What makes you so awesome?
Are you kind, gentle, strong, resilient, caring, assertive, hard-working, reliable, honest, practical, responsible, loyal, mature, creative, consistent, appreciative, capable, quick, sensitive, perceptive, patient, thoughtful, fit, trustworthy, motivated or versatile?
What if you asked your students or those you work with what makes them so awesome? What would their answer be?
I am choosing to assume that you and they are all awesome in some way – if not in many ways. What we choose to assume about people matters.
Many times we approach the improvement process with ourselves and others by identifying weaknesses or areas of need and then working on those. While we shouldn’t ignore our weaknesses, solely focusing on them is not the most helpful. What we focus on most can eventually become our reality and what we believe about ourselves or others.
There are numerous theories or approaches that focus on personal strengths, rather than weaknesses. The strategy with most all of them is to identify our areas of strength and then work to capitalize on them. The idea is to celebrate what is already awesome and figure out how to replicate it consistently over time. This approach taps into what motivates us to do good and be good – pride, self-worth, feeling valued and being a positive contributor. When we feel good about who we are and what we do, we are much more likely to work harder and do better.
I assume you serve and work with students and parents who already know what their positive strengths are. But, some of them are reserved and they go below the radar. They certainly don’t walk around tooting their own horn. It’s important for you to create opportunities for them to share their talents and passions and sometimes “toot their horn” for them.
You have other students who don’t have much confidence, aren’t aware of their strengths and they don’t view themselves as awesome. You need to build them up. If you are able to recognize their awesome qualities and validate them consistently, they will more likely view themselves in more positive ways and act differently.
I also believe that when you sincerely ask someone, “What makes you so awesome?”, it sends a strong message to them about you. I’ve learned that when you assume good things about others, it serves to strengthen your relationship with them. It characterizes you as someone who cares about and appreciates them and it can reinforce a relationship of trust and mutual respect.
Try embracing this mindset as you are interacting with your students or others you interact with on a regular basis. Each of them adds value, has something to offer and makes your classroom, group, workplace, organization or community stronger because of their awesomeness.
Michael Jordan was a great basketball player in the 80’s – even winning an MVP award. But his team didn’t start winning championships until the 90’s. That is when he started making the players around him better.
YOU and all of your “awesomeness” can and will make a difference in the lives of others. But, you will make an even bigger impact if you recognize and validate what makes those around you also awesome. Validate their “awesomeness” at every turn and let them shine. We’re not interested in individual MVP awards. We’re interested in team championships!
Now, let me ask you again, “What makes you so awesome?”