June 17, 2022

Own It – The Positives

By Barry Rudesill
Some of you may not know this, but Maria is also the Executive Director of a nearby Camp. These past two weeks, I’ve been helping out with Staff Training. This is an annual event where new staff arrive and spend time learning how to work in organized camping.
By the way, if you think this is easy, here’s a short list of the curriculum: ARC Lifeguard, ARC CPR Pro, Wilderness First Aid, Ropes Courses, Teambuilding, Camper Counseling, Skits and Songs, Lost Camper Drills, Responding To Emergencies, Vehicle Driving Tests, Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting, Planning Skills Classes, Chapel, and much, much more! We tell people that by the end of two weeks, they’ll feel like their brains are leaking out their ears!
Now, when we start to teach, some Staff pick up some of these topics easier than others. For example, if you’ve never driven a 15-passenger van before, you might have a harder time than someone who has driven a tractor and wagon on their parents’ farm. Makes sense, right?
But, over the past few days, I’ve noticed something...interesting. This year, I had a young man setting up pulleys in the High Ropes Course, 25 feet off the ground. (Welcome to my weird world!) As he was practicing, I told him that he was doing a good job. He looked at me and said, “I know I could do better!” I paused for a moment, looked at him, and said, “That’s probably true, but you’re doing a good job all the same!” He muttered something and continued doing his work.
While teaching CPR for the Professional Rescuer, I had another young man look at me and say, “I know I’m going to fail everything!” I reassured him, he took the test, and he only got one wrong! (The one he did get wrong, he misread the question.) This is a GREAT score, and I told him that he did an amazing job both with the skills and the test. He looked at me and said, “But I still got one wrong!”
Sitting here, I can think of another half-dozen times in the past couple of weeks when people told me that they couldn’t do something, they wouldn’t be successful, they were sure they were going to mess it up, etc. All-in-all, I’m looking at a very talented group of young people...and feeling down! They are brilliant, they are talented, they are caring, and they are learning! But, according to them, it’s not fast enough, not good enough, and not “perfect” enough.
If you’re like that, let me share with you a few quick thoughts about this:
First, don’t worry about what anyone else can do! We can ALWAYS find somebody smarter, more talented, more “beautiful”, etc., if we waste enough time looking for them! But just because someone else can do it better, does that mean that what you can do doesn’t matter? No! But if you spend your time focused on these people who are “better” than you, you miss out on what you can do here and now!
Second, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging what you CAN do! I worked with a young lady in Michigan who had a long list of things she “couldn’t do”. (Actually, these were simply the Self-Talk and Core Beliefs that others had given her.) At Camp, she began to discover her true potential! One day, she reflected on what she had done, and concluded it with, “I can do all of those things!” That statement isn’t pride; it’s a fact. Pride says that you’re bragging about how awesome you are; facts are simply facts. Be honest with your true abilities and be willing to admit to yourself – and others – what you truly are capable of.
Third, learn to say “thank you”...and listen! It’s something a lot of people – myself included – struggle with. When someone comes up and says something positive about us, we downplay it or brush it off. The correct response is to learn to say “thank you”; then, when you’re by yourself, go over what the person said to you. Why? Well the “thank you” is because it’s the polite response. (Hopefully that was obvious!) The “taking time for reflection” part is because they appreciated you enough to say something that you did mattered to them. If what they said was true – and you have no reason to think otherwise! – then think about it and compare it to your own Self-Talk and Core Beliefs. You may find that you have some rewriting to do!
In The Trek, we talk a lot about owning our choices, owning our negative behaviors, etc. Starting this Summer, let’s try owning the positive things we do, too!
As always, we hope you enjoy your journey!
- The Trek

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