When I was in high school, I had a math teacher named Mr. Brown, and he truly cared about his students! I remember him telling us that the only way you could fail in his class is if we refused to try! He backed that up and always made sure that the day before a test, after school, he would open up his classroom to anyone who would come. He would offer a general review, a tutorial, and a time for Q & A. He did this to help us set a course for improvement!
I was wrestling with my own fear of failure because I knew the importance of a good grade in Math and what that meant for setting me up for college. Mr. Brown understood that! So I took advantage of that time to better myself for my future.
Since then there have been times in my life when I didn't know what success looks like to me, and my fear of failure would inevitably creep back in. The truth is that it looks different to each and every one of us. But the way we define success and how we go about achieving it implies a standard or value system whether it is self imposed, others imposed, or divinely inspired.
Let's be honest, we don't achieve success by accident, and we don't reach dreams by doing nothing! If we have any hope of success, we must understand that it involves a process. There are questions we need to ask ourselves and be willing to dig deep to find the answers. That is what will determine our drive and how serious we really are about pursuing those goals to reach what we consider to be successful.
By paying attention to what Mr. Brown 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. My teacher understood that the principles he was teaching would be applicable in his class, in my life, and in my future. Here is what I learned that still helps me conquer my fear of failure:
Submit to the teacher and the process!
I must be willing to listen, learn, practice, and apply what is taught, then I will begin to see progress in the process.
In this case, Mr. Brown was the 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.
Count the Cost!
Understand that there will be a cost or investment!
It was a sacrifice of time for both Mr. Brown and me time and the things that either one of us would rather be doing. I understood 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 and he made himself available to anyone and everyone who wanted the extra help by sacrificing things that he would rather be doing!
Go the distance!
I could be as good at Math, as much as I was willing to allow myself. It was by seizing those opportunities of after school tutorials and pre-test reviews not just once a week or every day in class, but beyond the class itself. I wasn't the best Math student, I had to work harder than some of the others. But I still needed to heed the instruction and put it to work and not just for the test.
The benefit to myself and to others! It isn’t just about me - but how I help set others up for a win!
Mr. Brown cared about others' successes and 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!
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 he sacrificed personal time and 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 still reflect on that and I am grateful for his heart, his mindset, and his devotion to his profession as a teacher!
Thank you Mr. Brown!
That’s Gonna Leave A Mark!