inner circle

Inner Circle

Kyle Bragg Education

SHARE THIS STORY: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+

Our brains are easily persuaded by self-talk. When facing adversity, it’s natural to think about doubts and harder to focus on the positives. Life, especially in teaching, is full of challenges. As I tell my students, “If you think you can, you’re probably right. If you think you can’t, you’re also probably right.” I have mantras I use to help me through the tough times such as “I can do this!” and “Just do it”, like in the Nike commercial. My challenge for you is to begin framing your mind positively and to develop your mantras, helping you push through when times get tough. Your “inner circle” is your friends and family closest to you that you can count on. Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people will also help you reach goals, regardless of what they are. Choose your “inner circle” wisely.

Even with mantras and positive self-talk, it feels near impossible to stay positive at times. That is why surrounding yourself with true friends and loved ones that believe in you is significant. This reminds me of when I was playing college golf against one of the best players in the country. I was down 3 strokes with 3 holes to play. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any momentum going. Luckily, there was a long wait on number 16 tee box, as the group ahead was taking a while searching for a ball. As I waited, a friend in the group behind caught up to me. He asked how I was doing. I said, “OK, but it’s not looking good. I’m not making many putts.” My friend shook me. He said, “Kyle: I’ve seen you birdie 5 holes in a row before. Remember that? Put a scare in him.” I remembered that like it was yesterday, but wasn’t thinking of it until my friend reminded me. Then, I told him, “You’re right. I CAN do this.” I went on to birdie holes 16 and 17, and capped it off with an eagle on 18 to finish 2 strokes ahead. It was one of the best, most memorable moments of my career, and it happened because of choosing positive friends who support me through thick and thin.

The reason share this story is because you can’t control everything in your life. I couldn’t control my opponents’ scores, but I could control my frame of mind and who my friends are, increasing the chance of success. While we say we are going to stay positive all the time on our own, that’s not realistic. When times are tough and mantras aren’t working, surround yourself with positive, trustworthy people. Think of the process instead of the final product. Set specific goals and stick with them. Focus on what you can do each day to help you reach them.

When looking at successful people, what do most have in common? They believe in themselves, but also surround themselves with great people. Frame your mind positively. Develop mantras and stick to them. Be vulnerable and seek out guidance from other trusted professionals. As Oprah Winfrey said, Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher! Life is already full of people who want to bring you down.” Nobody will do the work for you, but they can sure help. My question for you is: Who is in your “inner circle?”


My name is Kyle Bragg, a physical education teacher at Anasazi Elementary School in Scottsdale, AZ. I am a National Board Certified Teacher, as well as the 2018 Arizona Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year and the 2019 Arizona Innovative Physical Education Teacher of the Year. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in 2010 from Illinois State University, where I played collegiate golf. I earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching and Learning in 2013 from Nova Southeastern University. In class, I utilize technology to create developmentally appropriate lessons, which allow students to experience success and improve their physical literacy. I incorporate Social Emotional Learning as well to help establish a safe, loving classroom climate. Beyond the classroom, I strive to inspire teachers by writing for journals and blogs, as well as presenting to groups on the local, state, and national levels.

Comments 2

  1. Yolanda Wheelington

    Thank you for sharing this. I know absolutely nothing about hockey (I hope that’s the sport you are referencing) but I totally understood the reason you shared this story. I agree with you. Who we associate with greatly influences where we go, or do not go, in life. My mentor was just talking with me about that and it has really made me renegotiate how I am allowing people and things to influence me.

    Thanks again!

    1. Post
      Kyle Bragg

      Thanks Yolanda for reading and providing a comment! It was golf (not hockey), but that’s not the important part! It’s about surrounding yourself with encouraging people who will help you achieve your goals.

Leave a Reply to Kyle Bragg Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *