Put a Name on It

December 17, 2012 by John Andrew Williams

Sam is a high school sophomore. She has 3 A’s, 4 B’s. She really wants to get above a 3.75 grade point average (GPA).

She’s motivated, but she’s also frustrated. She feels like she’s putting in the work and studying hard.

One of the aspects I love most about being a Life Coach for teens is hearing a student talk about the process she uses to study and picking out the one part that makes a difference. We were coaching around academic thinking styles.

In a long explanation of how she studies, Sam said, “When doing the practice problems on the review sheets I try to make categories. Then when I’m studying I really have two things I do. I make flashcards and I take notes.”

Sam was brilliant, yet she hadn’t taken the time to really outline and put a name to the process and system that she was using. We went through class by class and named the study system that she would need.

Picture of her notes below.

Once we put a name on each of those study systems, it was like magic. You could see Sam light up and actually be excited about doing her math because she wanted to see what outcome would having a new system create.

My 3-year-old daughter, Georgia, is a master of naming things and experiences. The impulse to put a name on an experience, a perspective, a piece of clothing, or something else tangible like a doll or a toy is innate for children. And it gives her power to express herself and capture an idea.

As adults (and teenagers) it seems we stop adding our own unique names to experiences, habits, values, perspectives, or naming certain patterns that lead to arguments and fights between family members and negative perspectives that you want to avoid.

The magic in putting a name on something is that it gives us back our power. We take a degree of ownership of the experience, habit, whatever it is.

What do you want to put a name on?

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