10 years old and Throwing the race
As I sat on the bench, with the other kids that competed and lost. I looked up — grinning ear to ear because I did something great. I was proud of myself for letting my friend Lisa win against me when we raced. She did not want to race me because I was fast- — fastest runner in the school. When our gym teacher Mr.Ross picked us two, to race against each other-She started crying -pouting and visibly-shaking. I took note of that. So when our gym teacher lined us up- in front of a gym filled with students- yelling, “ on your mark — get set — go!”. I knew she would not be able to beat me — so I decided to “ accidently” trip on my untied shoe lace-stayed down on the ground long enough for her to pass me and win the race. When she won- she threw her hands up in the air and yelled, “ yes!!”. She walked over to the winners bench. I also said, “ Yes!!” walked over to “ the O-U-T” bench.
I was smiling — ear to ear, thinking about how I demonstrated good sportsmanship. The thought in my head was was disrupted by a loud whistle blowing! My gym teacher Mr. Ross said something to the class in a low voice — and they all sat down on the gym floor- quietly. As he preceded to walk in my direction, I looked around to see if anyone behind me was doing something that would cause me to get in trouble. He approached the bench where I was sitting, then asked me to stand up. I had a smile on my face- but butterflies in my stomach. I said,” Yes Mr. Ross?” He then asked me what was I doing? I thought to myself — is that a trick question. Did he not see that I was sitting on the bench — .
In a low but firm voice — he said, “ look at me Maisha”. I looked up and he said,
“ Why did you throw your race and let Lisa win?”. I responded, “ she was crying and I am her friend-that’s good sportsmanship!”. (smiling with pride)
Mr. Ross looked at me and said, “ I know you were being nice- but the reason why I NEVER want you to throw a race again — is because, In this society you will be expected to do that — for the rest of your life”.
First off , you are an excellent athlete, you are always prepared for gym-win or loose-rain or shine -you are dressed and you show up. Everyone does not have to like gym the same way, including Lisa. She is never prepared to play she wears jeans — and you know — jeans are not allowed in my gym class! She wears them anyway. Now, although she is required to play — she is not entitled to win. Maisha — I need you to look me in my eyes, and listen to what I am about to say next. I never — ever want you to throw a race again, to make anyone feel better about themselves. Not you — because due to unfair rules in society — you are expected to take yourself out of the game- the game of success. Expected to throw races continuously for 10, 20,30 years — for the rest of your life. Without being told directly — you did exactly what you were expected to do-setting others up to win-by taking yourself out. This is called playing small.
Although we just finished the unit on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the Civil Rights Movement; that was only a little piece of what you are going to need to know to navigate through this society that is designed to accommodate white children who — cry when they do not get their way. A society that is designed for you to — move out the way and let others succeed.
I cannot change society — but I can give you a heads up! It is wrong and unfair in every way. If I ever made you feel less important, in anyway — in gym or in any other class that I teach; I apologize. You are gifted — and I will not say that I treat everyone the same.
Clearly you got the wrong message — thinking that it was a good idea to “loose on purpose”.
This is the last time I ever want to see you lose a race — — — -throw a race so someone else could win. That is not your job!!!You must see that now! You will be cheating yourself and the people who will one day need to hear your message— simply because you took yourself out of the race…to accommodate someone else’s tears.
Are we clear on this ?
I nodded my head yes.
He then gestured for me to follow him as we walked over to where he stood at the head of the gym class.
He blew his whistle once — a short and quick blow.
He then announced to the class that he had something to say-
Everyone was focused on Mr. Ross
He told the class that I WON the race and — that I lost on purpose — -
since I thought that was the right thing to do!
He exclaimed that if I practiced throwing races now — that I will continue to throw races — -way into my 30 and 40’s …
The class gasped — because that was old — — way old, 40 is ancient!
He turned to me and said, “ these are your classmates — you are a leader, amongst leaders — you don’t get to take yourself out of the race- that is not your life’s purpose. I need you to commit to yourself and your classmates that you will never “play small again- to accommodate anyone…”
So — — I looked at every single face one by one and took a very deep breathe.
I replied, “ I commit to NEVER playing small again- losing on purpose, ever!
ALL OF A SUDDEN a thunderous roar of cheers echoed throughout the cafeteria …YEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
I took it all in — -I owned it!
My teacher gestured for me to sit with the group- with the rest of the runners.
When I looked up — — — — — Lisa was at her favorite -table with her friends chatting away— I guess that’s her thing –
well this is mine……………
The story above is a Metastory-A perfect 10 -version of an actual story — “memory” . Your mind is greatly impacted by the beliefs you made in your youth — it’s crucial that you begin to clear up the stories that do not serve your success.
It was a necessary story for my own money making journey because I could not figure out why wealth kept evading me. Mental Blockers are very tricky and they can hide behind others things- kind of like a green pepper — which I need for my salad and its hidden behind a box of cereal-in the wrong aisle…So you have to actively seek them out , when your own behavior — habits, are not aligned the way you know they should be.
Improve your MIND SET by Identifying Blockers — The right Mindset is crucial when you are starting your business.
Maisha Sapp Woodley
Black Core strategies
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