This week my girls, ages 5 and 10, give me a crash course in motivation.

Sometimes I discount their ramblings because of their tender ages, because what can they teach me? They take me to task on the matter of “I Believe” and teach a valuable lesson.

It feels like I am perpetually in school. It is the joy of learning something new. This week my girls teach me more than I imagine. How can ice skating and two courageous, tenacious girls teach motivation?  It is a story that will take you from lack of self-confidence, and move you to a place of “I Believe”. Stick with me.

Oftentimes I struggle with belief in myself. Truth be told, I think we all have the same struggle. I received a degree from the school of “I Believe” and want to share the progression with you.  

Macy’s began the Believe campaign nine years ago. It is a campaign Macy’s continues to “Believe” will do it well. It teams up with Make-a-Wish for another holiday season. “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”.  That’s great, if you believe in Santa Claus, or if you’re a believer. But, what if none of those feel right and you want to “Believe” in yourself?

Need motivation?

These five steps will take you from self-doubt to self-belief:

  1. Learn the basics
  2. Ask for, and receive, help
  3. Look ahead. Strive to get there.
  4. “Go” times and “slow” times
  5. Claim your “I Believe” degree

Learn the Basics

It makes sense. A person has to learn the most basic steps before moving on to higher learning. You have to get your feet wet, learn the ropes, so to speak. Crawl before you walk… walk before you run.

“You have to walk before you can run,”  —E.L. James

A kind lady offers advice as I take the ice: bend your knees a little more, and it’s just like roller skating.

The handrails are my lifeline early on.

This backstory explains my trepidation.

It has been a while since I last skated. And, by a while, I mean three years. The last time I was on skates I was rollerblading and broke my elbow. Imagine the chuckles I received at the hospital that evening when medical personnel asked, “What were you doing, rollerblading”? Their eyes bulged out of their head and face went stone-like and white when I sheepishly replied, “Yes”.

Back to the present and I am beyond timid, clinging to the handrails in a white-knuckle experience. My husband offers encouragement, “You won’t break your arm this time”. The girls cheer, “Come on, Mom!”

Ask For, and Receive, Help

My husband breezes by and offers his hand. I take it, and he pulls me around the rink. The speed is too fast for me because I am fresh off the handrail, but I manage to keep my feet under me for the most part. He decides to go check on the 5 yo, and hands me off to our oldest daughter. She is patient, kind, and adopts me as her pet project.

She offers her hand and a slower speed. “Come on Mom, move your feet”. At this pace, I can do it. I shuffle my feet, figure out how to bend my knees more, and push and glide. The motion slowly comes together and resembles skating. She slowly slips fingers from my grasp and tells me, “You just get a one finger grasp”. I smile. We skate side by side for several laps before she incentivizes me by skating just in front of me, saying, “catch me”. She goes to check on Sis while touching base once each lap. It’s time to get brave, step out, and fill in your blank  (skate).

The help I need walks right up and offers itself in the forms of my daughters and husband, but assistance isn’t always so easy to come by. Sometimes you have to ask for it. Use any self-help resources at your disposal. Google it. Sometimes you need to phone a friend and ask for help.

Look Ahead

Look ahead while skating. Avoiding collisions is preferred, and looking ahead means looking up and looking forward to the next stage. Get off the plateau so that you can climb to the next level. Strive for the next stage. It takes a lot of effort, and it is worth the risk.

I swiftly move around the rink with my husband, but my daughter allows the skills to develop at a slower pace. I want to go faster, and I need my legs under me with those fundamental skills in place to move forward. I know that I will be a better skater if I can go faster. I want to “catch” my daughter. I want to go harder, faster, be better.

Don’t you want the same thing for yourself?


Don’t we all?

“Go” Times and “Slow” Times

There is a season to hustle, a time to go no holds barred, throw caution to the wind, and give it all you’ve got. It is what I call a “go” time. It’s a time to hustle to make dreams come true, an unrestrained pursuit of the goal.

And, there are “slow” times. These are times to nurture oneself, to reflect, to lick wounds if necessary, and regroup. Next step evaluation is necessary and often accomplished during slow times.

My oldest daughter begins with the end in mind when a goal needs to be accomplished by a certain date. She begins at the end and works the details backward into the present to meet success. And, she evaluates goal execution along the way. If you are overwhelmed by a big goal, this could be your path to success. Try breaking the goal up into smaller attainable tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis and chart your progress.

At the rink, my “go” is a hard push, faster speed on the straight away. The “slow” time is around the corner. It takes more time, concentration, skill.

The All “Go” Alternative

Or, you can take my youngest daughter’s approach. She is 5, and knows nothing of “slow and go”. She is “go” or “stop”. “Slow” is not in her vocabulary. She stops for no one and lives life on her terms. She exhibits sheer determination, owns her falls, and repeats a mantra to herself,  “I can do it”! From the second she puts a foot on the ice she is all “go”. Nothing will stand in her way.    

She clenches the handrail briefly and is too strong-willed to stay there. Failure is not an option. She pushes herself off the rail and demands herself to be better, to figure out how to do the footwork. She trips over her own blades. Her hands are cold from interacting with the ice. She falls so frequently that she asks for gloves. We have none, so she shrugs and returns to the ice. Cold hands or not, she will skate. Her bum bounces twice off the ice in one fall. She isn’t Little Orphan Annie, but she chooses to live the hard knock life.

By right she should cry, but she pulls herself together, gets a foot under her, stands and skates. With bullheaded determination, she teaches herself to skate in less than an hour. She takes the bull by the horns, rides hard, and tells herself ‘I can do it,’ over and over. She believes until she succeeds.

'Fall forward,' as I skate across "Believe".

Macy's "Believe" slogan.

“I Believe”

Both of my daughters teach me a valuable lesson. One teaches me a slow and steady foundational approach that allows basic skills to develop a strategic plan. It takes more time and helps me succeed while challenging me at the same time. She plans next steps and re-evaluates based on current performance.

My youngest teaches me to “go,” to haul at any cost, at any risk. Never stop until you succeed. Sure, your bum might bet bruised, and your hands might sting from ice, but temporary pain is worth the cost to reach success. I am grateful that she has never broken a bone. If she gets to experience that pain will she slow her pace? Maybe. Knowing her probably not.

Either scenario reaches success and the degree is earned. I BELIEVE I can skate and I do.

I believe you can fill in the blank, too.

Do you?

My girls believe you can accomplish your goal, and happily offer their instruction.

Is it valuable?

I wonder what the girls will teach me next as I share this magical experience with you. Remember the Coca-Cola let the magic begin video? It is worth the minute to view. My girls are magicians. They school me in a 5 step crash course. And, I Believe!

Let the Magic Begin…and Believe in yourself!

How do you fill in the blanks to create your success story? Will you share it?

How do you self-motivate? Please offer your tips below so we can all improve.

Keep the magic alive and join the Facebook community and the healthy conversation.