In 2008, I was sitting in a meeting of educators in the field of sports development. They had received some funding to create a learning resource for their students. They wanted to make a CD ROM about those who were exceptional in the field of sports and sports development, in order to inspire their students to make the most of their opportunities in university.
During the meeting they were discussing who knew which celebrities and who could get an interview with which elite athlete. And I was wondering whether they were looking for external support when the information they wanted might be readily available right here, right now. So I interrupted the meeting, asking, “Can I just check? Did you make the most of your time at university? Are you an example of the behaviours you’d like to have from your students?” Most of them said, “Yes”. So I then asked them, in turn, “What, or who was it that inspired you?”
“Oh, it was my grandfather… He’s a dockworker and he believes passionately in education for everyone. It was our duty as workers to make sure we were all educated and didn’t waste a single opportunity.”
“For me, it was just financial. To take three years out of work to study meant a big cut in our living standards for me, my wife and our family. I needed to make the most of it.”
And so the meeting went on. We discovered that although each person was passionate about sports development, not one of them had been inspired by a successful person in this field.
So we put the video project on hold and set up a Clean Interviewing project where we interviewed a wide range of graduates who had reached or exceeded their expectations at university. We uncovered the eight factors that had made an important difference to them. These were how they:
- set goals
- worked at their best
- overcame setbacks and challenges
- became inspired and motivated
- made key decisions
- managed time
And what they:
- wished they had paid attention to in the past
- can do now
Then we took these themes and interviewed the elite sportspeople who’d already been booked – including English Hockey Captain, Kate Richardson-Walsh and Britain’s most successful gymnast, Beth Tweddle, to find out what had motivated and inspired them. Talking about setbacks and challenges, Beth said:
“You can’t change anything that’s already happened, so why not do something to make it better – look for the silver lining.”
Students and learners of all ages can watch this CD ROM, learn from these successful athletes and apply the same models to their own thinking and their own lives.
The Learning Journeys CD ROM is now back on sale and you can purchase a copy here.