Do you want to know how to bring up a successful human-being?

How the Olympics Demonstrates the Ingredients for a Successful “Family Team”.

First, I would like to dedicate this blog-post to Chet Holmes, one of my Twitter followers. On 16th August 12, when most of the World was feeling elated celebrating the achievements of the Olympics during the closing ceremony, Chet Holmes died of Leukaemia at his family home. Although I didn’t know Chet personally, I had “earmarked” him as someone I wanted to meet once I had my new coaching business going strongly. I was grateful for Chet following me as he was partners with @TonyRobbins, and it’s not often someone high in the business will follow a person who’s just starting out. Tony Robbins shared something on his blog (The Anthony Robbins Blog) that Chet’s son wrote about him on Father’s Day. Basically about how, throughout growing up and right up to the day he died, Chet’s son viewed his Dad as “the strongest man in the World”. Initially it was due to his physically strength, then it was Chet’s mental survival strength that made him still seem this way. I feel this story of a father being such a positive influence and role-model to his son is very congruent with my observations about a being a “Successful Family Team”. Thus, I find it very fitting to dedicate my first blog entry to “Hero Father” Chet Holmes. – What type of inspiration are you to your child?

Introduction to me and the concept of a “Family Team”: I am passionate about children’s well-being and education and it was this passion that lead me to become Montessori trained (aged 2.5-6 years). I was also very interested and keen to learn how to support children aged 0-3 because I was fascinated by the fact that they are (initially) unable to verbally communicate and I wanted to understand how best to support their holistic needs through intuition and observation. Thus I have also work extensively with this age group too. I have chosen to set up a Coaching business for families with pre-school aged children because, after working for the best part of ten years in both a purpose-built Montessori setting and a home setting, it was clear that both parents and children would benefit from my experience and support. My dedication has enabled me to gain acute insight into the best and most productive ways to foster children’s holistic education and to enable then to grow into happy, confident, successful adults. It’s amazing what you discover when you are actively seeking to learn. “Energy flows where attention goes”, thus because I have been specifically looking for the recurring characteristics present in successful people (NB successful in work, love and play), in order to encourage these qualities in children, it has given me extreme insight into the science of learning and human development. I feel great enthusiasm in sharing what I have learnt for the benefit of children and parents alike (it would be selfish not too). I passionately believe in the concept; “treat others as you would have yourself be treated”. It’s how I approach interacting with others; with this in mind in relation to supporting children’s holist development it spurs me to always strive to do my upmost for them. I have always had a natural “way” with children and the fact that they all start out as very willing learners provides me with additional motivation. Thus when I see families unintentionally impede their children’s holistic progress it fills me with compassion for both children and parent’s, because there is no parental training, therefore it is largely trial and error for most families. I know from personal experience that loving parents can unintentionally disadvantage their children, and up-bringing definitely makes a huge difference, therefore I want to help families “get it right”, first, for the children, second, for the parent – you are a “Family-Team”! Most of the country seems to still have Olympic fever, so I have outline the 10 characteristics of a successful “Family Team” and how this was demonstrated during the Olympics at London 2012.

