Fear of failure is something that we all wrestle with many times throughout our lives. I had a high school math teacher named Mr. Brown, and he was a teacher that truly cared about his students! I remember him telling us that the only way you could fail in his class is if you refuse to try, and he always made sure that the day before a test after school he would open up the classroom a tutorial on the principles that will be covered on the test and a general review. He would also take the time to answer questions! He did this to help us be able to get better than a D, or to improve to a C, maybe even a B, or even an A if we were willing to work hard enough.
This was a great lesson in my life! I so appreciated that he cared more about setting his students up for success than he did about watching them fail. He not only said it but took action to do everything on his part to secure our success in his class! He invested serious time and energy in the students that wanted to learn. I reflect on that and I so appreciate his heart, his mindset and his devotion to his profession as a teacher!
So many times we set ourselves up for our own failure and we get in our own way. Sometimes we don't even know what success looks like, and it looks different to each and every one of us. But it does imply a standard, whether it is self imposed, others imposed or divinely inspired. It all depends on what you're willing to do to reach that success. And that involves the process of setting goals, of teaching, training and practicing until you can perform without a thought process. We don't achieve success by accident, and we don't reach dreams by doing nothing if we have any hope of success.
We have to be willing to first count the cost. We have to ask ourselves the questions:
What is it going to cost me in the area of time, energy, and resources?
How much am I willing to spend myself to get to the place where I want to be?
When we start to ask these questions of ourselves and dig deep to find the answers, that will determine our drive and how serious we really are about pursuing those goals to be what we consider to be successful.
I am so grateful for what I've learned from Mr Brown and it repeats itself, day in and day out! The lesson he taught wasn’t just about Math, it was a life principle that reflects a value system that guides the way that he lived his life.
By paying attention to what he said AND what he did showed, me that I needed to recognize and define what success looks like to me. I wanted to understand the process of goal-setting that allows me to see my progress.
I learned that I needed to submit myself to the teacher and the process!
Mr. Brown, the one who was an authority on the topic of Math, and I knew that he had a desire for my success as a student and would guide me with instruction to achieve it. If I'm willing to listen, learn, practice, and apply what he is teaching I will begin to see progress in the process.
Another lesson I learned is that there will be a cost or investment!
It was by seizing those opportunities of after school tutorials and pre-test reviews that it was important to invest in myself. It cost me time and opportunities that I would rather be doing, but this was important to my future and I didn’t want to fail by not even trying! He knew who came to the tutorials and what their grades were in his class and he made himself available to anyone and everyone who wanted the extra help by sacrificing things that he would rather be doing!
I also learned that it wasn’t about just me - I wanted to help set others up for a win!
Mr. Brown cared about others' successes and backed it up with action to help set them up for a win. He didn’t let the failures of the past determine the successes of the future for any student! What an incredible way to look at people to help them to become the best that they can be!