Dear Educators:

Last week we focused on awareness of our thinking as either being Above the Line (our thinking is working in our best interest) or Below the Line (our thinking is not working in our best interest). We also considered Invitations: conditions we experience that invite us to go Below the Line. You have probably experienced several Invitations during the past week.

When we are operating as a Top 20 person (thinking effectively), we know we don’t govern the Invitations. They come whether we want them to or not. But we also know that we determine our response to those Invitations. By doing so, we govern our experience.

To do this effectively, we need to be aware of our Indicators and Trampolines.

Indicators are the feelings, thoughts, or behaviors we manifest when we are Below the Line. They are the flashing lights that let us know that our thinking isn’t Top 20. Everyone on our team has several Indicators. My primary Indicator is my need to be right. When that bubbles up in me, I know that my thinking is Below the Line. Willow’s primary Indicator is getting quiet. We see her withdrawing into her cave. Tom’s Indicator is sarcasm. He comes out of the cave with a club and will slice and dice you with sarcasm. Kevin’s Indicator is self-doubt and can remain unknown by the rest of us.

There are two huge benefits to knowing our Indicators.

1. We can refrain from making important decisions when our thinking isn’t working well.

2. We can let others know when we are Below so they don’t take our moods, emotions, or actions personally.

Let’s remember that being Below the Line isn’t a bad thing; it’s a human thing. We just want to know when we are there. We also don’t want to stay there. That’s why we need Trampolines.  

Trampolines are the things we can do to bounce back Above the Line. There are countless ways we can change our thinking: exercise, laugh, express gratitude or kindness, take a nap, do a hobby, talk to friends, spend time in nature, read, or change our perspective.

Click here to hear Kevin interview his kids regarding their Invitations and Trampolines. 

Imagine the benefit to students, colleagues, and family members if we are mindful of our thinking and know when we are Above or Below the Line. How can we help this happen?

1. A school had two doors side-by-side through which students entered and left the building. An Above the Line sign was taped to one door and a Below the Line sign was taped to the other. Students entering or leaving the building went through the door based on whether they were Above or Below.

2. My daughter teaches a high school health class. When students come into her room, they take a magnetized star and place it above or below a line on the whiteboard. At the beginning of class, students who are Below the Line can share what they are experiencing.

3. Families can put a line on their refrigerator and have family members place their name or picture where they are each day.

Take a moment to reflect:

·      What are your Indicators?

·      What Trampolines can you use?

Click the word chapter to read about Above and Below the Line from our Top 20 Teens book. This concept is one of the lessons in all of our curricula for grades K-12.

Please contact us if we can support you during this challenging time.

Best wishes from our Top 20 team…Kevin Brennan, Willow Sweeney, and Tom Cody.

Paul Bernabei


Top 20 Training