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On Our Own

empowerment goals practice Apr 19, 2023

I learned a powerful lesson a few years ago about “empowerment” while helping my daughter Blake learn to ride a bike…on her own.

On this journey, we both learned how to engage with purpose and empower one another, because I’d never been a bike ride instructor and she’d never been a bike ride student. During this time of mutual firsts, our purpose was for Blake to not just learn how to ride a bike, but for her to be able to eventually ride that bike on her own…with confidence, creativity, and clarity. I was there for support as long as she needed me, and also very aware that at some point I would need to get out of the way, let go, and let her be on her own.

There were some inevitable falls (by instructor and student) along the way. But we eventually got there because I didn’t come up with this idea for her - she came to me and asked for instruction. I didn’t force her to ride the bike - we took our time and mapped out a plan. I didn’t rush her and make her feel overwhelmed - we had a process in place. And I didn’t hold her back too long and challenge her patience - we agreed to take those training wheels off when we both felt the time was right.

To get there, we had to follow a process, and below was our road map to get our cycle on:

1.We agreed on the GOAL…for Blake to ride the bike on her own. To get there, we defined the direction, knew our mission, and we were aligned on the ultimate outcome.

2. We agreed on our ROLES…for me to guide and instruct and for her to listen, practice, and eventually ride. To get there, we defined our roles, set realistic expectations, and understood and respected the chain of command.

3. We agreed on the PRACTICE PLAN…and set up a clear and reasonable schedule. To get there, we defined our practice time, and set aside an area on our driveway where we could get in our reps.

4. We agreed on when to put it all into ACTION…and decided together when to remove the training wheels and let Blake go it alone. To get there, we defined our time frame to go solo, so she was not held back too long and/or advanced too quickly.

We created a plan, followed a process, and worked through each step, each pedal, each cycle, each turn, each fall, and each ride, together. And once we both felt the time was right to move from listening, to observing, to practicing, to cycling, we got it; First with some help, then on our own, and finally, when we both felt comfortable, and as soon as I was able to let go, away she went!

As leaders, teachers, coaches, presenters, let’s not just tell people what to do, let’s not just show people what to do, let’s not just move people into doing. Let’s take it a step further, a pedal further, a cycle further, and let’s make sure we empower others so they can eventually do simple, difficult, risky, courageous, exciting, challenging, new things - with our help and eventually without us - so they can feel and be empowered…on their own.

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