When you’re growing up you can’t, and don’t, really appreciate it. At least I didn’t.
As a professional speaker I have a coach and mentor that continues to push me to find universal stories that will connect with my audience.
Since there is no more universal story others can connect to than a mother story, I took significant time since last Sunday to reflect.
My mom, and I would challenge you that your mom was most likely the same, was my first mentor and coach.
I didn’t recognize her in that role until just recently when I began reflecting on my evolution into a successful professional.
My 20-year career leading professional baseball franchises can be traced directly to three incidents between the ages of seven and twelve years old, when I was playing Little League baseball.
Every two years would be a ‘move up’ year when my age required me to be placed in a league for older boys, seven and eight years old was one level, nine and 10 years old was a higher level and ages 11-12 was the highest level.
Whenever it came time for me to move up to the next level I would tell my mom I didn’t want to, but my mom wouldn’t accept my reasoning.
She knew I would regret not playing so she would coach me through my decision.
The kids were bigger and stronger, they threw and hit the ball harder.
My decision was solely based on self-doubt and fear about whether I could compete at the next level.
Each time, my mom would encourage me to “give it a try” and each time the enjoyment of being on the field, making new friends with my teammates and the support from the coaches allowed me to overcome my trepidations.
Yet, when it came time to step up to the next level, that self-doubt would creep in again.
And, mom would be there to help me transition.
Thanks to mom I played baseball all through my senior year in high school until I was seriously injured in a play on the field.
My mom’s mentoring and coaching in the early years gave me powerful references in my adult years after college to always push myself to the next level.
That mentoring and coaching gave me high levels of self-confidence and self-belief that even though the next job on my career path would require a new level of thinking, feeling and acting and would require new skills, I could do it.
That’s what great coaches and mentors do.
They give you confidence when you lack confidence.
They give you insights into yourself that they recognize from the outside you can’t see from the inside.
They push you beyond your comfort zone, because we all need that push through our own insecurities, our own self-doubt and the uncertainty ahead.
How did your mom serve as your first mentor and coach? Who is your present mentor and coach and how have they helped you over the years?