Monday, January 19, 2015

The Player-Coach

Some of the best speeches that I’ve ever heard are speeches where a highly successful person – someone who is universally loved, admired and respected – gives thanks to all of the people who helped him to become what he is.  
What is so captivating and inspirational about speeches in which superstars’ express their gratitude to those who encouraged them, disciplined them, and even forced them to become the best that they could be? Maybe it’s the sense that even we average or below average performers could also somehow reach far higher levels of production and achievement than we imagine is possible if we have the right coach and supporting staff to work with us. 
Maybe we derive hope from realizing that even the famous peak performers who broke records and accomplished so much with their lives are people too, and couldn’t have done it by themselves.  We love to hear that they too needed people to encourage them, discipline them, and sometimes even force them to believe in their gifts. We love to hear that they too would never have pushed themselves to get up early enough, to practice enough hours, to organize themselves and discipline themselves and work through the pain without the help of other people.
And what happens to a person who is never encouraged in the right way? He lives a life of “quiet desperation.” He lives a life in which his gifts remain hidden and alienated from himself. He lives a life in which he is frustrated by his own recognition that he possessed a certain greatness that he never learned to use – in short, that he wasted his potential.
Despite being very bright, Frank had always been an average student in school. When he was young, some of his more perceptive teachers noticed the huge discrepancy between Frank’s intellectual potential and his level of academic performance. Although Frank thrived and performed superbly for these few teachers, his abilities generally went un-noticed by his other teachers and parents. 
When Frank was in college, he again had a few special teachers who noticed his gifts. One professor tried to take Frank under his wing. He took him swimming and out to eat. The professor encouraged Frank to read more, to write more, to develop the fine mind that he had. But it was to no avail – Frank just didn’t believe in himself.
Frank graduated from college and professional school without distinction, and for years he worked for people who were far less capable than himself. Frank began to hate himself for not being able to actualize the greatness he sensed that he had. He became overly competitive and began to covet what others had – especially those in his own field who had achieved far more recognition than himself. 
When Frank was already married and had children, he chanced to meet a famous person in his academic discipline who he had admired for more than a decade. The world renowned professor was a superstar in Frank’s field and Frank yearned to be just like him. 
Even sleepy Frank could see that his “chance” meeting with one of his professional “idols” was more than sheer happenstance, so G-d helped Frank to push past his usual inertia and he volunteered to help the celebrity with his work. 
At first, Frank was so awed to be in the presence of the internationally acclaimed professor - his new mentor and coach.  Frank felt inadequate in relation to the famous intellectual wh
o had achieved so much in his field and who was so loved and sought after by millions. Continue here...

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Have a wonderful day, precious friends!
Dr. Zev Ballen

Dr. Zev Ballen