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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

The Power of Tough Pep Talks

[#teaching, #learning and #peptalks] “I’m done”, I say. “No more. I’m not sure this sport is for me.” I wave my hands to indicate the same. My body was tired, mind shaky and heart still racing, not recovered from the rounds my teacher just made me do on the horse - standing in canter without holding the reins.


Squatting on the ground I looked up at Mohammed Alanzi (who I suspect is a Saudi Arabian Bedouin warrior from 1773 whirled into a 2023 time warp). He looks a me sternly and says “No.”.

“I will allow you to be tired.

But I will not allow you to be done.”.


There are soft pep talks and tough ones.

 This was a tough one. Especially as I just met this teacher, I wasn’t sure how serious he was. And I did not like to hear these words at that moment. But they got to me. So I got back on the horse.

I had already tried a couple of rounds of this.

The first time I tried to shoot, the arrow fell. Or rather.. flopped. Not very heroic.

And despite feeling deflated my teacher’s bright energy caught on, so I tried again. Just one more try, he said.

To those of you fascinated with teaching and learning too, here is how he made this magical learning moment happen.

🙌He gave me the tough pep talk above.

🙌Then he told me he just wanted me to try - nothing more.

🙌He gave me one thing he wanted me to change compared with the last time. He told me how to do the change.

🙌And he told me to just listen to his instructions.

If you watch the video, listen to how he is focused on me during the run. Listen to his energy. Listen to his instructions. And most of all, listen to the joy in his voice when I didn’t just manage to launch the arrow, it HIT!

Albeit just a millimetre off the board.

But it hit. 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻

A spirit soaring moment. (Listen to the end and you’ll hear my whooping in celebration).

I went from wanting to give up to being fired up to learn more about this sport.

All this points again to the power of teachers and wonder of learning. Oh… And what a lot of pain is involved in learning. 😂

All this is pretty magical to me. What say you?


P.S. if you watch closely toward the end, notice this tiny detail that I love: the smile of this #fearless teacher. A moment that makes it all worth it for many teachers. #nothingsucceedslikesuccess.

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