As the meeting began at promptly seven in the morning, we quickly scurried to our seats and the ‘Toastmaster’ began our weekly meeting. I can’t tell you how elated I am, each time I attend a meeting. I know our Earlybird Toastmaster group thinks I am lying, at times, when I boldly announce how happy I am to have this wonderful experience with such a wonderful group of people and for a good cause. (Yes, I become all mushy and sentimental sometimes, because I am so darn grateful for this experience). However, they always find a way to uplift, educate and inspire me to keep on keeping on.
This week was no different. I was so ecstatic to be there I had goosebumps. Then they announced the topic or subject of the week! Omg, each and every cell was bouncing up and down when he said, “Olympics.”
I don’t remember anything else, but that word! I don’t know if it is about specific athletes, awards, or #trends on #twitter. I simply heard OLYMPICS! I thought oh yes! This is my topic! I can remember when the torch was to be running through our small town of Bedford Kentucky over twenty-two years ago!
It was a cold, dreary day and Darion was at least two years old, which she is now 25. I had all the details. When the athlete would be passing our driveway, approximate time of arrival at the Courthouse and the time of the torch lighting. I talked about it for weeks and weeks before the actual day! LOL I remember friends of mine laughing at me for my obsession surrounding this event. It was finally here!
I wrapped Darion up and we quickly walked to the end of our mile long driveway. The rain poured, it felt like God was pouring buckets of water on top of us! It didn’t matter, we stood firm and cheered as the drenched and cold athlete ran by. Tears streamed down my face as Darion looked up and asked, “What’s wrong mommy? Why are you sad?”
I chuckled, swooped her up to rush and catch the lighting of the torch. The inspiring event continues to hold a special place in my heart. However, after reading this heartfelt series of events you would probably create an image of a sports crazed person. Watching sports event after event, having great celebrations around the sports world to be able to cheer on my team. Truth is I could care less. I can take it or leave it, but the Olympics inspires me, creates emotions of exhilaration, I can, achievement and unity.
While multitasking by reflecting and enjoying my emotions, I am quickly brought back to reality, when the acquainting session had begun and I was off in la la land. “I am sorry, can you restate the question?”
“If you could participate in the Olympics what would you want your role to be?”
(I am not even sure if that was the question, but that is what I heard).
I stated my name and what I ‘do’ then said, “If I could be anything I would be a coach! And now that I think about it, that’s what I love to do anyways.”
What? What kind of answer was that? My Stinking Thinking (Zig Ziglar) was creeping in! Michael one of my fellow toastmasters, reminded me to stop Stinkin Thinkin and I immediately brought myself back to the meeting! He is correct. I am fine, I continued to ‘coach’ myself through each portion and stayed focused on the speeches.
Then it happened. One of those AHA moments, hit me! Sam (another fellow Toastmaster) said, “Teena, When you said that about being a coach, I laughed and told Michael, if Teena Drake told me I could do it, I would believe it and do it.”
I laughed it off, yet allowed his kind and motivational words to sink in.
Sam hit the bullseye! I always knew I was labeled a cheerleader. However, after a certain age the title cheerleader, isn’t how I would describe myself. Because it is isolated to one team or age group. However, over the years some of my greatest emotional accomplishments were during my times of coaching. And yes, I mean original types of sports coaching- Tee ball, flag football, middleschool volleyball, cheerleading, track…as well as talent, beauty, pageants and academics!
In the sports world, I struggled with insecurities. I never felt ‘good’ enough to uphold the title Coach. I don’t know if it was my lack of ability in those skill sets or my lack of knowledge. But I rarely placed my ‘coaching’ experience on a resume or LinkedIn, until now.
However, my teams were always successful. I have a great deal to celebrate over the multitude of wins and improvements in my athletes. But I didn’t have faith in my own ability.
Although my style of coaching is much different than the past, the main purpose/goal, is invariably the same. I love it! As coach… you are their cheerleader, small tiny voice in their heads that says, “Yes, you can!” Mentor, guide and most of all motivator.
Along with so many people who assist, motivate, hold me accountable and uplift my gifts, I must express my deepest gratitude to all of them and to my fellow Toastmaster friends.
You see, you do not know when your words could change someone’s life forever! If you see something terrific in someone tell them. They may need a little boost to fullfill their own dreams and ambitions. We are all in this together.
I am grateful to know I am on the right path.
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What do you want to say when asked, “What do you do? Why?”
Thank you for reading and feeling this experience with me! If this blog helped you, please follow me and share with someone, who might need an extra boost.
I am grateful for you!
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