Effort/ Will: To be a successful “Family Team” and facilitate your children’s holistic potential requires motivation (will). This may sound obvious, but is every family you know incredibly successful in all areas of life (work, love and play)? People usually develop strong motivation to achieve something they are passionate about. To put in the right effort to have a successful “Family Team” where every member of the family is happy and fulfilling their holistic potential in all areas of life, you have to have a very strong desire to achieve this; otherwise you are not going to bother. Remember the expression; “Where there’s a will there’s a way”? This, I have learnt, to be so true; where there’s a will, you will find a way no matter what challenges you may have to face. The athletes demonstrated this to us in full glory. I read countless stories about lengthy training hours and an almost non-existent social life. No human being is going to put in this type of effort unless they have a very strong will to achieve the outcome. As Anthony Joshua put forward when asked what keeps him motivated; “Work Hard and Stay Hungry”. This does mean that it’s a hard slog to bring up children who will be successful in all areas of life. In fact, quite the opposite and you can still cut certain corners; it’s just I see a lot of families cutting the wrong corners. For example, it pays to make effort in maintaining an orderly home environment and with providing a healthy diet (an orderly environment is very important to children’s holistic development). Leaving chores to pile up (i.e. cutting the wrong corners) not only gives a less competent impression to the child, it’s also very demotivating; you are much less inclined to want to put in the right type of effort. A very important note here is that an orderly environment leads to the development of an organised mind. Also, the food you eat not only makes a difference to your physical health, but it affects your emotions too; thus it is highly worth putting effort into providing a healthy choice for your “Family Team”. To perform at Olympic level the athletes have to take effort and care to eat a very healthy diet. Parents who cut the wrong corners often seem stressed and the children are more prone to fussing/ tantrums and are usually less well mannered. When you know how to move forward and why, it’s easy; I find it a breeze. Another point to mention about effort is that even when someone is naturally talented, they still need to put in effort. The best example of this from London 2012 is Michael Phelps, now the greatest Olympian ever! The Telegraph outlined how his body is designed in a way that naturally makes him an excellent swimmer. If he had not put the effort into his training, do you think he would have still made the Olympics? Even if he had still made the Olympics, would he have become the greatest Olympian of all time (18 golds, 2 silver & 2 bronze)? I think not. It is the effort he put in to his training in addition to his natural talent that enabled him to achieve such an honourable level. An important thing to note here is that it is always best to praise children for effort. Even if they do something really well, note the effort they put in and how that paid off when you congratulate them. The reason this is so important is that children praised for talent/ achievement are far less likely to attempt something difficult as they are subconsciously aware that failure would question their talent/ ability. Whereas children praised for effort develop the understanding that getting it wrong is all part of learning and are so much more likely to attempt things, even when they do seem difficult, because the fear of failure is eliminated. Michael Phelps has demonstrated exactly what incredible achievements can be made when talent and hard work come together.

Passion/ Value: The will to achieve can only derive from a person valuing the outcome. You are only going to value something you are personally passionate about. The Olympic athletes, all passionate about their sport, place extremely high value on winning the gold medal. Hence, they put in the required effort to being of the sporting standard to achieve it; even when that means a big life-style compromise. I have no doubt that a loving “Family Team” values all its members. It still surprises me that a considerable number of modern day children do not demonstrate a clear understanding of value. Dis-respectful behaviour does not show value towards parental love, authority and opinion. Also, another thing I see a considerable number of children doing is showing no value for what they have. They don’t seem to have been encouraged to take care of things. A child who is shown the worth in value, even down to little things (their possessions) will naturally treat everything with value and care. If a child you know, who has not been shown the concept of value, was coming around to play with your child, you would probably layout the house rules pretty clearly (I would). Whereas, a child coming round whom you know has a clear idea about what it means to value, does not need any extra rules (safety and respect for others should be the basis of any rule). To encourage self-discipline in a child definitely doesn’t mean that you need to bombard them with rules. When they know the reason for why certain things may be done a certain way (e.g. we tidy away after an activity because we don’t want anything to become lost, or broken) it ceases to feel like a rule as the emphasis is instead on valuing something they care about. It also provides a positive focus, giving the child a positive action to proceed with, instead of a negative one where they are told not to do something. For example it is extremely effective when a child is on a swing to tell them to “hold on tightly”, as oppose to, “don’t let go”, (NB as human-beings we think in the positive). I also find it very effective to turn the situation back on the child and ask them if they would like that to happen to them. Survival of the fittest, it is human nature to prioritise self-preservation; thus children will always see the value in something that benefit themselves. Successful people are often well known for breaking rules and pushing boundaries; this is because they have learnt the true meaning of value and they know how to break the rules in a way that works for their/ others benefit.

