I am amazed at the difference a coach can make in our lives.
Our younger daughter is a different person because of what two coaches have spoken into her life in a short two weeks. She is in her first year of college, dancing on the dance squad and running cross country in order to condition to run track in the spring. She was originally recruited by the dance coach but politely declined because she knew they were a very 'technical' squad and she had never had formal dance lessons. Expression and choreography come naturally to her but she felt as if she might not measure up since she had lacked the training. The coach assured her that she had qualities that would be an asset to the team and persisted in recruiting Jenna.
Practices began the day after she moved in. Six hours a day. Three in the morning, three in the afternoon. Jenna loved it. She loves to dance and loves the girls she's dancing with. Practices have been hard and demanding and fun all rolled into one.
The other night, as I was talking to Jenna she mentioned that she owed one girl fifty cents.
"What for?" I asked.
"For saying, 'I can't,'" she replied.
Jenna went on to explain that they had her start paying a quarter every time she said she couldn't do one of the aspects of dance that they were trying to teach her. She said they are all really patient but that they told her she has to stop saying she 'can't.' Having to pay that quarter made her more aware of what she was saying and, for the most part, halted the negative talk. Great coaching.
The track coach has done the same thing – just in a different way. After two surgeries and a leg that didn't heal quite right, Jenna gave up on her dream of ever running in college. During a visit to the college over the summer, the track coach sat down with her and told her they could give her money to run. She wasn't sure she could. He told her he knew of what had happened with her injury but had seen her run before and believed she had real ability. He offered no guarantees, except for that he would help her get stronger. Her surgeon had told her that how that knee was by June 1 was how it would be the rest of her life. Her track coach wasn't willing to believe that and has worked more in these last two weeks with her than anyone has in the last two years. There has been pain and exhaustion, but we have also seen restored hope and joy. We saw her Saturday night and the first thing she showed us was the difference in her left leg! Now she tells people she is dancing and running for the school.
Tomorrow I leave for 15 days on a tour to British Columbia. I am the Tour Director. That British Columbia tour was the very first tour I ever did eight years ago. I had been briefed and a tiny-bit trained but had never taken a group of people on my own. Why in the world would I think I could do a thing like that? I had never been to British Columbia! Once again, it was a good coach. A person who believed I could even when I wasn't sure I could. A person who was willing to provide the opportunity and even pay me for the job even when they had no proof that I could do it. Not unlike Jenna's track coach, he believed I was strong enough to do it. This is now my 3rd time to British Columbia. I have been to Nova Scotia four times. No matter where it takes me, I never turn down an opportunity, Has it always been easy? No. Have I had to step out of my comfort zone? Yep…way out! Has it been worth it? Absolutely!
We grow and are strengthened by saying, "I can." New opportunities and open doors are created when we are willing to step away from what we ordinarily do and are willing to try something new. You may find strength you didn't know you had or find healing you didn't know was possible. In the midst of the 'work', you may even find joy. This week, we are asking our Angels to rise to the occasion and say, "Yes, I can!" to some challenges we've set before them. The beauty of such a plan is that we will all be better for it.
Stepping Out With You,