One of our shared values is to empower students to realize goals.  On the surface, this resonates well with our beliefs about the academic system.  Below the surface, it is important to explore multiple ways to achieve this important shared value.  We are challenged to empower students by helping them build inner strength, courage and confidence to realize goals.

Think back over your life and ask yourself where you derived your strength, courage and confidence to achieve goals.  Each of us would have different answers, but there most likely are common threads.  These may include:

  • Someone who believed in you
  • Friends who challenged you
  • Changing inner language to reduce or eliminate negative self-talk
  • Learning to pace yourself by setting small, achievable goals
  • Not listening to others who said something was not possible
  • Moving beyond comfort zones and perceived limits to explore what is truly possible
  • Seeing mistakes – yours and others’ – as opportunities to grow (e.g., compassion, dignity, and forgiveness)
  • Working with a team where you built on and learned from others’ strengths
  • Building on your strengths rather than focusing solely on improving weaknesses
  • Embracing your own talents/abilities rather than making comparisons with others’ talents/abilities
  • Not sweating the small stuff

Some challenges currently in front of students to reach the end of the semester successfully may seem insurmountable.  While faculty and staff feel this too at times, they have developed many of the positive strategies noted above to cross the finish line.

One of the more powerful things you can do over the next few weeks is to share encouraging words and positive strategies with students that will empower them to achieve their goals.  You have the power and insight to encourage deeper development of strength, courage and confidence in your students.  Never assume the students in your classes possess these important life-shaping characteristics, to the depth they could, without your support.


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