One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received came from a college professor who admonished a class of novice teachers to “expect your students to do well; encourage high goals and your students will invariably do better than you and they expect. While they may not achieve 100% of every goal, results will always be better than if you set the performance bar low. By believing in your students and encouraging them to excel, you can help them to grow and achieve.
We’ve all had demanding teachers (or employers) that expected more from us than we thought we could deliver and the result—if we put in our best effort—is that we develop strengths, knowledge, skills and courage we didn’t know we had.
Speaking of reaching higher, what would prompt someone to put life and limb at risk by being hoisted 30 feet up into the air? Since I’m terrified of heights, you might be surprised to know that I’m the one in the red shirt making a repair at the top of the mast. Here’s how I justified the decision to ascend:
1) The repair was minor but of a critical nature—it had to be done for safety reasons.
2) My low weight made me the best candidate for the job. Everyone else was significantly heavier than I and, therefore, much harder and riskier to winch up (manning the winches takes amazing strength).
3) Safety was a primary consideration, and the bosun’s chair I was seated on was attached to two lines: the main halyard (normally used to hoist the main sail up the mast) and another line for safety.
4) Weather conditions were perfect. No wind, so there was no fear of rocking the boat and swinging wildly from side to side.
5) My life insurance was current, and I trusted my teammates on the winches.
6) I kept my mind and eyes on the goal; never looked down.
Now I may have won the job because I’m a physical light weight, but I earned the respect of my fellows by reaching higher and succeeding beyond everyone’s expectations, including my own. So when opportunity presents itself, think it through carefully, put the essentials in place, get the support you need and then go for it!
Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC