“And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
How are you playing small? Is it in the way you think? Do you place barriers in front of thoughts or ideas even before you have considered them? Do you let your fears act as barricades? Maybe you have recurring scripts running through your head that keep you within the confines of your ‘safe-zone’.
We all experience these thoughts; it’s what we do with them that matters and can impact our quality of life.
Within my private coaching and when working alongside educators I come across men and women who are living according to “scripts” they have told themselves in their childhood. “I’m not good enough, I’m no good at… I can’t do…”. They have clung to these stories like a golden goose; precious messages to carry with them through life. How often do we hold these scripts away from us, take a long look at them and consider “Are they true? Are they serving me?”.
A conversation with a young lady in her early teens highlighted how we cling onto our stories, refusing to challenge them. In her second year at high school I had the opportunity of crossing paths with her. She was in a maths class, sitting there, not doing much at all. The lesson was on fractions. Sitting beside her I asked how she was getting on. “I can’t do fractions” she commented to me. “Gosh I said. Since when did you make the decision that you couldn’t do fractions?” She looked at me with confusion. I repeated “Since when did you make the decision you couldn’t do fractions; was it in Year 5, Year 6?” “Oh about year 6” she said. “Ok” I said, “So you have spent the past 4 years living the decision that you don’t know how to do fractions”. She looked at me with a suspicious look in her eye. I left her to consider our conversation and went on to assist other students.
A few weeks later I was back in the class. This time I heard a voice call “Miss, Miss”. I went over to it, and found it was the young lady I had conversed with a few weeks prior. “Guess what” she said. “What?” I replied. “I can do fractions now” she proudly announced. “Wow, how cool for you!” I responded. “What made you come to that point?” I asked. “Oh my thinking was stink Miss!” she replied.
What are the scripts you are choosing to live by? Are they serving you? Are they allowing you to blossom…or are they helping you to keep playing small and scared?
As educators we need to check our own thinking first and foremost, then play vigilance towards the thinking of our students. It is our duty to assist them to reframe their thinking..to help them break-down scripts from their past and rewrite their future. Help them to do this for themselves, so they are equipped to become lifelong learners who see themselves as successful because… Playing small doesn’t serve us (or our students) at all!