The world is full of mixed messages.
It’s not like it wasn’t before Covid19, but it certainly is now that we are in the thick of it. I feel inundated by both of these truths:
This is an unprecedented time to accomplish all of the things you ever wanted.
This is an unprecedented time and it is enough to simply survive.
On Saturday, I signed up for a virtual conference with Dave and Rachel Hollis. I have a notebook full of takeaways, but like the mixed messages above, there were things I loved and things that made me uncomfortable. This one bit of Dave’s speech did both:
“You do not yet have the skills for the life you say you want five years from now, because none of us have yet what it takes to be there….”
Um, okay. That’s a slap of reality. All the work that a person can put into their development as a human, isn’t enough? Won’t ever be enough? Then why are we even trying, if we are perpetually unqualified for what we want to do? <collapse in puddle on floor now>
But he finishes with this.
“…and the beauty of confidence is that it’s something that is built in the *journey to there* as long as we are willing to go into a position of trying and failing and learning.”
And there it is.
It’s everything that I have learned about courage and vulnerability and resilience and innovation over the past few years, and I know that I am reading and listening to the right people. I feel like I’ve always had a growth mindset, whether it was learning to play hockey at 33 or going back to school at 42. I love to learn. My mom was telling me stories recently that reminded me that I was always this way, part of it in my genes and part of it formed in the freedom (and isolation) of farm living in the 1970s.
But is that something that can be learned? Fostered? Encouraged?
Of course. That’s the whole point of a growth mindset! I know that. And I am quick to reinforce students when they get stuck in the “I can’t” fixed mindset to redirect that to a “I can’t YET.”
But what can I actually DO to provide more support to others?
It was John Maxwell (I think…my notes are pretty harried) that said something that really hit home.
I need to be a courage companion.
I love that.
I often think of the quote that floats around the internet, “People who feel appreciated will always do more than you expected.” Part of me hates that wording, that by appreciating people, you are subliminally hoping to get more out of them. Because that’s selfish and self-serving.
I wish it read, “People who feel appreciated will always be more than they expected.”
I know that is true for me. When I feel valued and encouraged, I am more confident. More confidence makes me feel capable. And when I feel capable, I am more willing to be vulnerable, and in turn, courageous, which leads to risk-taking and innovation and....well, you get the idea.
In our book club, we discussed this week’s chapters from Dr. Jody Carrington’s Kids These Days, in particular her Five Keys to Reconnection. This is what a courage companion looks like to me.
1. Show interest in things they care about. Real interest.
2. Get down to their level.
3. Say their name. Look in their eyes.
4. Food and drink. Regulating strategies, not rewards.
5. Proximity. Don’t leave them, especially when they tell you to.
I need to be the person who fills other people up with the courage they need.
I need to be the person that is a listener, not their problem-solver.
I need to model what courage looks like, sounds like, and feels like.
Connection before direction. Also Dr. Jody’s words.
Somewhere in my notes, I wrote this: “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision. Leadership is courage. You’ve got to embrace it first before you ask anyone else to do it. It is no one else’s job to carry your fear.”
I get that. But I also know from reading Dr. Jody Carrington’s work, that if the ‘people holding our babies aren’t okay, then they aren’t okay.’ And if the people holding all the rest of us (politicians and senior health officials included) aren’t okay, then we aren’t okay either.
Which is why, sometimes we need to set our egos and fears and hypothetical worst-case scenarios down, and just ask: Are you okay? *Tell me more. (*Again, Dr. Jody lol.)
Because if you’re nervous about getting it wrong, then you’re making it about you. (My notes are bad, but that one for sure was from Rachel Hollis.)
Since I’ve spent this whole blog post stringing together quotes from other people, let me finish with one more. Definitely John Maxwell. “Courage is not something you store up. Courage is something you use up.”
As we enter another week of our altered lives managing the mixed messaging we are surrounded with, and managing both successes and struggles of work and home, be courageous.
But most of all, be you. In both crazy and non-pandemic times, that’s more than enough!
Take care everyone.
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