A few weeks ago, I was saying goodbye to students as they were heading home after school, and one of my old students walked by. I said, “P, you’ve gotten really good at skating! I saw your mom’s video on Instagram the other day!” He proceeded to say very nonchalantly, “I know.”
Last week, my oldest son and I were at his specialist appointment. As the doctor who he had never met before was checking him over, she asked him if he plays hockey. They chatted a bit and then she asked, “Are you good?” to which he replied honestly after being caught off guard, “Uhhh… yes!”
Kids are seriously the best.
Naturally, there’s a difference between bragging and being humble, but being proud of our strengths, and sharing our journey to success, shouldn’t be something that we hide. This is a struggle for me, though, as I tend to downplay my accomplishments and I know I’m not alone. The fear of being perceived as someone who thinks they’re better than others is real.
It’s tricky, because it seems as though we have to pick between either making success look easy and effortless (f we aren’t transparent about the process), or looking arrogant (if we choose to acknowledge and celebrate our accomplishments without giving the full story).
But, I think that is just a fabrication in our minds. I didn’t think that my former student’s or son’s responses were out of line. I simply think they were proudly acknowledging their growth and strengths and didn’t have a care in the world how their abilities compared to others’. They were good in their eyes, and that’s all that mattered. Pretty amazing, if you ask me!
This tweet by Carly Spina hit the nail on the head:
Don’t downplay your impact, your work. Did you make a tweak to a lesson to support a student? Did you reflect on an assessment & change something to make it more clear? Every win is a big win. Your work matters & makes an impact. Celebrate it. You’re doing amazing things. ❤🙌
— Carly Spina (@MrsSpinasClass) February 16, 2020
What would happen if the next time someone complimented you, you simply said, “thank you, I’ve been working hard on this”! What would happen if we owned our impact and celebrated not only the final product, but the path it took to get there, too. What would happen if we celebrated others, and acknowledged all of their efforts and impact?
I think we’d all be better for it, and we’d find the perfect medium between being arrogant and making things look like a piece of cake.
What are your strengths? What can you celebrate today? What accomplishments are you proud of?