Imagine this scenario: You have been working hard in class on a double pirouette (turn) for the last 3 months and, finally, you nail it. Everything comes together in perfect harmony, angels sing, and you have so much pride in accomplishing a goal you’ve had for weeks. You look expectantly at your instructor for praise at your perfection and think, “Oh my gosh, she is about to tell me I’m the best dancer ever. I nailed that turn.” Instead, your instructor says, “Ok, now that you are able to do 2 turns, let’s start working on a triple.” Dang.
Being coachable is a huge life lesson. It takes humility and an assumption that someone else may be able to teach you something you don’t already know. Good coaches in any sport or activity will push past the limits you have set for yourself to help you achieve things you didn’t know you could. This is as true for your bosses and managers as a working professional adult as it is true for youth sports and activities. Keeping your defenses down can be HARD, but it is only when we let go of our pride that we are able to grow.
There is a very common conversation with students and parents in the dance world that every instructor understands. Often, the students who have the most potential are the ones who get called out to fix their mistakes again and again. If a student is the subject of constant constructive criticism, the attention can be exhausting. Sometimes, the student will start to feel “picked on” or frustrated thinking they can’t do anything right. What has to happen at this breaking point is a shift in perspective. The instructor is calling you out in class because he or she KNOWS you can fix it. She sees that you can grow and improve, and that’s why she won’t leave you alone. To leave you alone would be giving up on you.
Teaching this to our children and students is an amazing way to set them up for success in the future. They need to truly understand that every critique is an opportunity to grow because their teacher, mentor, coach, parent or friend sees something beyond the limits they have set for themselves.
None of us are perfect. There is always room to learn and grow. I want to help students open their minds to the endless possibilities. I refuse to give up on them.