Gratitude/ Respect: People who learn to value are grateful for what they have and the opportunities they receive. Hence, they are most likely to put the required effort in to achieving a goal (NB you’re not going to put any effort in to something you don’t feel grateful for). It is not in our human nature to show gratitude, or respect for things/ others that we do not value. In fact, people are more likely to take advantage of those whom they do not value instead. To train at the standard of an Olympic athlete obviously requires having a Coach. To be able to accept all the physical demands and constructive criticism that the Coaches will give, the athletes definitely need be grateful plus have respect for their Coach. If you don’t respect someone, you are not going to listen to them, or do anything they ask. Therefore, gratitude for the opportunity, in addition to passion to achieve the outcome are the key ingredients for giving respect to anyone who may help you along the way (Coaches, family, friends etc.). Tom Daley demonstrated gratitude when he was granted a second opportunity to do his first dive in the final after being distracted by spectator’s cameras. He demonstrated respect to the judges when putting forward his case, plus gratitude for the opportunity by doing a fantastic second dive. He also showed gratitude for the final outcome by celebrating his bronze like a gold. This point may sound obvious, but I see a lot of children showing either no respect to their parents, or not enough to achieve their holistic potential. I must also make the point that respect is something that needs to be earned; not automatically given out to any adults. This is because if a child is taught to respect all adults, this increases the likelihood of them going off with a stranger. I wouldn’t tell a young child that adults need to earn their respect as they are too young to understand it in the correct way and more likely to use it against you (just something to bear in mind)! It is better to tell them to be polite to others; you can be polite and not go off with a stranger. Also I feel that it is very important that even parents need to earn the respect of their children. Otherwise, if respect doesn’t need to be earned it’s a catalyst for parents to believing they can do anything without being questioned. If your child is not showing you enough respect, there is as much need for you to look at yourself and be truly honest about why, as there is for the child’s attitude to change. Earning respect is a necessary “control of error” for good parenting. You gain a child’s respect not by constantly trying to gain favour with them (as I have seen many parents do). Rather by showing them that through observation you have “a good take on life” and as a result of this you understand their needs and know what is best for them, even if they don’t like it. An example of this would be when a child throws a tantrum because you’ve not allowed them to have something that is inappropriate for them. Staying true to your word and not giving into the tantrum (it’s not good for children to learn that screaming gets them what they want) is what will earn your child’s respect. “Family Teams” who show (note show, not have) gratitude and respect to each member are going to work together co-operatively as a team. They are also much more likely to be open to learning from each other and be able to take lovingly put constructive criticism.

Observation/ Openness to Learn: To understand and adhere to the requirements that the Coach makes of the athletes, they have to be open to learning, especially when they receive constructive criticism. No one likes to feel criticised, even when it is constructive, as it indirectly suggests that we may not be capable of achieving/ having understood something on our own. This is human-nature, so it’s best to go with it (whatever you resist will persist and grow stronger). If you are open to learning, you are also open to the probability that you may not always get things right. The way to move forwards when you don’t do something so well is first to observe what it you are doing that is not working, then, be open to taking a different approach. People who are open to learning usually have already observed the areas they need help in. People who are not open to learning/ constructive criticism are usually less observant as they tend to focus on a problem rather than a solution; hence they stay static and do not move forwards. Being open to learning is also about being open to the probability of learning something. Mo Farah’s story demonstrates this, which is outlined in the next paragraph (honesty). Tell yourself, “it is possible”, rather than, “that could never happen”. My favourite example of a limiting belief is; ordinary people like us. If you think you are ordinary, then you are subconsciously telling yourself that you can only ever achieve anything that’s ordinary. Venture out of your comfort bubble and see exactly how extraordinary you can be. Also with children I discovered that it is best to come from a place of; can they do it and how can I help them achieve it? As opposed to limiting them with a false pretext such as, they’re too young. Obviously use your common sense (I’ll be expanding in an e-book)! Children are capable of so much more than what the vast majority of adults seem to think; so believe in their potential. Being observant and open to learning naturally eliminates any fear of failure. It also means that you will come across very positively and sincerely, plus you are more likely to be less up-tight about things. So, how observant are you of the actual needs of your “Family Team”? Also, how open to learning are you from each member of the team (children can teach you a lot if you are open to receive it)? Openness to learning is the ingredient that makes anything you put your mind to be within reach. Mo Farah stated after winning both gold’s that; “if you work hard at something and believe you can do it; anything is possible”.

