Conflict, disagreements, arguments.. those are words that used to make me cringe.
The people pleaser in me would get so worried that I'd say the wrong thing,
Or I'd stay quiet when something upset me, starting an internal war with myself.
When I was 15, I just stood there as my basketball coach spit in my direction.
"You've got no business being on this court,"
We lost. We lost a big game. And we were running sprint after sprint after sprint the next day at practice.
Our coach had a bad temper, but this went too far.
I felt myself fighting back the tears. I was scared to say something.
So I didn't.
I let the berating and the spit fly in my direction.
He full on spit at my feet.
My 15 year old self wasn't equipped to process that, but now, 22 years later, it does change the way I coach our son.
One day he boots the soccer ball into the net,
And other days he puts it under his jersey, like the other boys, and pretends he's pregnant.
One day he sprints and touches all the bases at T-ball, and others, he falls onto the ground with sillies.
When he's not focused, I cringe.
I lay my head on my husbands shoulder and voice my frustration, in which he reminds me.
"He's 5, babe. He's 5."
And he's right.
Right now it's about building Oliver's confidence and seeing what he enjoys and what he doesn't.
That incident with my coach was one of many experiences, that wrecked my confidence.
But without it, I may fall into the same trap.
With Oliver, I might have tried to make it about me, and my image, and "living through my 5 year old"
Instead of seeing him for who he is, and how he's showing up in the world.
My basketball coach also told me that I should quit. That I'm much better at volleyball (which I was), and I shouldn't play two sports.
But even back then, no man was going to tell me what I could and couldn't do.
Our stories, the ones with conflict, they bring out the fight in us.
They place us at the fork in the road and make us choose which way to go.
And when you choose to tell these stories to your audience, they also choose.
The right clients will choose you.
To invest with, to work with, to follow.
So all that pain, use it for good.
It probably made you who want to be (or showed you who you don't want to be) today.
It doesn't make it right. It doesn't make it any easier to forgive sometimes.
But it can be used for good.
There are no victims in story telling, only people who take a different path, have an a-ha moment, or make a defining decision.
Let that person be you.
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