The posts I wrote in November revolved around the concept of things we have to be thankful for. This post is one of those. I am asking you to consider a group of people in your life who I believe you should be thankful for. I want you to consider the teachers, coaches, and leaders who you have studied or followed and the mentors who have guided you. Are you thankful for the contributions that they made in your life? Have you told them?
We tell our students, athletes, and their parents how teachers and coaches play such an important role in kids’ lives. They provide knowledge, guidance, counseling, and nurturing for so many young people every day. They are selfless. Their whole professional life is about serving others. Teachers and coaches are there for you when you need them. So we tell our kids to thank their teachers and coaches for all that they do.
Today I want you to consider, as a coach/leader yourself, who has done the same kinds of things for you in your professional life. Who has taught you strategies, tactics, and the fine points of how to coach/lead? Who has helped guide you at times when you were struggling? Who has helped you with your coaching/leadership style? Who has been an ear for you when you needed to bounce ideas off someone, had questions about a certain situation, or had a tough problem that you were dealing with? Who sparked something in you that you didn’t even know you had in you? Who has helped you become the best you are capable of becoming?
For most of you, there are many people who have had that kind of impact on you. Of course, there will be some people’s faces that will quickly jump into your mind. These are the people who have had the greatest impact on your career, the job you do, and how you do what you do. These are the “life-changers” that so many of us point to as being the most influential people in our lives. Certainly, our parents will fall into this category. But who are the other people in your life who have had the greatest impact on you becoming the coach/leader you are today?
As you contemplate who has had a huge impact on you, you will probably realize that there are others who have also contributed to who you have become as a coach/leader. These may be people who played a smaller role in your growth as a coach/leader, but who, nonetheless, have been influential in some way in you becoming the person you are today. They may have offered a tip, may have been an example of a certain way to deal with a situation, or may have been someone from back when you were younger who you realize has always been a part of how you live your life. While their role may not seem as large and influential as the people who immediately stand out as impactful to you, the accumulation of all of their contributions has ended up having a huge impact on who you have become.
I am going to issue two challenges to you to try to accomplish by the end of this upcoming holiday season. First, make sure you thank the people who have been so impactful in your life. Of course, this starts with those people who immediately came to mind when you were asked to think of the people who have had the greatest influence for you. But this challenge also includes reaching out to the other people who have had what may seem like minor influences on you, but when you add them all together, you realize their impact has been huge. Do not put this challenge off. The people who have had an impact on your life will be so grateful that you have recognized them and thanked them for all that they have done for you.
The second challenge could be even more important than the first. I want to challenge you to become one of the people that other people will point to as having great influence and impact on their lives. Become a catalyst for growth, development, and inspiration to help others become all that they are capable of becoming. Do all that you can to pay forward the concepts that so many others have done for you.
Be the inspiration to become one’s best the same way someone else was an inspiration for you. And do this for a variety of people in a variety of circumstances. Be the coach who inspires kids to stretch themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of. Be the coach who works hard to create a positive experience for everyone in the program. Be the leader who helps other coaches, teachers, and supervisors feel the confidence to try something new or handle some situation that they may have struggled with before. Be the friend who is there for someone who is facing a struggle that they are not sure how to get through.
True leadership is about serving. When you help others get what they want, overcome obstacles, and develop the ability to become all they are capable of becoming, you help yourself and your teams do the same. Gandhi put it so well – “Be the change you want to see in the world.” You have a great opportunity to change so many lives for the better because of your leadership role in people’s lives.
Lead and inspire with honor, dignity, and compassion, and others will follow your example. By doing so, you will soon be the answer that someone gives when they are asked the question, “Who are you thankful for?” Go to the Coach with Character Facebook page – www.facebook.com/coachwithcharacter – and join the discussion by posting the names of any teachers, coaches, and leaders in your life who you are thankful for.
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