This is part 3 of a 3-part series entitled Lessons Learned from My Kids.
One of the greatest sources of personal development for myself over the last couple years has been finding the videos from the What Drives Winning Conference in 2015 and then attending the 2016 conference in St. Louis, Missouri.
In the video below, one of the co-founders of the What Drives Winning movement, Brett Ledbetter, explains the idea of identity foreclosure.
Although you may have never heard of this term before, it is an idea so simple that a 4-year old understands it…
Last year we signed up our daughter, Hannah, who was 4 years old at the time, to play soccer. We are a sports family and often when her brothers were shooting baskets Hannah would want me to pick her up and let her shoot the ball in the basket. She loves to bump the volleyball back and forth with me or my wife. And she will often get out and kick the soccer ball around with her brothers.
When soccer practice started she was a little nervous and we weren’t surprised as she had not even started pre-school yet. She was great at kicking the ball when they lined up in front of the goal, but as soon as there was offense and defense she did not want to get in and kick the ball.
If you have ever witnessed soccer at this age you know that it is basically a herd of kids chasing the ball up and down the field. As the games started, we found out that Hannah’s mode of operation was to be just outside the herd, but always from behind and always at a safe distance.
Occasionally, on the way to practice or games, Hannah would say that she didn’t want to go or that she didn’t want to kick the ball. We would respond, “That’s okay. All you have to do is have fun.” And once we got there, she did! She would be all smiles as she stayed behind the herd.
Toward the end of the season, as we were riding home from a practice, I told Hannah that if she wanted to try something else like gymnastics or another activity we could do that instead of soccer.
Hannah said that she did not want to.
My son Jacob said, “Well if you don’t play sports, then what are you going to be when you grow up?”
She responded, “I just want to be Hannah.”
For some people that may have broken their heart. But I couldn’t have been prouder.
Hannah understands that who we are as a person is more important than who we are as a player. Identity foreclosure happens when we lose that perspective and put the emphasis on what we do as a player and the results we get (or don’t get) over who we are as a person.
Hannah is tall for her age, she does a great job bumping the volleyball, is pretty fast, and can kick a soccer ball really hard. But none of that matters if it is not something she truly wants to do and has a passion for.
Hannah is also a sweet, sweet girl with a contagious laugh who loves her brothers and her mom and dad.
Maybe she will end up being an Olympic athlete...or maybe she won’t. It doesn’t matter to me as long as she is still Hannah.
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