Engaging in Conversations that Challenge You


My youngest son recently reminded me, yet again, the importance of conversation, and the places it can take you.

At the start of the school year, he did not initially make it on his high school varsity basketball team. Upset but determined, he took matters into his own hands. He emailed the coach to set up a conversation the next day to see what he could do to improve his game and skills.

After listening to what the coach had to say, he went back out for try-outs and made it onto the team. Making the team was huge, but even bigger was how great he felt about taking matters into his own hands and having the conversation.

This got me thinking: even if the situation may be different, the outlook should be the same for many of us. Engaging in conversation, rather than sitting on the bench, is the game changer.

We can come to points in our lives where we aren’t satisfied with the status or outgrow our current situation. It’s conversations like the one my son had with his coach that move us to the next level.

Being open to hear others’ opinions and ideas is integral in creating innovation, prosperity and excellence. Those robust conversations are what land you on the varsity team, or project you’ve coveted, or job promotion you’ve been working toward.

It’s not easy to do. Plain and simple.

It requires not just courage but accountability. It’s the kind of accountability that starts with taking proactive steps to learn what is holding you back.

Whether you are a 14 year old high school student or the principal of a large school district, it is never easy to dig deeper and question the unknown. However, regardless of the uncharted territory, this is inherently how we grow for our teams, our families, and ourselves.

Next week at the Learning Forward Conference in Anaheim, Susan Scott will be discussing how to engage in this type of conversation. I look forward to this session, and if you are going, I hope you can join us and begin!

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