Gold Medal Motivation: Inspiring Passion in Your Kids with Picabo Street
By Kate Bowler
Being an Olympic Gold Medalist, Picabo Street knows a thing or two about setting goals and being motivated, and she shares that passion with her kids to find out what inspires them too. "I think one of the greatest challenges we have, as parents, is to inspire our children to care about anything they're doing, from brushing their teeth, to getting good grades, to being healthy." Picabo shared with us her tips for setting goals as a family, and keeping kids motivated and inspired:
Identify their passions. One of the first steps in motivating your children is to identify what they're passionate about. "I spend a lot of time watching my kids and talking to my kids and paying attention to them, because I want to know what they like. I want to know what they're into so I can help guide them as a mom. You can tell if you watch your kids what they're inspired by. And for me, I like to use that inspiration to encourage and empower them. I think the way you motivate anyone is by finding out what they're passionate about, or what they even like." For the kids that don't actively express what they're passionate about, it can take a little digging, explains Picabo: "Let's say they don't have anything they're really passionate about yet. What do they like? What are they interested in? What do they look at for longer? Pay attention to your kids and watch, maybe look at which magazines they glance at when you go through the grocery store? Say to them, ‘Why don't you go grab a magazine?' and see which ones they pick out. Then you might know what your kid's into. And if they're into something you're not into, you'd better get busy figuring it out. The sooner you get onboard in figuring it out, too, the better your journey's going to be together."
Start the conversation. It's easy to come on strong and push your kids to do more or work harder - but getting them involved in the conversation about why you want to motivate them can help them feel invested in their own success. "Every time I get in the car to go somewhere, the kids ask me if I'm going to use my GPS to get there, and I've noticed it's big on their radar. So I've started using it both with my kids and with the kids that I go do motivational presentations to. I say, ‘What is your GPS set to? Where are you headed? Do you have your GPS set on something successful?' It opens up the conversation to talk to them about where they're headed, and it's in a language that they can get. I've said ‘Let's talk GPS! Where are we going? I'm an Olympic gold medalist. That was me when I was your age. So now, where are we going?' And when they ask me, ‘Should I know already? What if I don't? Is it bad that I don't?' I say, ‘No. Let's talk about it now, let's figure it out now.'"
Set goals as a family. Make a family plan of action to help individuals grow and get better at their specific interests, or pick something to work on together as a group. "I think it's extremely important for all of us to have goals and dreams to help motivate us to keep moving every day. We set goals for the family together to help navigate through their year through extracurricular activities, and we have progress reports, and we keep track. I know I have my own goals for the kids, but we work together, and sit down, and set reasonable ones that they can reach together. It's fun watching them try and talking about the effort, and the result, and then the next effort that's going to happen, and what we're going to change. It's an evolution."
Be flexible, allow kids freedom to grow. Picabo draws from her own experiences growing up of having her parents' guidance and encouragement, balanced with her own passion and drive to succeed. "When I was growing up we were given a set of rules to follow, and once you followed those rules, you could then bounce around within them as much as you want, and have your freedom, and find your inspiration. And that, I think, was the coolest thing that my parents taught me. And I carried those lessons with me through my ski racing career, and it helped me immensely to just stay strong, and stay positive, and believe in myself."
Practice what you preach. Setting the example for her kids is an important part of the puzzle. By exhibiting that she's a passionate person, Picabo hopes she'll inspire her kids in their own successes. "The first thing that I do is practice what I preach. If I'm going to ask them to do something, I am going to do it too. I think being inspired, yourself, being motivated yourself, being interested in things yourself sends the message to them that they can be the same way. And the most important thing, for me, having so many children, is I want each one of them to understand that they are an individual. They are amongst this family, but they are an individual, and what inspires them is amazing, and is perfect. And we'll all support you as a family for that. That's one of the most important things that I want to make sure I teach my children, is that we are all behind you to support you, whatever that may be."
For more of Picabo Street's tips to keep your family healthy, active and inspired, visit Be Well For Life.
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