I recently watched Inc.‘s interview with Dwyane Wade about overcoming challenges and found his remarks reminded me why I love being an educator and that his experiences as a student are not all that different from those of a professional. During the interview he reflected on his transition from high school to college and the NBA, specifically the influences of his environment, education, and experiences along the way. Even though these reflections were from his past, I think we’ve all shared similar feelings when we’re faced with experiences that are important to us or create change in our lives. Check out the video here.
Regardless of your background, we’ve all had similar experiences and responses to situations that occur in our lives. Below are my thoughts on the similarities between his experiences and those of other professionals.
- Searching for the missing steps to success. Many professionals set goals about goals they want to accomplish as markers of their success. Even though we can recognize the beginning of the path and can see the end goal, we don’t often clearly see the steps in between. Whether you’re a first-generation college student or have started a new job, you’ve made it before and you’ll make it again. The end result may not be exactly what you envisioned, but more often than not, it’s better.
- Managing the internal voices of optimism and pessimism. Have you ever left and interview with one part of your brain celebrating your victory and planning the future, while the other side is pointing out all of the reasons you should prepare yourself for disappointment? Everyone does this, including the high school student nervously opening a college admission letter or a professional seeing the phone number of an employer calling about their hiring decision. While you should never try to stifle these voices, you should work to make sure one is never louder than the other, and that you give reality more real estate in your mind.
- Look for what’s in front of you and what’s ahead. When we’re experiencing tough times we only focus on what’s in front of us and forget to look towards the future. We’ve all overcome countless obstacles only to have additional seasons of happiness and more trials. As an educator I often tell students to find balance thinking about their future while remaining engaged in the present. Although you should fully engage in what’s happening at this moment in life, you shouldn’t forget to nurture possibilities for the future.
- Believing in other people is always powerful. We’ve all heard that you should surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, but I think it is just as important to surround yourself with people who believe in you. My favorite thing about these people is that the believe in you without coddling you. They see the best and worst of you, and are willing to have tough conversations to ensure that you become the best version of yourself. If you have these people in your life, consider yourself blessed.
- Earning respect from others, then yourself. People are very comfortable talking about the importance of earning others respect. We’re willing to learn new things, put in extra hours, and engage socially to obtain the respect of others, yet we’re so hesitant to allow ourselves to embrace that respect. Many people privately struggle with whether or not they deserve the respect they receive. As an educator I often tell students to let those insecurities fuel their drive to succeed and professionals should do the same. Things happen for a reason, so embrace the opportunity, enjoy the respect of others, and continue to pursue of excellence. One day you’ll achieve it!