Personal Growth is not an easy topic to discuss for some people and I get that. Not everyone wants to dig around on the dark murky stuff sloshing around in their head and shine a light on it. Sometimes it takes an external force to get you to face some of the things that you fear most. Much of that is in your head, self-induced psychosis and cumulative traumas from your childhood that dictate your adult behaviors and thought patterns. I wish everyone would have the opportunities I have been granted which I hold so dear to my heart. Please allow me to elaborate…
Since I chose not to have children, this has been my oblique shot at parenting. When people as me if I have kids, I say “Yes, I have 20 of them every year.” That is how I felt about the role I played as a coach. I was highly involved in some of their lives, knowing when someone broke up with a significant other or had issues within their family. I tried my best to be an additional adult in their lives that they could come to with concerns, sometimes just listening, and other times giving advice on what I thought would be the best way to handle something. I took this responsibility VERY seriously. God Bless my wife for understanding just how much this role meant to me and allowing me to play it to its fullest without concern.
I learned early on in my coaching career with the ASU Racquetball team that I was teaching life lessons disguised as racquetball skills. Fifteen years later I can look back on that body of work and smile. I didn’t do everything right, but I believe I did my best. The errors I did make I learned from and did my best to not repeat. I tried to lead by example as often as possible in every situation, and this took on a very broad definition as time passed. I was never late for practice, I was the first one to run up the hill and I did the workouts with them. I didn’t stand on the sidelines and bark orders, I led by example. This experience MADE ME grow up. I taught me to not think of myself first, and that pushing someone else into the spotlight is far more rewarding than being there yourself. Sometimes my loss was their gain, and in some cases it made all the difference.
I stood up for my players when someone needed to, corrected them when they needed it. I have laughed and cried and loved. We have won together, lost together, and so much more as part of this journey, and it has been wonderful in every way. I have grown in ways I never would have imagined, and for that I am very grateful. The wins and losses fade over time, but the memories will last forever. The friendships and close bonds that have been formed will last a lifetime, even if we don’t talk to one another on a regular basis. We shared time.
The heart and soul do not measure time,
they only measure growth.
I have been in the position to dramatically impact lives for some, for others, it was simply a portion of their time at college. I have been to a couple of weddings, been a shoulder to cry on or a sounding board for life changing decisions. I have lent a hand to more than one person dealing with a life threatening condition. I have tried to help everyone that has come to me for assistance in the best way I could, sharing my thoughts and opinions without telling someone what to do. I tried to be clear that I will not judge anyone, and still love them no matter what. I have had to override my strong desire to fix things for someone, and instead share my thoughts and allow them to resolve the situation themselves. I have been there to pick up the pieces when things go south. I have tried to be my most authentic self at all times; laughing the loudest, even when the joke is on me. I have also learned to be strong enough to cry in front of others when the situation warrants it.
Here is the takeaway in my opinion: Service of others is the greatest personal growth vehicle you can have. Yes, my own racquetball career is a close second, as I learned so much about myself throughout that portion of my life’s journey. But taking those life lessons and sharing them with others in the capacity as a coach and mentor has accelerated my own personal growth in ways I never saw coming. It has made me hungry for more.
It has become my life’s mission to assist as many people as possible through my public speaking and consulting roles. My goal is to widen my audience and circle of influence exponentially from where it started. I am ready to greet this next phase with open arms and see where this new turn in the road leads me. I am doing a much better job of swimming with the current instead of against it.
All things have a lifecycle to them and this portion of my journey has come to an end. I sit here with tears in my eyes as I write this, knowing that a huge chapter in my life is closing. I have few if any regrets, tons of amazing memories and a bunch of lifelong friendships because of this. I am a better man because of this experience, and for that alone I am eternally grateful. But the time has come to pass the torch on to someone else. I am excited for the next chapter in my life and I look forward to adding new skills and challenges to my own life. I plan on being new at a few different things, switching roles from the subject matter expert to being a wide eyed and curious beginner. I relish the idea of growing and improving in chunks instead of microscopic increments. The time has come, the end of the road is in sight.
Wish me luck in my next endeavors…