One step forward, another step back
That night, I received a call an hour before I was supposed to be at the custody centre. I work with a group of girls there. We were about to move to the next step of the Passion Project, which is designed to assist the girls in their often difficult lives.
I was told that they didn't feel like meeting.
The small group of girls, a social worker, and I have been meeting once a week sitting in the library, drinking tea and hot chocolate and working through a coaching series. They are discovering themselves on a deeper level than usual and recording their learning in workbooks. Their insights have been amazing. What they share with each other amazes me. Today, they had a choice: spend time outside or meet with the Passion Project. They chose outside.
I am a coach and every single person that I’ve ever worked with (including myself) has a point in their growth process where they take a couple steps back. Motivation will be replaced with procrastination or going back to things they are familiar with.
When I got the call, I knew they were all at this point. “That’s okay, I’m still coming," I told the social worker.
Because of the trying day I was having, I was actually relieved, in fact already in my track pants and wanting to be outdoors myself. Sometimes being active can be the best medicine.
So I played 21 (a basketball game shooting hoops) with a couple of the girls and a guard. The rest of the girls weren’t doing much. They were just “hanging”. I watched for a minute and realized that the eight girls just chillin’ were completely tapped out.
So how do you get a group of girls stream lining again?
You challenge them.
We talked, they showed me their new animated hand shake, and quoted funny movies. I talked about the project they were putting together next week and asked them all to recommit and see it through. What I got was a lot of buy in for the project development.
On the flip side I received some challenge back from a few girls. One of the girls who had been in the institution for a while was being released and her attitude indicated exactly what was going on. Fear. And she wasn’t going to let go of it or engage with me, especially with others around.
Sometimes when we start stream lining our learning in a safe place it’s hard to integrate that in a community that we are unsure of. Attitude starts to form, and we back track.
I couldn’t leave without getting the point across that change shouldn’t stop when fear sets in.
So I left a note for the girl. I told her everything amazing I saw in her, reminded her of her strengths, and how I believed she could do great things. I told her that as a resource, I’m always around.
She'd taken a step back. I hoped her next step would be forward.