Mentors and Coaches

The people closest to me determine my level of success or failure. The better they are, the better I am. And if I want to go to the highest level, I can do it only with the help of other people. We have to take each other higher. 
- John Maxwell

I am a firm believer that the people around you determine your success. I think it all goes back to when Mama used to say: birds of a feather flock together! 

A lifetime or two ago, when I was in sales, my director had a great exercise for us once or twice a year. First, list the names of everyone in your closest circles; the people you talk to on a daily or weekly basis. Then, go through each and if - when you walk away from that person [or get off the phone with them], you feel uplifted, encouraged, stronger, faster, fitter, smarter, better -- mark a little plus sign by their name. If you feel pessimistic, hurt, confused, frustrated or angry, mark a little negative sign by their name. You may find that some people make you feel a little of both and that you've put a + and a - sign by their name [and it's very likely to be someone you live with!]  If so, mark a little circle beside their name. 

The biggest part of the exercise is to surround yourself with those with the + by their name. Start spending more time with people who believe in your growth and your dreams and work. You don't need to eliminate those with the big fat minus mark - but for a few weeks or months, try spending less time with them. Or - even better - become their plus-mark - the influencer for their dreams and efforts and positive attitudes.


I am intentional about seeking those who lift me to the next level. I want leaders in my life to show me the way. I want adventurers and lovers-of-life and goal-setters. I look for those who see the best in people and situations and share my strengths. I even look for those who round out my weaknesses. Example-setters that will teach me how to improve. Here are some of my personal-life birds:
Adventurers and Leaders

Athletes and Encouragers of the YDubTriClub

My Family
Personal-Growth Seeker Susan
Positive Laid-Back Energy and a Dose of Moxie

I also make a point to surround myself with coaches and mentors who are one step ahead (maybe two). I learned in year two of my triathlon-ing that my coaches at the YDubTriClub pushed me a little further, expected a little more and believed in my performance when I didn't. I made huge leaps in training and races that year!

In the past few months, I've added a CCO (chief coaching officer) to the roster. I've been working with Stacey Richardson of TriStacey Coaching! In November, I sought her out to solve a few issues in my own personal performance, to get a fresh, live perspective on coaching and maybe interview her for this very blog! In January, I joined her TryIt team in preparation for the M-Dot Raleigh 70.3 in June. Each week, she sends me challenging workouts. More importantly, we talk each week. I ask her dumb questions about how to coach and give her feedback (i.e. whine) about those challenging workouts! She encourages me. She responds to  my specific limiters and strengths. She passes on invaluable info. It is evident every time we talk that she LOVES what she does. This is what I strive for, too! 

One funny fact? I haven't even met her yet! We've Skyped, we've chatted by phone, we've exchanged emails. Your mentor or coach may be someone already in your circle - or someone you've never met. They may be your pastor, an inspiring coach, an energetic athlete or even Oprah Winfrey! Listen to their podcasts, read their books, discover their strengths and then emulate them.

I'm excited to say that I get to meet my coach next weekend! I'm headed to a multi-sport expo in Durham on Saturday where she is a featured speaker! Plus, on Sunday - I attempt my first track practice under her tutelage. Yikes! Stay tuned for that and maybe even the aforementioned interview.

1 comment:

  1. yeah! beautiful blog. I'm always pulling for you Bess Beth! : ) xoxoo