I was nine years old when I was first turned on to the power of feeding myself with inspirational ideas and motivational thinking. It was at a gymnastics meet in Louisville, Kentucky. I competed in all four events, but I excelled in bars and floor exercise. The balance beam always had me trembling with fear that my foot would slip and I would fall in a straddle and be killed by crotch landing. I was decent at vault, but it wasn't my favorite. I didn't put much time or effort into it during my practices since I was apathetic about it. I was good enough to get by.
Awards are handed out in gymnastics for individual events as well as for all-around. The all-around awards are given to the gymnasts with the highest combined scores for all four events. At this particular meet, I was in the running for first place in the all-around competition, even with my shaky beam routine. My crotch, thank God, had once again escaped annihilation. All that was left was to do a good vault and I would be champion. Plus, you get two attempts in vault, and they keep your top score. No problem. I was basically home free. Except I wasn't. My first vault didn't go anywhere close to plan. My feet hit the springboard wrong, and I barely made it over the vault before I landed in a heap on the other side. I couldn't believe it. I was so mad. And now I was scared because I only had one shot left at a successful attempt. Still reeling from my first attempt, I was unable to collect my mental focus. Consequently, my second attempt was even worse than the first and the all-around championship was lost.
I was inconsolable. My eyes burned with shameful and humiliating tears. Why hadn't I practiced more? Why did I take it for granted that I could summon a win at will without putting in the work? I hated myself for letting this happen. But just then, out of nowhere, a stranger, a coach from another team, tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could talk to me for a minute. He told me to dry my tears, that I was as talented as the girl who won the competition but I needed to be better disciplined with my practice and my attitude. And then he gave me the poem Don't Quit. It changed my life. I called upon those words to get me through numerous competitions after that and still call upon them as a tool for motivation when times are hard. And who do I have to thank for that? A coach.
The experience I had with the gymnastics meet and with the coach that day planted a seed of desire to commit to being the best person I could be with the tools that are available to me at any given moment. I developed a talent for helping others through their difficult experiences and motivating them to WANT to improve the quality of their lives. I coach now because I first allowed myself to be coached into discovering my life's path and having the audacity to pursue it. I continue to call on my coach in order to maintain the momentum needed to keep myself balanced, while giving my time and energy to support others. We all have a purpose for our life and a life coach meets you where you are, provides the support for you to develop a clear path for where you want to go, and celebrates every small victory along the journey. If you look at the most successful people in the world, an overwhelming number of them will freely attribute their success to the support of their life coach.