Wow, it has been a whole week since I last blogged. A week of trudging through mud! Like so many mothers out there, I am counting down the days. I love my kids, but 8 weeks off is such a longgggggg time. They are in desperate need of some structure and routine, as am I.
With the start of the year and the impending new school year, I have been thinking a lot about the word potential. By definition it means showing qualities and the capacity to develop into ‘something’ in the future. I have recently realised the inherent dangers with using this word!!
Let me explain.
Surely it is a good thing to show potential in something, whether it is a sport, school, cooking, writing, whatever. When someone tells us we have potential to excel in something, it is exciting and feel proud to display these qualities. However, what happens when it doesn’t come into fruition? Some personalities turn this into a constant background pressure.
I speak from experience.
I have shown potential in several things. But I haven’t always reached my potential (sometimes I have, sometimes I haven’t). It is likely that most other people have not noticed, but I have. Because someone, somewhere, sometime once told me I was capable……….. and yet I didn’t get there.
I am only just beginning to understand that this is not a failure, it is a choice. I could have got there, but I chose not to because I didn’t want to focus all my time on it, I wanted other experiences. I had other things in my life I didn’t want to sacrifice.
It is easy to look back and wonder but really we should look back and marvel at all the things we have achieved.
Our brains get confused sometimes and make us think that we ‘failed’ by not reaching our potential. Instead of blaming outside reasons for our failures, or finding excuses for it, we (I!) need to realise we had the choice, we had the potential and we chose not to focus on it. Even with all the obstacles in the world, someone who really wants something finds a way to overcome them. We read about these stories all the time!!
As a parent and coach, this is a very difficult concept. How do we encourage children to reach their ‘potential’ without setting them up for failure? I guess setting realistic goals is a good starting point, but I also think we have a duty to tell kids, it is their choice and their choice alone. We can not do it for them. They can choose to follow their potential, but they have to want it and they need to understand there will be sacrifices along the way and there will be failures.
We need to show them the different paths and let them know, there is no right and wrong, just different directions.
Something I never understood until now, is that we should not be afraid of failure. The greatest of successes are often born from a failure.