Do you believe we keep learning? Do you think someone can be too old, too young, or too “different” to learn and grow? Well, one of the core beliefs in Reaching Higher is that the personal leadership principles we teach are important for youth, adults, proven leaders, people who are struggling, and everyone in between.
Take me for example. I started teaching Reaching Higher to students at Hartland Middle School when I was in my late 40s. I was an educator for many years. I had taught English and Social Studies and GED preparation classes, I had been an assistant principal in Redford and then in Hartland, and at this point I had been a principal for about 15 years. What could I possibly learn from a personal leadership development course I was teaching to teens? It turns out I learned so much that it changed my life.
I became a better husband and father because I learned that I would never change anyone else, but I could change myself. I stopped waiting for others in my life to make me happy, and I finally started to realize that any changes I wanted for my life were up to me. The more I showed my love to my family and friends and became truly vulnerable, the more love and support I received in return.
I became a better principal. I learned the importance of slowing down and truly listening to someone – a student, a teacher, a parent. Everyone wants to be heard and feel they are valued. I started sharing more about my own life and struggles – again, being brave enough to be vulnerable to others – and that allowed me to build more trust.
I saw during my Reaching Higher classes that the high achievers learned how to manage stress and not have their value be defined only by their achievements. I saw the struggling students realize that if they set their mind to something and worked hard without giving up they could improve and succeed. I saw the quiet students in the middle gain in confidence and find their voices as they spoke up and shared and inspired others. In short, everyone – the adult mentors, the struggling students, the high achievers, the average students in the middle, and the instructors (including me) – ALL grew, learned and became better leaders. We all learned that we are in control of our own lives, and no matter what hard things come our way, we – as leaders – always had a choice on how to respond and how we could find a way to keep moving forward.
I saw the same thing when I taught the adult Reaching Higher class. There were participants who were high-achieving business executives, right alongside those just starting out and some who were recovering from addiction or other major life challenges. The results in the adult class were no different from the youth class. Once again, we ALL learned and grew as we shared with each other and began unlocking the power within ourselves to change, to overcome limiting beliefs, to move ahead no matter what was in our way.
Now you know why we in Reaching Higher are committed to promoting our personal leadership development principles to all ages and demographics – youth, adults, executives, working people, everyone – because EVERYONE deserves the opportunity to live their best lives and become their best selves. We remind people that they have the power within themselves to have a fulfilling, purposeful life, and overcome any obstacles that come their way. We can help anyone discover the power within to reach higher!