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“There will be people out there who won’t support what you’re doing. Who cares. Trust yourself more, trust others less. That includes significant others. Be brave…”
~ (Ash Ambirge)
“Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams…”
“Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours…”
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?” He must really be a nerd. I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friend’s tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses. As I drew closer I saw a tear in his eye. I handed him his glasses and said, “Those guys are jerks, they really should get lives.”
He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends he said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak. On graduation day, I saw Kyle and he looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me – all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous and today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began: “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings and maybe a coach, but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.” I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and Dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life, for better or for worse. God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.
Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.
[ back... ]
I was coaching one of my clients recently and what we uncovered during the conversation was the impact that his close family are having on his life and his efforts to change it. And how, whilst having the best of intentions, they were part of what was holding him back. Now this is very common, and also a somewhat complex topic, which I’m not going to dive into right now. However one thing in particular that he said stood out to me. He revealed that his wife was of the opinion that he shouldn’t need to hire a coach to help him create a more successful life, he should be able to do it “on his own”.
Has anyone ever said something similar to you? Or perhaps you have said it to yourself – you know, during one of those conversations with yourself in your own head? When I talk to people about making changes in their life it is something they often say to me – it usually goes something like “but shouldn’t I be able to do this on my own?” Hell, it’s something I even used to say to myself!
I’ve learned, however, that it is the opposite that is true. The most successful people get as much help as they need to accomplish their goal. How many athletes do you know that have reached the top of their game without the help of a coach. How many top business people have gotten there without learning from others along the way? Take someone like Ellen MacArthur for example, the fastest female and youngest sailor to race around the world solo, non-stop. Whilst she sailed around the world on her own, do you think she did it without any help? Of course not, she would have had advisors, trainers, sponsors, a support team, to name but a few. In fact if you look at her website: www.ellenmacarthur.com you’ll find the following quote:
“It’s always been about a team. Thanks for our partners, friends and supporters. Without them we would be nowhere.” Ellen MacArthur
Many people believe something along the lines that “if you have help to achieve something then it diminshes that achievement in some way, or means that they are weak or ‘less than’ as a person”. Not true! It is a common misconception however, and one that I would advise you to eliminate from your life. So next time you hear a phrase like “you should be able to do it on your own”, either from someone else, or from one of the little voices in your own head, remind yourself immediately that it is not true and focus on seeking the help you need to get to where you want to go.