Challenging him to take the next step

Challenge. Nothing gives a young man confidence like facing a challenge. His identity grows, his self-respect grows, his belief in his ability to do hard things grows. Everything we do at Forte Strong is designed to challenge young men to grow in one way or another. As they live alongside other young men who are facing and overcoming their own challenges, they begin to have a desire to meet and overcome those challenges themselves. One of these challenges includes finding work, consistently showing up to work and paying bills with the money they earned by working.

As they see their peers and their coaches doing hard things they begin to wonder if they can do hard things themselves, they begin to feel a desire to do more than the bare minimum their accustomed to doing. As this desire grows and as they experience the thrill of trying something new, the belief that they can do what needs to be done to take care of themselves grows too. They begin to act more confidently. This leads them to worry less about making mistakes and focusing more on learning, growing and becoming a strong and independent man. As they get a taste for overcoming a challenge, they begin to thirst for more. They become more humble and are open to listen to others who have more experience, such as their parents, coaches, therapists and successful peers.

This is possibly the most remarkable and exciting change we see in the young men we work with: the growing sense of confidence they gain as they meet and overcome new challenges. One aspect of meeting and overcoming challenges that often gets overlooked is the possibility or rather the reality of failure. Failure is crucial to building confidence. Maybe you’re thinking that doesn’t make sense, but the reality is, everyone fails their way through life to find success. In fact, every success story is a series of testing (mistakes) what works and what doesn’t work. Some call this the process of trial and error.

We use challenges not only to expand their horizons, we also use challenges to help them realize that it’s ok to make mistakes, that it’s ok to “fail” when they are trying something new, as long as they keep going and keep trying. Once the knowledge that making a mistake isn’t the end of the world sinks in, they begin to enjoy the challenges that they once dreaded.

We challenge young men to improve themselves, to try new things and expand their skills and talents and we use those challenges to teach them important lessons about life… about themselves and what they are truly capable of.