What prevents us from achieving our dreams?
“…I’m not old enough to play baseball or football. I’m not eight yet. My mom told me when you start baseball, you aren’t going to be able to run that fast because you had an operation. I told Mom I wouldn’t need to run that fast. When I play baseball, I’ll just hit them out of the park. Then I’ll be able to walk.” (Origin unknown)
I’ll take attitude over skill in the workplace almost without the exception. (One exception might be if I ever need some form of surgery, I would prefer the surgeon have the necessary skill vs. just magic believing he can figure it out). During the past several years our organization has provided an activity that not only exemplifies the importance of attitude but also has changed some of the participants forever. I share this with you not for the purpose of shameless promotion but rather to provide an example, as you will see, please read on.
I have been speaking about attitude and skill a great deal during the past years to some of the finest organizations in America. The thrust has been to convey that many of the challenges we face, and will face in the future, will not be of a technological nature. In other words, in the highly technological world in which we live, there is technology to assist us in accomplishing almost anything we will ever choose to do. Put a man on the moon? Absolutely. View a satellite image, of your home, on demand, from your desktop computer. Available. Know the whereabouts of your children, 24-7 – give them a cell phone with global positioning technology. Consider a new career and you will find some form of school and education available to you – night school, day school, on-line school, etc. And even in the field of technology, arguably the best innovations come from ideas and a “can do this” attitude. The fact is, you can choose to do or become most anything your heart desires and there will be some technology out there to support you.
So what prevents so many of us from achieving our dreams, the level of success to which we are capable? The challenges that most of us face are not of a technological nature, but more of a psychological, perceptive nature. It comes down to what we believe. In our work with organizations, we offer a board breaking opportunity in which participants are shown the technique for breaking a board with their hand, (we refer to this event as our “Board Meeting“). We know the participants can break the board as we have worked with children, possessing no special training, as young as 12 who have successfully broken the board. However, we have also worked with 6’2, 240 pound men challenged with breaking the board. Yet, it seems inevitable that a 5’3, 105 pound woman will follow the male, and she break out and crush the board on her first try. The difference? Believing. Simply believing.
As to the children – they have yet to define their limits. When it comes to adults too many times before we ever attempt a goal, we will have decided whether we will succeed. However, in both cases, during our Board Meeting, on conveyance of our belief in them, and their ability to break the board, the child and adult will act confidently and the result is a broken board.
There will be the occasion when participants simply cannot visualize themselves breaking the board. Yet, these same individuals know it is possible, after all, they are watching others break the board one after another. Yet they simply cannot see themselves successful at the act. These same folks though, will make several attempts and whether successful or not, I can see in their eyes their desire, just not quiet the belief. Even so, it is exactly these folks we need working with us. These are the types of people, who may not initially believe yet have the fortitude and determination to stay in the game and in this case, whittle at the board, until they experience success. Essentially, becoming the little train that could and represent the folks who eventually join the elite group of folks who simply believe.
About the author: Charlie Selcer has provided organizations with employee training and development through Strictly Success Inc. for over 15 years. Strictly Success is a U.S. based employee training and development company for both the public and private sectors including some of America’s finest Fortune 1000 companies. Strictly Success specializes in high performance teams and teambuilding, employee motivation, employee accountability and change management.