Honesty/ Truth: Being observant and open to learning require you to be honest about your present situation. If the athletes were not honest with themselves about their “weaknesses”, they would not be fully open to learning and thus, would not put in the required effort to strengthen their area of weakness. From my experience and observation, this is where the vast majority of families need the most support. It appears, in my mind, to be the result of both parents usually being out at work. If you have the will to be honest, this can be easily rectified. Being 100% honest with yourself and living your truth (being true to what you believe) is actually a very difficult thing to do and thus a prised achievement. I find Mo Farah’s story of “brutal honesty on his part”, very inspiring. When doing some research for this blog entry I came across his story in Apparently 18 months ago Mo Farah lacked focus and confidence. His Coach, Alberto Salazar, described him as “a skinny, weak athlete who ran like a girl. He had a great engine, but with no upper-body strength”. Hence at the end of races Mo would begin to tire, his head would bob around and his arms would flail. Salazar even went as far as saying that in terms of core strength, Mo was the weakest athlete he’d ever trained. I read this and though; “Wow, that’s raw honesty”. First Mo had to be very honest with himself about his then, current level of achievement. Second, Salazar had to be honest to Mo about the level he was truthfully at. Otherwise the help he would have offered Mo would be no good, as it would not be suitable for his then current level of ability. So both Coach and athlete had to be on a level in order to move forwards towards success. Think about this for a moment (a Mo-ment!). If Mo had chosen not be honest and perhaps become angry or, defensive (like most people would); it’s okay, he’d still be alive today, just not as a Double Olympic Champion with two gold medals to his name and the respect and honour of the nation. Instead he made the tough decision to be honest with himself and in his own words, put in a lot of “hard work and grafting”, to achieve the status of Double Olympic Champion with two gold medals that he valued so highly. Now he seems to win every long distance race – Go Mo! That type of honesty is extremely difficult to face and takes a person who is dedicated to succeed to get there. Note that the potential was there all along, yet the right type of effort was needed in order to bring Mo up to the standard of Olympic Champion. Also, Mo was open to the probability that with the right effort and training he was capable of reaching the required standard. He was positive and didn’t tell himself, oh no, only 18 months to go! When it comes to having a successful “Family Team”, in addition to being honest about yourself, you also need to be honest about your child’s current level of development. Please note that I am not saying that you need to use such raw honesty with your child as Mo’s Coach did with him. Rather, if your child demonstrates a behaviour that is undesirable, for example a tantrum (NB this is a normal part of early childhood), be honest and treat it like a tantrum. I see so many parents excuse this type of behaviour, often with “you’re tired”, thus the tantrum cycle continues. The child may be tired, but it’s still no good reason to scream and tantrum (tired children need to sleep). Be the adult and act from a position of “knowing”; it is not acceptable to scream at you even when tired. This way you can still empathise, by recognising your child’s tired state, then inform them that it is no excuse for poor/ rude behaviour and show them you know what their current need is, which is to go to bed. If you act with certainty about what you are saying, it puts you in a position of authority without needing to demand it (by getting cross). Honesty, in my mind, is the fundamental difference between average and successful families. So it pays to get outside your comfort bubble and be completely honest with yourself.

