“Do you know what that means?” I asked. “If you can dream it…”
“I can do it!” she chimed in.
So she and I went straight to the garage, and I got started taking the training wheels off her bike. Suddenly, my little girl got nervous. She said, “Dad, should we have a prayer?”
That wasn’t something I could say no to, so I asked her if she’d like to say it. She started to pray: “Heavenly Father, please bless my bike not to be tricky.”
Then she got on her bike. I helped her steady herself. On the second push, she was riding, just like she had seen herself do in her dream.
How often are we like that? There’s a vision of something we can see ourselves doing. We know in our gut that it means we can. And not far into trying, we get nervous.
That’s the point at which we have a decision to make. Do we go back to dreaming or do we get on our knees or reach out to a mentor to ask for help, then push through the scary part? (All big changes are scary, by the way.)
Here’s the thing. You’re going to crash. You might get it on the second push; you might not get it until the tenth or twentieth. No big deal. If it was going to be easy, everyone would have already accomplished it and it would be nothing to dream about in the first place. So don’t let the fear of falling or looking stupid or appearing not to have your act together stop you. Let go of who you think you are, and get on the bike. You’ll be just fine.
Oh, and one other thing. It’s important to take the training wheels off as soon as you think of it. I am certain that if I had put my daughter off and said something like, “Oh, we’ll have to get your training wheels off sometime this week,” it would have given her time to re-think. She may have easily convinced herself that her dream was only in her head and that now was not the right time. Seizing that moment while her vision was fresh was crucial.
We all have training wheels. We just call them things like a plateau or a comfort zone or “the way I’ve always done it.” We get so used to them that we don’t even realize they don’t have to be there. We may want them there because we know they ensure that we won’t fall. They also ensure that we won’t progress.
Right now is the time to get on that bike and leave behind whatever you’re doing or thinking that’s holding you back. If you’ve ever seen something different in your mind, that tells you that it can be. Jump into it right now, while you’re feeling it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment because there isn’t one. You don’t have to already be good at it or know everything. Drop what you’re doing, get out your wrench, and unbolt your status quo.
Have you ever parked your car on a lot or in a garage and realized your parking would be free if you got your ticket validated? Then you’re suddenly motivated to patronize a restaurant or a business. You’re excited for your free parking.
It has that same motivating power in relationships. Just as the parking validation makes your visit legally valid, validating another person makes that person feel valued. This is a clue to good leadership: remembering that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
A good leader knows how to spot those who will sprint and doesn’t waste effort on those that need to be poked and prodded along. It can be hard to do, especially when you care personally about every member of your team. But there’s a true principle that, if you embrace it, will help you hone your leadership skills and get the most productivity out of your team. (more…)
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