I was 6 when I decided I wanted to be a PE teacher. A lively child, I loved taking part in any kind of sporting activity.
It was 1971 when I set eyes on our new track suited next-door neighbour. I was hooked. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to go to work in a tracksuit and trainers and play sport all day. No amount of persuasion or advice could change my mind. I had chosen my future career. This was exactly what I decided to do.
I told everyone, “I’m going to be a PE teacher”. At secondary school I declined offers of careers interviews or open days at universities. I had set my heart on going to Dunfermline College of Physical Education and that was exactly what I was going to do. Why would I need to look at other options? My mind was made up. This was my Plan A, and I threw myself into it. I was 100% committed. I told my teachers, my friends, my family; I told people who supported me, people who wanted to be like me, and people who thought I was downright mad. I wasn’t fussy; I told anyone who would listen to me.
And guess what? I got accepted to Dunfermline College of Physical Education, I trained to be a PE teacher, and I went to school in a tracksuit and trainers for many happy and fulfilling years.
Here’s the point. I had a dream I was determined to make come true. I committed 100% to that dream. I committed in public. In other words I told people; I said it out loud. Why? Because by saying it out loud repeatedly I not only convinced others I could do it, I convinced myself. The more I said it, the more I believed it. The more I said it, the more support I attracted. The more I said it, the more my actions followed my words, until I made it happen.
Not sharing our dreams and ambitions is like giving ourselves a safety net. If we don’t reach our goal, then no one will know. No one will know if we fail, if we don’t take the risk, if we don’t really believe in ourselves. We’ve played it safe. We’re involved, but we’re not committed. We’ve a Plan A, but we’ve also got escape Plan B, C, D and E.
As teachers we’re used to committing – to new initiatives, new methodologies, new technology. We do it every time there’s a change of policy, government or even school principal. But how often do we choose our own personal initiative? How often do we commit to our dream? How often do we share our Plan A? If we really want something enough, we will say it out loud, again and again and again. And that’s the test for how much we want it.
After all, if Muhammad Ali hadn’t wanted to be the greatest, would we ever have heard him repeatedly say that infamous line?