Thursday, February 24, 2011

Making a Difference

"Do not follow where the path may lead - go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
This saying is one I have returned to often during some trying times... so much so that I have it painted on a wall in my Angel Room. I have always been that type of person that just sees things differently than other people, and following a well-traveled road has never come easy for me.  All my life I have thought and dreamed about fitting in, being like everyone else, hangin' with the popular kids, but there was always this voice inside me that said, "It's okay to be different," to which I would say back to myself, "Seriously? Are you kidding?  No, it's not! I have to blend in. I don't want to be different!"  By the way, yes, I do talk to myself; and no, I don't suffer from any serious psychological condition... at least not yet!

Flash to 2007, my daughter starts cheerleading at the Mighty Mite level (6 to 8 year olds), and we come back later in the day one Saturday to watch the older teams play/cheer. I observed a group of the older cheerleaders having one of those girl-type arguments that starts over nothing, escalates into something huge, and everyone is best friends again within an hour. The whole scene brought back memories of that very difficult time in a girl's life that you couldn't pay me to relive - middle school. (Absolutely, hands down, the WORST years of my life.) While watching this situation unfold, I remember wishing that something could be done, a different way to behave could be taught to make these difficult years easier to navigate.

This is where the Divine intervention comes in that I spoke of in my first post. It was one of those moments when you have such a great idea that you know it couldn't have come from your own mind.  I had recently finished a workshop in The Virtues Project and learned some of what I consider my best parenting tools. Why couldn't I apply those same tools to coaching? At that moment, it was like every synapses in my body was firing at the same time. Would it work?  Could it work?  Am I nuts?  Every answer came back a resounding Yes, including the one about being nuts.  But despite my questions and hesitation, I knew I was on to something. And best of all, I would finally be able to do something that would make a difference in the world (or at least in my community.)

Some of what I've tried has worked better than others, but when you're blazing a new trail, there is no manual to follow, it's all done by trial and error... and errors I do make.  But the best part of coaching, teaching, and learning in this way is that it is a passion that brings me so much joy. The thought that I might make a difference in one of my girls' lives, that someday she might stand before an audience of her peers and say, "I once had this cheer coach who taught me..." makes the challenges that continue to be put in front of me worth every frustrating moment of being me.

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