Do you allow your potential to be limited by others?

Today is May 31 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you allow others to limit your potential?” The commitment, dedication, and consistency required to navigate the chaos requires a belief in one’s potential. Unfortunately, not everyone in your life is going to believe in your potential. But you must. Friends will not believe in you. Family members will not believe in you. Even teachers and people close to you might not fully envision your potential. This disconnect, between what you envision for your life, and what others see, is a constant source of either conscious or unconscious tension in our lives as we navigate the chaos. It is up to you, and you alone, to ask the question “is someone in my life limiting my potential?”

This limitation of potential is especially true for parents who hover over their children. Parents take note; stop doing everything for your child. Stop protecting them from failing. Stop catching them every time they fall off the bike. Stop trying to shield them from the chaos. By hovering you give the message that your child is incapable of handling any difficulty life throws their way. Such an approach limits your child’s potential.

Research published by the American Psychological Association in June 2018 revealed hovering over children constantly, also known as helicopter parenting, can negatively affect a child’s emotional well-being and behavior. According to the study, children need space to learn and develop on their own.

Dr. Nicole B. Perry from the University of Minnesota is the study’s lead author wrote: “Our research showed that children with helicopter parents may be less able to deal with the challenging demands of growing up, especially with navigating the complex school environment,” said Dr. Perry. “Children who cannot regulate their emotions and behavior effectively are more likely to act out in the classroom, to have a harder time making friends and to struggle in school.” Mae Carol Jemison struggled throughout her life but always believed in her potential.

As the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Carol Jemison believed that she would “never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama, on October 17, 1956 and the family moved to Chicago, Illinois, when Jemison was three years old, to take advantage of the better educational and employment opportunities there.

As a young girl growing up in Chicago, she always assumed she would get into space. Jemison's parents were supportive of her interest in science, while her teachers were not. According to Jamison "In kindergarten, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her a scientist…she said, 'Don't you mean a nurse?' Now, there's nothing wrong with being a nurse, but that's not what I wanted to be….I always knew I wanted to explore. At the time of the Apollo airing, everybody was thrilled about space, but I remember being irritated that there were no women astronauts. People tried to explain that to me, and I did not buy it."

As she had been in high school, Jemison was involved in extracurricular activities at Stanford, including dance and theater productions. After she obtained her M.D. in 1981, Jemison interned at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center and later worked as a general practitioner. For the next two and a half years, she was the area Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia. In October 1985 Jemison made a career change and decided to follow a dream she had nurtured for a long time and applied for admission to NASA's astronaut training program. The Challenger disaster of January 1986 delayed the selection process, but when she reapplied a year later, Jemison was one of the 15 candidates chosen from a field of about 2,000.

She would eventually become the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. Jamison did not allow herself to be limited by other people’s imaginations. Do you?

Author Roy T. Bennett “Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself. Believe in yourself, your abilities, and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for. Do not let others tell you what you cannot do. Do not let the limitations of others limit your vision. If you can remove your self-doubt and believe in yourself, you can achieve what you never thought possible.”