Successful Attitude: A successful attitude is all about being dedicate to succeed. It is also about striving for true success, not using anything you’ve learnt to exploit others. The Olympic athletes all made a lot of compromises to their life to honestly achieve the required standards to compete in the Olympics. People who are passionate about succeeding and achieving the things they value and want in life have a positive attitude that’s driven towards success. Thus, they are capable of being aware and honest of how things are and open to moving in the direction that will achieve the desired outcome. To become an Olympic achieving athlete it is absolutely necessary to have a successful attitude. Again this may seem obvious, yet the amount of parents I speak to who definitely talk enthusiastically about being all for their child’s success, yet a lot of what they do unwittingly holds the child back instead. Take the “in-charge badge” and role-model success, it sends a very powerful message – not a forceful one. Success speaks for itself; this was very apparent during the Olympics. To illustrate this point; when you get very cross/ angry with a child it’s generally because they are not co-operating and the lack of respect for your authority as the parent brings about the feeling of anger. Have you ever noticed how successful people naturally gain people’s attention because everyone thinks they have an opinion worth listening too? If you give your child the perception that you know what life’s about and therefore your opinion is worth listening too, you will automatically gain authority. Remember, you may be hugely successful at work, but your child doesn’t see what you’re like in the workplace, and for children to learn success they have to experience it first-hand.

Positivity: A positive attitude has to be one of the most obvious characteristics of success. People who are very positive have the ability to turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one. I feel that it’s very worth mentioning here that Professor Richard Wiseman (who couldn’t have a more appropriate surname!) wrote a book called; “The Luck Factor”, that is basically all about the difference in achievement/ personal gain between someone with a positive attitude verses someone with a negative attitude. People who appear to be born under a lucky star, actually just have an open, positive attitude towards life and they focus on the things that are important to them and will get them where they want to be, as oppose to negative challenges that may hold them back. By contrast, people who experience a lot of “bad luck”, tend to focus more on negative emotions (rather than how to deal with them) and on what is going wrong in their life, as oppose to first, what may actually be good and right and second, how to get where they want to be when things aren’t going so well. As I mentioned in my introduction; “Energy flows where attention goes”. The reason I became so clear about how to bring up children to reach their holistic potential is because I paid attention and actively sort the answers (you generally find what you’re looking for, be it positive, or negative). People/ families focused on the positive side of life tend to be very happy. When you see the positive side of things and are open to learning, you don’t feel put down by any constructive criticized. Thus you are most likely have more positive experiences, find love and achieve more in life, and hence always be happy. I met families who appear to “have it all” on the outside, yet when you get to know them you realise it’s just the image they project and deep down they are not happy. This generally seems to happen when value is placed on superficial things like image, or power. Greed sets in and these types of families are more open to earning rather than open to learning. Positive, happy families who have been open to learning a good balanced approach to life tend to naturally gain respect from others and with this, image naturally follows. Conversely, people/ families who focus on negativity, always seem to feel hard done by and never get to where they want to be because they are to invested in looking at what’s wrong and the feeling of unfairness that is a natural result of this way of thinking. There are several particularly notable Olympic examples of positivity winning through in London 2012. First, the stories of two cyclists particularly stood out to me, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott. Joanna Rowsell did not allow her anxieties about having alopecia (note, she still had anxieties, it’s how she dealt with them that made all the difference) prevent her from winning a gold medal rather coincidentally of national alopecia day! As she put forward; “I worked through my fears and suddenly they didn’t matter any longer”. She goes on to say that what mattered to her was her performance on the bike and it is this choice that defines her, not her fears, or having alopecia. Note that Joanna valued her performance on the bike enough for it to be stronger than her fears; hence with a lot of hard effort her anxieties began to melt away. Not only did she then achieve a gold medal, she has also inspired a lot of other young people (particularly those with alopecia) to see the value of working through their fears too. Laura Trott, nick-named the pocket-rocket (love that!) because of her petite stature was born a month premature with a collapsed lung and asthma. This has led to her having a highly acidic lining in her stomach and due to the high speeds she reaches, she vomits after most races. Be honest, how many people would find an excuse not to achieve at Olympic standards if they had this to contend with? Instead Laura made the positive choice to succeed and became a double gold Olympic champion at 20 years of age. I don’t think I could move on from this section without also mentioning Oscar Pistorius. Nick-named the blade runner due to the prosthetic limbs on both legs from the knee down he wears as a result of a double amputation due to congenital fibular hemimelia. He became the “first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal”. And in the London 2012 Olympics he entered the 400 metres and thus became the first ever “double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics” against abled-bodied athletes. I bow to his superior coping strategies; I’m sure if most people were honest, they would see the reasons why they could not achieve, instead of being positive enough to defy the odds. These three athletes put their attention and focus on the positive reasons of how they could achieve and thus put all their energy and effort into worked through all their personal setbacks. If they had put their attention on the setbacks themselves and how this disadvantaged them, they would have never made such superb achievements. Even Usain Bolt who is a naturally talented sprinter (in the say way Michael Phelps is a swimmer) experienced setbacks. People began to doubt him when he lost twice to Yohan Blake in the Olympic trials. His positive, unfaltering belief in himself lead to a triple Olympic gold win and he has become the first athlete in history to retain both the 100 and 200 metre titles. He is now the greatest name in track and field sports; – a legendary, World-record breaking sprinter named “Bolt” – how cool is that?! Despite his natural talent, he still needed self-belief to get there. People may seem to have all the characteristics of someone successful, however unless they believe it themselves, it will never happen. A “Family Team” needs to believe in success of the whole team.

