As a coach and high school teacher, one of the most challenging aspects of my job is getting players and students to step outside their comfort zone, to do something so difficult, they may fail. As a result, many of the kids I work with, struggle developing as a person because they do not take chances socially, academically, and athletically. As an adult, my life has been riddled with failure, failed businesses (this is business #3!), relationships, dreams, etc. As an expecting parent, my wife is due January 3rd , we have discussed how we want to raise our children in great length. We want to support our son in every way possible, show him we love him more than anything else, and give him every opportunity to be successful. However, in order to do that, we have to let him fail.
My grandparents created a successful Amway business while my dad was growing up and then he started an Amway chain with my mom when I was young. Regardless of your views of Amway, it created a tremendously positive environment for my siblings and I growing up. Back then, Amway released tapes of its most successful members giving motivational speeches at its events. Whenever we were in the car, up until I was 10 years old, we were listening to these success stories of how hard people worked and how many times they failed before they hit it big. As a young child, I learned to not fear failure, but embrace it and learn from it.
One of my earliest memories of my grandfather was him telling me at a very early age was, “There’s no such word as ‘can’t.’” This was taken from one of the early Amway talks in the 70’s and seared into every grandchild’s brain from an early age. He told us this, my parents told us this, and my aunts and uncles told us this. If you ask any one of my cousins what phrase they remember most from their childhood, they will all say, “There’s no such word as ‘can’t.’” It was a very interesting day for all of us when we showed up to first grade, were introduced to contractions and started arguing with our teacher that the word, “can’t,” didn’t really exist!
Getting back to my original point, failure can be debilitating. It can haunt us and shatter confidence if and only if you let it. If you try something, fail, and then walk away, that experience remains a failure. However, if you try something, fail, and then try again and again until you succeed, that experience becomes a success and you learn how to persevere and succeed through difficult times. This is what my grandfather was trying to instill in us. “Can’t” becomes the negative side of failure.
In my classes and on my teams, I urge kids to try something they will fail at or struggle with. I want to see them struggle and I want to be there to help them succeed. Our jobs as parents, teachers, coaches, etc. are to lend a helping hand when necessary and be our kids’ biggest supporters.
At Next Level Sports Camp, our coaches are experienced with creating environments that are challenging and designed to help your child develop as an athlete and a person. In order for this to be successful, players will learn quickly that their coaches are their biggest cheerleaders and are there to motivate them in a positive and encouraging way. Join our camp, July 17-14, 2017, to give your child one of their best experiences of their summer. We hope to see you there!