Congrats, you’ve recognized your gifts, acknowledged the barriers, and taken “the first step.”
So what’s next?
Start thinking like a kid.
As I pursued my passion for speaking and soccer, I went back and reflected on what I did as a kid to maximize my gifts.
To be honest, at the time I didn’t realize I was using a 4 step process to maximize my gifts. These steps were formed out of my hunger to create more joy in my passion.
Educate — step 1
Listen with your eyes 👀 and ears 👂🏽. What does this mean? Let me explain… Your individual senses are amazing, but combined, they are more powerful than ever. By “listening” with your eyes, as well as your ears, what you hear is reinforced and permanently etched as images in my brain.
As a kid whenever my coach demonstrated a skill, drill or technique, I would watch 👀 every part of his body and listen 👂🏽 to his voice, recording them both in my head so I could replay them later. Try it! It’s very effective.
Today we have Google, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on to gather information/knowledge about pretty much anything.
I had VHS Tapes! Remember those big over-sized rectangle-looking cassette tapes? My coach would give me those tapes and I would watch them over and over, pressing rewind to make sure I didn’t miss a move or technique.
Kids learn a huge amount in the first few years of their lives by listening and watching everything. Everything to them is new and fascinating, and they absorb things like a fat sponge sucks up water. They ask why and how questions a lot.
Be curious like a kid. When you are curious you seek out ways to educate yourself.
Curiosity is the key that lets us really learn.
Motivate — step 2
You must be optimistic and constantly encourage yourself. This is crucial to going beyond where others stop. Sometimes you are the only one who’s still there past a certain point and left wondering if you should continue.
Kids are often filled with optimism and the innocence that life was made for them.
It allows them to try things that adults might not. Rather than thinking they can’t do something, they simply try it, certain that they can. Over time, they begin to realize there are certain physical restrictions (no, a Superman cape will not allow you to fly), but generally, the more they optimistically stretch out and try things, the more things they really are able to do.
Scientists explain the optimism of a child by the concept of instinctual optimism, the idea that optimism is built into us from birth. We actually start out life believing with great confidence that no matter what the challenge, if we persevere, we will finally succeed. 🤔Being optimistic motivated me to not only learn, but to put what I learned into practice. Practice is where the learning really becomes real, where it moves from being theoretical to being the thing you know to be so. Motivation is the glue that connects the two. Without it you lose.
Pursue your goals with optimism.
Train— step 3
I drove my parents’ nuts throwing the ball off our tin roof trying to trap the ball like the players I watched on the VHS tapes. That’s how I replicated having someone throw me a ball to trap out of the air.
Kids have creativity built right into them. I didn’t need anyone to teach me to throw the ball off my parents’ roof. It flowed out of my love for wanting to enjoy the game more and a need for someone to return the ball to me!
Parents here's the good news: You don’t need to be an expert in anything to be a great parent, teacher, motivator, or disciplinarian.Kid’snatural creativity will work wonders if you let it and foster it. 🤔When kids are free to learn, they love learning. When they love learning, they learn amazingly fast. When they are allowed to try what interests them, they will begin to teach themselves.
Herein is yet another secret. When a child is allowed to set aside something that is no fun, boring and hard for them for a time in favor of something they’re really interested in, they will do better later and actually enjoy the thing that once was no fun, boring and hard.
Repeat — step 4
Educate Motivate Train Repeat-Educate Motivate Train Repeat-Educate Motivate Train
This final step may be the most important. As we get older and wiser, we tend to forget what’s been working, and decide to move on to something new or leave behind a piece of the process that’s allowed us to grow our gift.
We live in a world that is fast-paced, with new ideas and concepts being thrown at us daily. At every moment, something new and shiny is being dangled before our eyes.
You can get caught up in details that may not apply to you, that draw you off course from the path that was leading to your success. Be aware that such things are around you in abundance, all the time.
It’s not wrong to add new things to your life or to try something different, but remember what worked for you in the beginning. Remember when work didn’t seem so much like… work.
If ever the joy seems to have left your life, perhaps it’s because you left your joy. 😎Sometimes you need to go back and start throwing the ball off the roof again.
The Habit is More Important Than The Intensity
Remember that kids learn to walk and talk without a whole lot of pressure from anyone. That’s because they just keep trying, at their own pace, certain they will succeed… and they do.
Take time to reflect, to rediscover those simple actions that led to your earlier success.
We all want to be high achievers. We search for the newest ways and technologies to maximize our gifts and passion, but the solution may well be in your past, if you’re able once again to just think like a kid.
About the author:
John Wilson is a speaker 🗣, CLEMSON 🐅 ALUM, and an advocate for the importance of fun, play, and passion in work and life. @johnawilson25
John Wilson is a speaker, mentor, championship winning athlete, and an advocate for the importance of fun, play, and passion in work and life.
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