Monday, September 29, 2014

Do You Measure Up?

...depends on whose measurements you're using...

Some of the greatest "ah-hahs" that I get these days come from conversations with my daughter. I'm grateful that I take the time to engage and listen. She makes me a better person with each passing day.
This week she had questions about the perceptions that people have of each other and how those perceptions develop. I explained that views of ourselves and of others develop through family teachings, cultural norms, stereotypes, education, peer associations, and experience. I emphasized that it's important for her to keep her mind open so she can see things for who or what they are rather than for who or what she thinks they ought to be. There's no need to measure or judge - only to wait.
She said my explanation was too complicated so I tried another...

When someone shows you who they are believe them - the first time

Dr. Maya Angelou
She got it...
Continuing with the lesson du jour, I went on to explain that the way we define and measure ourselves internally is far more important than any thoughts or views that come from outside of us. She piped up right away with "What about my grades?" Smart kid.
I said "Grades are very important, but they are the minimum. Continue to make excellent grades but don't stop there. You have to decide how you will use what you've learned to create something in the world. Don't wait for someone else to define for you what that something should be. You decide."
I let that thought hang in the air as she got out of the car to go into school. I received similar guidance from my dad as I was growing up.
When I picked her up I could tell that she had already begun to make a shift in her thinking about herself. She was very excited and talked about several projects that she intends to take on that aren't related to her school studies. Why? Because she decided to...

How Do You Measure Success?

I believe that the most powerful voice we will ever hear is our own. That's not to say that we're always right about everything, but it is to say that our perspective of how successful we are is the one that matters most.
I'm grateful for a dad who instilled in us that we were "special"... I can hear sighs and see eyes rolling as reflections about kids getting trophies just for showing up come to mind. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm referring to the type of "special" reinforcement that prevents other people's thoughts (O.P.T.) from taking over our own.
With this type of "special" reinforcement in place, fitting in becomes the low bar and self-determination becomes the high bar. Why fit in when we're made to stand out with unique and countless dreams, talents, skills, faults, goals, and pathways? We're all special and we should be proud of our nuances in a "special" kind of way.
How do I measure success? From the inside out. I decide.

I demand more of myself than anyone else could ever expect

Julius Irving


External validation is part of the feedback loop that allows for the integration of lessons, observations, comparisons, and realignments where necessary. I too must keep my mind open...

Success means different things to different people based on family teachings, cultural norms, stereotypes, education, peer associations, and experience. It ultimately depends on our own measurement criteria.

How do you measure success?

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