I will never forget the moment. I was in the middle of the end of my first On-Ramp session at CrossFit Boston in 2007 and while I more or less knew how to lift and slog my way through distance, this was another matter entirely.
I hadn’t pushed myself like this in quite some time.
I certainly hadn’t been pushed like this in quite some time.
And at the end of my rope–or more accurately the chain of a Concept 2 rowing machine–I received a gift I hadn’t expected: my coach’s full attention and exhortation.
“I see something in you,” he said. (How could he? We’d known each other for 30 minutes.)
“You are going to keep going,” he said. (As a matter of fact dude, I was about to ease up on the gas!)
“Finish as strong as you can,” he said. “I believe in you.”
And that’s when received the gift I’d never expected: someone’s belief in me.
Someone who was willing to look me in the eye–dead in the eye–and say those words to me.
This wasn’t the first time a coach had talked to me like that, but it had been a very long while. And it’s not the last time a coach talked to me like that, but it’s the one I’ll always remember.
Because it’s the first day I ever let myself think about what it might be like to believe in other people like that. In that exact way. In a gym like that. With people as scared and as nervous as I was. FOR people who were as scared and nervous as I was.
If you’ve had a coach believe in you like that, you know.
If you are a coach who believes in people like that, you know.
Coaching is, I think, so many different things. Skill, knowledge, kindness, patience. Love. It’s love, too.
But above all, it’s belief. The gift of belief.