach can do. This may challenge you a bit...
“My daughter is really not smart enough to get into that college.”
It might be true, but as we are about to discover, what is true is not always helpful.
“Josh is really not good enough to play at the division one level. He needs to be realistic about his future”.
To illustrate this point I’ll give you a parallel:
Imagine you want to take on a writing project at work. Your boss says, “Terry, you are not a good writer. Stick to what you know.”
That may be true, but that is a thoughtless, cruel way to communicate it. It is demotivating. There are other ways he could say the same thing but in a way that encourages you or empowers you to choose a more “realistic path”. Someone could say a bunch of “true things” about you but that does not mean they should.
Parents and coaches get this wrong all the time and it is costing our athletes on the backend.
Back to the story. You tell your boss you want to write articles…
“Great, Terry. How did you decide that writing was something you wanted to do?”
The ‘How’ question is going to make you think deeper about it. You answer him after a pause and here is his thoughtful, wise response.
“Terrific. Here are a couple of trainings on ‘how to write great articles’. After you go through them, let’s give it a couple practice runs and see how you enjoy the process. I’ll give you honest, constructive feedback and we will decide together if we think your articles can be published. Sound good?”
If you are really a bad writer, you will self-select during this process. Learning about something, going through trainings, and then doing it and perfecting it is a long process. If you are really bad and have no future with writing, you will opt-out eventually.
What is my point?
Empowering your kids to dream big but have the self-awareness to know their true talents and self-select should be your objective.
When you know your objective, you can reverse engineer the situation.
You can’t plan your steps if you don’t know the end destination.
And remember, an objective that is worth it requires three things:
With limited vision of the future ramifications, we get ahead of ourselves and want to fix things for our kids, help them avoid failure, or give the the “right answers” because it is easier.
It is like a bad boss who is ineffective because he can’t delegate…”I’ll just do it myself because it is easier”.
The example in the story above is about a boss who was patient in his approach and began with the end in mind. He could have shot her down with “the truth”, but instead he thought ahead and equipped her with the tools to self-select.
Don’t tell your kids they can’t.
Don’t tell them they are not good enough.
Don’t discourage them from the discovery process. The point isn’t to be right or realistic. It is to EMPOWER, EQUIP, and ENCOURAGE. At the end of the day, one of our goals as youth influencers is to help our youth discover their purpose in life. Who they are and who they are meant to become.
A wise mentor once told me, “Andrew, finding your purpose will come from a process of ELIMINATION rather than discovery.”
Let them try.
Let them fail. This is a reminder for most of us. We know it, but forget it because few parents and coaches actually communicate “realism” the right way.
We are in this together to build the next generation of confident, successful, servant-leaders...on and off the field.
Dedicated to your child’s future success,
P.S. If you haven’t heard, after 12 months of writing and editing, I am launching my first book in October of this year. It will be called, The Youth Truth: How to Strengthen the Minds, Win the Hearts, and Inspire the SOULS of Your Athletes. Keep an eye out for a link to pre-order within the next 6 weeks to receive a bundle of free bonuses.