I love ping pong! My dad taught me how to play and we would play for hours. Literally! We would play first one to win 21 games. The way we played it was an aerobic workout. Of course, I enjoy the same relationship with my son where we've played many ping pong marathons and made lots of great memories.
The video below is of Ibrahim Hamato, who has been recently added to our Innovation Hall of Fame. Wow! What a story!
I've watched that video several times and still find it hard to believe how he plays ping pong at such a competitive level using a paddle in his mouth. Talk about reinventing the game. But it's not just his paddle movements--look at the way he moves his feet, positions his body, and plans his shots. This man has overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve his dream.
What are the obstacles that are holding you back?
Why are you not pursuing your dreams? What steps can you take to inspire the dreams of your students?
Is it Fear?
Some fear is healthy, but sometimes its False Expectations Appearing Real. Fear of failure, embarrassment, commitment, change, loneliness, .... When you look at the worst case scenario, do you find that your imagination makes your fears seem scarier than they should be? Take the time to be very clear about where you want to go. Yes, you're going to deal with difficult times and uphill battles, but you can avoid getting bogged down in the fears by preparing your mind on a daily basis to focus on the big-picture goals. Focus keeps you on the path, moving forward through the obstacles.
Your dream can produce a high ”return,” if you are willing to address the risks it requires. Not achieving your dream is usually your choice--often because you choose not to take the chance of failure. Intentionally evaluate the risks to take ownership of your future and that of your school.
I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. ― Rosa Parks
Is it Complacency?
Deadlines can create enough urgency for some, but others need a full blown crisis in order to get moving. It's okay to expose weaknesses in yourself or your school in order to escalate the importance of action. One way is to raise the expectations so high that your team can’t achieve them through the status quo. Everyone, especially you, should be accountable for success by sharing specific goals and performance data that forces them to face the brutal facts. Be prepared to manage weaknesses and competitive threats in an honest manner that emphasizes opportunities, rewards for success, and aggressively addresses those factors that are inhibiting growth.
There are few things more pathetic than those who have lost their curiosity and sense of adventure, and who no longer care to learn. ― Gordon B. Hinckley
Is it Procrastination?
Procrastination isn't necessarily about being lazy--often you can work intensely for long hours in order to meet deadlines. You postpone doing what you know you are supposed to do, always finding an excuse to push back to later what should be happening now. Self-discipline is critical to your success. Procrastination is a habit that you can beat. This deeply ingrained pattern of behavior isn't easy to break but with persistence and practice you can maximize your chances of overcoming this obstacle. Figure out how to use your natural strengths and instincts to be most productive, and build a team around you that recognizes, understands, and leverages each other's unique genius.
Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. ― Pablo Picasso