I heard a term the other morning that I had never heard before. It’s a term that teachers use to describe certain students who are not doing well in school. It’s a term they use for the student who stares out of the window instead of engaging with the class and the teacher. The type of student who decides they just don’t care. They’re called “failure acceptors.”
Now, I’m not sure how most teachers approach the failure acceptors. But in his speech to a group gathered in support of Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization that teaches financial literacy and other skills, this particular teacher, Tim Bomke of Troops to Teachers, said the failure acceptor student is the one he is always drawn to. Perhaps it’s because as a disabled military veteran who became a teacher, Bomke is used to overcoming adversity. He understands challenge. He eats it for lunch.
It was inspiring to hear Bomke say that he sees the failure acceptors in his classroom as his biggest opportunity to actually make an impact on another human being, to do some good.
That’s pretty powerful stuff.
Rather than write that student off as someone not worth his time, Bomke hones right in. Sees his target. Flies right at him with purpose, with passion, with love.
What if we all did that?
What if we all decided not to write off what looks hard, unapproachable, unpleasant?
What if we all faced that one thing that gave us pause and dove in?
So, I ask you, where in your life are your accepting failure? What is the one area of your life where you’ve decided it’s just too darn hard to do any darn better? Can you rise to the challenge? Can you be the person you truly want to be, in all facets of your life?
I say you can. And that’s not a trite answer. Here’s why: I’m a true believer that once you are conscious of an element of your life, once you’re paying attention to the thing you’ve overlooked, you gain the strength to make the change necessary to improve or to discard, to elevate or eschew the thing that you’re avoiding. In the language of the What’s Your Avocado? concept, we all have something about us that’s special. And so often, it’s the one element we’ve overlooked.
Let’s think back again to that child in school who is staring out the window. Do we discard him? Or do we help him find his joy, his purpose, his avocado, and bring that to life. I say we do. For all of us.
Stacie Zinn Roberts is a nationally recognized, award-winning writer and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience. She has won more than 40 national awards for her work including the United Nations Environmental Program for retail environmental marketing, as well as from organizations such at the Public Relations Society of America and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. She’s written for industry publications such as Golf Course Management, Sports Turf, Golfdom and PR Daily. She spent eight years as the president and director of marketing for Environmental Turf, where she developed the branding for SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, the grass that eventually became the greens grass for the Rio Olympic Golf Course. Stacie served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Florida Turfgrass Association as Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee where she worked closely with the scientists from the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program. Stacie founded What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in 2012.