By Jill Hope
We all have desires, and they are there for a reason. They are a prompting to reach for something that comes from deep inside your heart. It is important to look at your desires, and to discuss with your kids their desires. It is from our desires that we can set goals and achieve our highest dreams
But what often gets in the way of our children (and ourselves) reaching their goal is often due to a lack of persistence. Something gets in the way, doubt creeps in, and often the goal is abandoned.
The thing to remember is that every successful person was successful because he or she was persistent, even relentless, in the pursuit of their goal. What if Thomas Edison stopped at his 9,999th attempt at creating the light bulb? You’d be sitting in the dark!
So how can you teach your child persistence, the important quality possessed by all successful people in our history? Here are my top 4 favorite tips:
1) Help your child look for opportunities every day to move toward their goal, remembering to keep a positive outlook, since often times opportunities are disguised as misfortune.
For example, my son had wanted to sing a solo in one of the school programs. Despite his persistence in volunteering for the solo, he was never selected. However, rather than viewing this as misfortune, I encouraged my son to remain positive and not let go of his desire for the solo. Within 2 weeks of his disappointment, he was at a school function and the person designated to sing the solo was absent. The teacher asked who thought they could fill in. My son’s hand went up as did several other kids’ hands. My son was selected, and he did a wonderful job! Had he let the misfortune of not previously being selected get him down, he may not have volunteered this time, which would have precluded him from this opportunity. By staying positive and keeping his eye out for other opportunities, my son was able to achieve his desire!
2) Remind your kids of the failings and persistence of the successful people in our history. Here are two of my favorite “famous failures”:
*Oprah Winfrey: Before Oprah became one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world, she endured numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV”.
*Michael Jordan: Most people wouldn’t believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
*Taken from “50 Famously Successful People Who Failed At First” February 16, 2010 http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/
3) Encourage your child to reconnect with his goal, the desire in his heart. Have him get into the feeling space of how it will feel when he achieves his goal. This good feeling state will keep him focused and his goal alive in his heart so he is less likely to give up.
One way to help your child stay connected to his goal is by having him create a vision board. A vision board is a visual representation of the end state of his goal; the things he will see, feel, hear, and observe when his goal has been reached. Your child can create a vision board by taking a large piece of paper or poster board, and then adding pictures from magazines or including words, inspiring phrases, or meaningful icons to the vision board to visualize and “feel” the result of his goal.
4) If your child already exhibits a persistent attitude (like when she really wants another cookie, and keeps letting you know it), don’t discourage the persistence. Instead, channel that quality into something more positive.
In the cookie example, instead of getting angry or telling your child to flat out stop, explain to your child that it is good to continue to go after what you want, and you appreciate her persistence. However, in this particular case, your answer is no, and that answer is final.
Encouraging this attitude of persistence may challenge some of your traditional parenting rules, however to break the old paradigms that have created limiting beliefs in our generation and the many generations before us, we need to make some radical changes in how we relate to our kids. When we make a child feel badly for her persistence in going for what she wants, or even for wanting more, we teach her to settle for less than she desires, and this is where the limiting beliefs can set in.
Following these tips to encouraging persistence in pursuit of your child’s goals can put her on the path that all successful people in history have followed to ensure the achievement of their highest dreams.
What tips and strategies have you used to encourage a persistent attitude in your child? Please share them here!