I was working in my office this afternoon when a knock came on my door. I recognized the student who was in my previous periods class. He was pretty quiet and kept to himself mostly. I motioned him to come in and he sat down in a chair across from my desk. He proceeded to tell me his idea of starting a business.
I was amazed that this student was opening up his idea to me so freely. He was passionate about it. Every step of his idea, I heard a hint of fear in his voice. He would say things like”somebody already has this idea but…” or “I am not sure I can do this.” Every hint of fear in each of his statements I would counter. I let him know that most all ideas have been tried and worked one way or another and that he could put his spin on it and make it work. I also let him know that he was the only one who could identify if he could something with his idea or not. As he heard me say those things, he started to relax a little. I let him know each step of the way to making his idea a reality, he would screw up. I also told him that he could learn from those mistakes and refine his idea over and over again like an experiment.
"I let him know each step of the way to making his idea a reality, he would screw up."
As we continued to chat, I quickly realized that these small fears were not actually the ones holding him back. It was a fear of looking bad should the business take off quickly. He explained to me that he was scared that if everybody wanted to use the service of this business idea, he wouldn’t have enough human resources to come through for his future clients. He didn’t want to be a failure to “future clients.” He was looking miles down the road from his current idea and it was freezing him up. I have seen this with many students and adults. They fear the what ifs. They look way far into the future and are actually fearful of success. I know I am sometimes. It seems crazy, but it’s true.
"Was this student going to give up on his idea because of the fear of something that will likely not happen?"
I let the student know to not worry about that until it actually happens. That didn’t seem to settle him much and he still looked worried. Was this student going to give up on his idea because of the fear of something that will likely not happen? I decided to talk to him more about this fear from the future. I gave him several stories of how businesses were in that situation and weathered the storm with certain customer relations strategies. I showed him how others got past those issues and then redirected him to focus on the first steps of actually doing his idea.
I asked him to set a goal for the next week to accomplish. He left the impromptu meeting with an excitement to start working on his idea. It was important for me to find this student’s fear, and move him past it.
That’s how you #disrupteducation.