Be Horizontal: I have personal experience on why this is so important. My wonderful Mum worried about anything and everything; if she didn’t have anything to worry about, she worried about that! As a child I found this difficult, but looking on the positive side, I am now so pleased she is like that as it was this that lead me to seek the qualities of success. Life is full of “if’s” and “but’s”, it’s the choices we make that will make the difference to our success. Children do get colds that sometimes last for a little longer than usual. When learning to walk there will be times they fall over and bump themselves; this is a normal part of learning and growing up. Excessive worry can hinder this because first, it can lead to over-protection and not allowing your child to have vital experiences that will help them learn and become well-adjusted adults. This then discourages the child from having an open attitude to learning, and instead they become over cautious and doubting in their ability to do things. Please note that I am not advocating excessive risk taking, I am merely suggesting that common sense will naturally help you find a positive balance. All worry does is hinder; if you find yourself worrying, focus on finding a solution, not a problem. All the aforementioned athletes focused on solutions and look at what this enabled them to achieve. Also, when Victoria Peddleton was unfortunately disqualified, she didn’t put her focus on the negative situation that had just happened; instead, after receiving some comfort and support from fellow team mates, she focused on ensuring that she won the next race – and she did! As she put forward; “It’s never been an issue before so I hadn’t really thought about it”. She’d always done so well that she had not considered the minor detail that lead to her disqualification. This unfortunate (or may be not so!) event highlighted this area of her performance and bought it to her full attention. What happened next? She won a gold, then silver medal. From focusing her attention on positive action instead of overly worrying about making a mistake she was able to take the learning on board and dealing with the discomfort the situation obviously caused her. This drove her to raise her game and thus succeed. I would encourage all parents to consider the fact that if your child does do less well at something, instead of adding to any negative feelings they are likely to be experiencing, it is far more constructive to say to your child something like; “Great! Now you know exactly what you need to work on and you have my full support”. Failure can either be perceived as not achieving, or a tough way of learning what to do in order to succeed. Which way are you going to swing; positive, or negative?

