throughout my life i have always had role models and people i looked up to and aspired to be like. the best version of these are REAL people who you actually have interaction with in your life. and i’ll tell you why….
as we go through our lives, us crazy ambitious types learn real fast that the best way to be successful is to model someone else’s proven success. to put in the time and effort, do the grunt work, surround yourself with the right people, and success will be yours. a big thing i have learned in my career and in life is to have people you look up to and respect and make them a part of your life. as a coach, i am a member of the women’s coaching alliance and have been fortunate to be included in an insanely talented group of successful women. sometimes you try and cultivate certain relationships and they don’t stick or it isn’t right…and sometimes they do, and it’s magical.
i “adopted” my mentor about a year ago. my career was looking like it was taking a nose dive (which, yes, it did) and instantly i knew i had to do something about it but wasn’t sure how. already feeling super comfortable with her and knowing that she actually knew more than me about what was going on with my team, i turned to her for guidance. she’s known me literally since i was 18. she coached against me in college and to this day i will never forget how encouraging she was back then. i remember winning conference trophies year after year and she was one of the friendly faces who always personally congratulated me and said she was hoping i’d get it. she coached the team of our travel partners back then, so we spent a lot of long hours together. once i was into coaching myself, she was one of my favorites to see at tournaments. to this day, some of my best memories as a player were at her team’s courts. and now as a coach, she has welcomed me with open arms and been there through the ups and downs. it’s been a rocky road, and she’s stood by me the whole time.
i have great people around me day in and day out. but there’s nothing like someone who ACTUALLY KNOWS what is going on with me. Who knows the game and the politics and the ins and outs of it all. i am so lucky for all the supportive people around me, but to be able to hit rock bottom, write an email to her with tears flowing from my eyes and get a response that gives me renewed faith and hope in myself…i’m lucky to have found that.
so here’s my advice to you. to anyone and everyone. to someone struggling in life, in your career, with your health, in your family-life, or just with your own demons. find someone who gets you. find someone that can motivate you. find someone that GENUINELY wants to see you succeed and be there next to you along the way. find someone that is willing to stand by you and tell you how amazing you are and to never give up while you are down in the dumps, covered in tears and can’t see or think straight. find someone that will push you harder when you need to be pushed and will give you a hug when that is needed. this person is worth more than you know. and cultivate that relationship. (i can’t tell you how many emails i’ve written to coaches i admire…usually they respond and say thank you, but those that “get it” have taken the time to invest in me)
i am so grateful for the phonecalls, emails, texts and just overall great recommendations from my mentor. every time i am ready to quit, she pulls me back up and re-motivates me (sign of an amazing coach, eh??). she works hard and loves every minute of it. she plays by the rules. she’s passionate. she’s had it rough and has had to fight adversity to get to where she is. she’s the FIRST female coach at an institution that is VERY strict and old school (think, a branch of our government!). she inspires me and amazes me and is everything i want to be as a coach. i learn from her whenever i’m around her and am so thankful that in some weird way she became not only someone i look up to, but a friend. i know she will always be a part of my life and maybe even one day i can fill her shoes.