When Mia Hamm was a sophomore in college, her soccer coach asked her a question that changed her life forever. He first asked her what her goals were for the upcoming season, and she replied, “To be the best”. Then came the kicker.
“Do you know what the best is?”
Mia was speechless; she had never considered where her own motivation came from. Her coach then slowly turned the light switch off and then back on and said, “It’s just a decision, but you have to make it every day”.
We spend way too much time trying to push and motivate kids to do what we want them to do, and in the process, many kids lose touch with the intrinsic good feelings you get when you do things for your own reasons. Girls spend inordinate amounts of time in supervised activities, performing for coaches, teachers, parents, peers, and other authority figures. The relentless pressure to succeed, impress everyone, win, and to be special and the best is exhausting. Girls who want to slow down or quit their activities often don’t because they are so afraid of disappointing their parents, coaches, and teammates.
Mia Hamm decided that she wanted to wake up each day and recommit herself to working hard to become the best soccer player she could be. Because it was her decision based on what she desired, it brought greater fulfillment and joy. The same will hold true for your daughters when you give them the autonomy to pursue their passions at their speed and for their own reasons.
Let girls define what success means to them, in their words and on their terms.