facing fear

The STRIVE Ladder

The Strive Ladder is a concept I use in our coaching every day. The concept didn’t come from an established coach or mindset guru. It came right from my 8 year-old stepson, years ago.

I was just getting to know my now stepkids.  Six and eight at the time, we were hanging out on a January morning at the park. The oldest was standing on top of a monkey bar dome with the little one half-way up the side, trying to figure it all out.

“How did you get up there?” she asked.

His response is actually something I think of this daily.

“So here’s what you do,” he explained to his sister.  “First, you just climb as high as you can. Then when you’re afraid, you stop.”

Ah, I thought. Interesting advice – just do your best and stop when the going gets a little intense. Very safe; what a responsible brother. But he continued.

“You close your eyes and ask yourself if you can go farther.  You have to listen to your gut here.

Ok, what?  An 8 year-old coaching his sister on the power of intuition.  He had my attention.

“If your gut tells you not to go any farther, you have to think really hard for a moment and make sure you’re just afraid. If you’re safe and you’re just scared, then you push against your fear and put ONE HAND on the next bar. Then you ask yourself again – are you safe? You put one foot, and one more hand. You just keep doing that until you get to the top.”

I mean, back in the day when you asked your sibling how to do something, they usually hit you with a snowball and went on their way.  This was some serious wisdom!

So who’s responsible for helping kids become mini-Rebels – these hardcore believers in possibilities?  It’s you…it’s all of you! The way you lead, teach, parent, share. Culturally, I believe we are building a world where we encourage kids to go inward and outward when the going gets tough. So thank you for being the kinds of people who help create a world where kids learn to value their gut instinct, while having the courage to speak up and voice their questions and uncertainties.

I also think this little story is a great chance to take some inspiration from our OWN inner Rebel, that kid we used to be who lived fearlessly.  At some point we always found the guts to figure out how to climb higher, jump farther, and GO for it.  How can we dig deep and take those steps against fear – one hand; one foot at a time?

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