5 Tips on Preparing Young People for Greatness
Greatness comes in many forms and is quite subjective depending on an individual’s age and abilities. For a child overcoming anxiety, greatness could be winning a public speaking competition or finding the courage to confront a new fear. For others, greatness may reveal itself through academic or sporting achievements, kindness, creativity or thoughtful leadership. In any case, discovering one’s unique strengths or passions is easier with the help of a caring coach, an attentive teacher, or a dedicated parent.
According to a recent survey of Australian students in Year 4 to 12, parents and teachers are the greatest influencers of a student’s sense of satisfaction and fulfilment (the State of Victoria, Dept of Education and Training, 2017). Therefore, parents and teachers need to give sound advice on achieving greatness as defined by the child.
Leadership expert, Robert Kaplan (2013), developed a roadmap for reaching potential. In brief, he suggests greatness is achieved when we know our strengths, take the initiative and connect our daily actions to a clearly defined goal. For most children, defining a goal is easy but taking the initiative to make it happen is usually dependent on the adults around them. That’s where we come in!
Here's what you can do:
- Foster their self-belief. For example, if you know a child who aspires to be a professional soccer player, help them find a great coach or coaching clinic. With more left-of-centre skills outside the areas of sporting or academia, please keep an open mind to the activities available that might help push their strengths to new levels. Show them that you believe in them and make it happen!
- Research together. Show young people how to take the initiative by helping them to research and connect with experts in their field of interest. A child with a passion for making robots would be forever empowered if you showed them how to contact the Head Inventor at Battlebots. Imagine if they said yes to a Skype call?
- Use a wide-angle lens. Think broadly when it comes to inspiring young people. Be proactive and organise a range of guests to visit your school to spark an interest in every child. These could include artists, refugees, adventurers or someone with a “diffability” pursuing a passion. You never know when inspiration will strike!
- Set an example. Take on a challenge of your own, and you will inspire others to do the same. Show some initiative and take steps daily to reach your goal. Share your journey’s highs and lows with the young people around you and make haste towards your destination.
- Work together. Challenges aren’t meant to be simple, but staying focused on the task at hand is easier when those around you are doing the same. Achieve greatness among your classmates, family or friends, and your success will be even sweeter!
Our online Performance Psychology program Power Up! has been specially created for kids who want to push their performance skills to the next level. Power Up! gives them the power to: build self-confidence, cope with the pressures of competition, overcome self-doubt and negative self-talk, set goals and make plans to achieve them and maximise performance in any chosen field.
View article references
- Kaplan, R.S. (2013) What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential.Ebook. HBR.
- Right School-Right Place (2017) State of Victoria. Department of Education and Training (Vic).