Love: Again an extremely obvious characteristic of a successful “Family Team”, though very necessary to mention. Love is the quality that enables us to override fears of any challenges. Let’s take an example of a family who have a terminally ill child; most family’s greatest fear. It is love that conquers and holds the family together through the rough and smooth. You are a “Family Team” therefore the love between Mum and Dad has to be as strong as the love for the children, (NB please note that I am not suggesting that single parent families cannot be successful; I’m just saying if there are two parents it is better that they have a strongly establish love than realise after having children that they’ve made a mistake in being together). I like the Greek definition of love because with four separate meanings it provides more clarity on what real love actually means. Just to run through what they are; Agape is unconditional love; Eros is desiring love; Philia is friendship love and the love between siblings; Storge is affection. Agape is the love required between two people to have a successful relationship. One important thing to note here is that it has to be reciprocated Agape, because you both have to be there to support each other and if it is all one-sided then the relationship with either end, or be unhappy, (NB even if you staged together, imagine the affects this would have on your children; not very positive). From what I’ve observed I think a lot of people mistaken Eros for Agape. The way you find out whether you are with the right person is first to consider your own relationship needs; what do you actually want from a relationship? – Observe your own relationship needs. Once you know what you want from a relationship, it’s just about honest enough with yourself and the person you’re dating to say “no” to the wrong person. It’s also worth considering that it is more important to find someone with similar values than similar interests. With this in mind the right person will naturally meet all your relationship needs without it seeming needy. How many of us are not fully honest and settle? I read an article where Jessica Ennis stated that her fiancée was very supportive to her throughout the rough and the smooth during the four years she spent training for the heptathlon. After winning her fiancée apparently said; “haven’t I done well?” (NB in being with Jessica!). This is the basis for a strong relationship that will conquer any challenges on life’s journey. When Gemma Gibbon looked up and said; “Mum I love you” after the women’s Judo final, this to me symbolised exactly what real family love is all about.

Team Spirit: You can’t be a successful “Family Team” if you don’t have any team spirit! Team spirit is where it all for one and one for all. Everyone does their best for the individual “members”, as well as the whole “Family Team”. If any of the above characteristics are missing this either will not happen, or the journey will be a lot let smooth. Team GB demonstrated this famtastically during London 2012. My favourite is the example from Rhythmic Gymnastics. Wow, what intricate routines they all performed. Just think for a moment; each girl was required to remain poised and elegant whilst performing highly skilled rhythmic movements. They all needed to rely on each other and thus, each girl needed to know exactly where she was meant to be at each stage of the routine in order for it to work. If any individual girl did not feel support from the whole team, this would need to be resolved before the team could continue creating and practicing their routine. Also, each individual girl needed to give her all to the team to ensure the required standard of support is provided. Do you always give your all to your “Family Team”? In those moments where you don’t (we are all human); do you observe and move forward positively in the light of your new found wisdom? Since Descartes “Cogito ergo sum” – “I think, therefore I am”; society, it seems, has gradually placed a much greater emphasis on the “self” – “I”, instead of “we”. This is not a negative thing in itself, however it is beneficial to the individual and the group to be mindful that they are both equally as important; that’s what makes a “Team”. When there is too much emphasis on the “I”, greed can set in. This leaves a person less focused on working towards any achievement and more on personal gain. By contrast, too much emphasis on the “we” (group), can lead to exaggerated beliefs, power-play and prejudice – we’ve all read about extremist groups. All for one and one for all, with great team spirit everyone feels supported; both the individuals and the whole team.  London 2012 has demonstrated fantastically what can be achieved when this happens. Individuals/ Teams/ Countries achieving medals and bursting with happiness, joy and pride in being.

