As we approach our Project Citizen presentations I think it would benefit us if we think about what it will take to be successful in our presentations? I'm not just talking about the four presenters, but rather, the entire class. Each one of us had a role to play in putting together the presentation, whether it was in designing the poster board, organizing the binder, or creating the wiki. Did you do the best that you absolutely could do to complete the task you were given? If you were unsure of something did you ask a classmate or me to clarify your concern? Were you concerned about putting forth your absolute best effort?
If you answer YES to each of these questions then you should go into the presentation with a calm confidence knowing that you have done everything in your power to prepare. If you answered NO to each of these questions then you are more likely to be less confident and more nervous going into the presentation resulting in a greater likelihood that the presentation will be a disappointment.
What should define success? My favorite definition of success comes from probably the greatest living coach and teacher--former UCLA bacsketball coach John Wooden. He never defined success by the number of national titles he led UCLA to (10 in 12 years), or how long a winning streak he could engineer (88 games in a row, and 38 in a row in national championship tournament play), or how many perfect seasons he could lead UCLA to (4). Coach Wooden's famous definition of success is "the peace of mind derived from making the absolute and complete effort to do the best of which you are capable." [The Essential Wooden, McGraw-Hill, 2007]There is nothing about winning in his definition because winning is not the same as success. You can win a game, but play terribly and not deserve to actually win. Should that be considered success?
My hope for the Project Citizen presentations is that we experience real success, not because we get positive feedback, but because of the effort we put into the project and a recognition that we have learned some valuable lessons about how we can make a positive change in our community.