Conclusion: The above outlines very clearly the 10 necessary, core characteristics needed for a successful “Family Team”. The reason I have continually highlighted the characteristics all the way through is to demonstrate how they are interrelated and thus, all very important. When speaking to a friend before I wrote this who said she’d play devil’s advocate for me, she put forward; “what about characteristics like, sensitivity and balance?” My response to this that is well worth noting is; a person/family who are observant of the needs of others show sensitivity without being oversensitive. Balance is all about being open to learning and observing the correct balance of all the above characteristics. That is, noticing what works and brings a successful outcome and what doesn’t. This is also why having a successful attitude is important, as you have to have the will to want to be successful in every area of life (work, love and play). This way you will put the right amount of effort into things, yet also remaining horizontal enough not to become overwhelmed. It’s very interesting that when you look at any other quality a person may possess, when you break it down it’s made up of a combination of the above 10 characteristics. Confidence and having a sense of humour also came up in the discussion. Confident people/ families tend to be more passionate about achieving their goals and are thus open to growth and learning, and have the confidence to receive any constructive criticism positively without becoming defensive, or arrogant. Less confident people tent to settle instead of going for what they truly want to achieve. Also, people/ families with a good sense of humour will see the positive side of things that go wrong and open/ horizontal enough to move forwards in a new direction without letting things get them down. Humour is actually a survival mechanism for dealing with things when they go wrong. I wanted to break down the characteristics to their fundamental level and put forward only the core ones for being successful. This way it is clear to see how they are all interrelated and go together to form any others. It is also clear to see that if any one of them is missing, it is obvious how this would affect all the other characteristics and lead to a less successful outcome. A positive mind-set leads to you to being observant and open to learning, that lead you to being more honest about where you are presently at, that leads you to have the will to put in the right effort and creating a good balance to achieving success in any goals. This will naturally lead to more effective communication (with your partner and children) and the on-going development of wisdom (personal development). I’ve often wondered if the word sensible derived from, “using your senses wisely”. As Maria Montessori put forward, “anything that is in your mind is first in your senses”, (can’t remember the exact reference). So be aware and open to seeing what is truthfully there. Victor Franklyn concluded in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning; “There is no meaning to life other than what you create in it”. So through the wisdom you have observed and learnt in life use it to create/ co-create a holistically successful future for your “Family Team”. The 10 characteristics I’ve put forward that are the key characteristics to keep in mind, as it is clear to see that with the presence of all 10, any other qualities naturally follow.

Did you also observe how clear it becomes that to be successful it is best to go with human nature, instead of against? How often do we hear people say; “it shouldn’t be like that”? Well we don’t live in a World where things always happen as they should, so it’s best to go with the situation, rather than fight against it; remember, whatever you resist will persist and grow stronger. Working with something is the most effective way to bring about any necessary change. Mo’s story very clearly demonstrates this. Awareness, honesty and openness to learn are the key characteristics necessary for any positive change. It is our adaptability as homo sapiens sapiens (we are that advance that we have an extra sapiens) that allowed us to out-survive Neanderthal man. The fittest (both physically and mentally) survive, they also thrive.

I think the Olympic motto of; “Inspire a Generation” goes hand in hand with the idea of having a successful “Family Team”. All the aforementioned qualities I have put forward that are present in the Olympic athletes are definitely the characteristics that will Inspire a Generation. To inspire a generation you have to be an inspiration. This doesn’t mean to say that every child has to grow up to be an Olympic athlete in order to be successful. If a child is to reach their full potential it is necessary for them to learn and discover their true passion in life, (e.g. sport, music, drama, cooking, business etc.). Only then will they find the will/ effort within themselves to totally fulfil their holistic purpose and potential. The 10 characteristics I have mentions will help them through their journey to achieve success in work, love and play. It is also worth noting that a successful “Family Team” leads to successful individuals that would lead to a successful Nation!

Please note that the only reason I have not mentioned the Paralympics is because this is already over 7,000 words long and there would be too many more examples that would support everything I have put forward. The Paralympics was equally as inspiring as the Olympics with many an amazing storey!

Copyright © Paula Elizabeth Jordan September 2012.

If there is something you would like me to expend on, or if you want to speak to me about how I can help your “Family Team” please do get in touch with me via Twitter, @FamilyTeamCoach.