Is that a silly question? Sure, it is...let me explain.
About two months ago my executive coach Michelle Krebs, PCC asked me the most profound and life altering question presented in the last decade.
She invites me to ponder, "Ben...When was a time in your life when you were the most genuine...the most authentic version of yourself?"
Her question Arrived a the culmination of nearly a year of clearly ground breaking sessions. She has been leading me down this path of self-discovery since the beginning of our time together.
I sat in silence with no clear or immediate answer. My inability to answer her stunned me. Fear, anxiety, doubt, and frustration began to manifest from within. Why am I struggling with this answer?
As she has taught me, I allowed myself to truly feel. I didn't try to hide my emotions or go into a state of denial.
She knew I was ready for this moment. She is my coach.
The answer arrived and a wave of calm and satisfaction enveloped me. It was back when I was known as Coach Ben.
For 6 years, I had the privilege to coach young men and women in our local Pop Warner football league. When i signed up, I had no idea what I was getting into. I remember thinking, "this could be fun, but I hope it doesn't take up too much time."
With each year that passes since our final season, the more fondly I reflect upon the experience. I can honestly say that other than my wife and children, I have never been more emotionally invested in anything in my life. Not college sports, not the Marine Corps, not graduate school, not my career. Yes, I cared deeply about those aspects of my life and worked hard to succeed. This was different, and I know precisely why.
Coaching allowed me to display and embrace the most genuine...most authentic version of myself.
I coached. They played. I instructed. They learned. I yelled. We laughed. We cried. I planned. I strategized. I led. I made mistakes. They taught me. I learned. I am still learning.
Saturday was the most important day of the week in the late summer and fall. It was Game Day! I would get up early and work out, fueled by pre-workout drinks. By the time pre-game warm-ups, I was riding a high of caffeine, pre-game jitters, and the wired gravitas of a warrior ready to battle to the death.
Win or lose, we left everything on the field.
By the time I arrived home, all I could do was lay on the living room floor. Every bit of energy I had was used up, and it usually took the remainder of the evening to decompress.
The coaches, players and parents all accepted me for who I was. They embraced every part of me. To this day, former players and parents will bring up times when i would throw my visor and playbook on the ground in disgust at a play that was not executed properly. Sometimes asking me to re-enact the behavior for a good laugh. They knew I loved our team.
My coach asked me to get a football to keep at my desk, This football would represent the time in my life when I didn't have to hide parts of myself from the world around me. The time when I didn't have to worry about what others were thinking. The time when I didn't have to apologize for being me.
The football I use arrived as a gift from a family member on the same day my coach and I had this conversation.
Coincidence? I don't know.
So...when I ask "do you have a football?", I Don't necessarily mean an actual football, I mean something that represents the time in your life when you were your most genuine...your most authentic self.
Ask yourself that question. It may take a moment, but the answer will come.
Go get your football and continue this journey with me.
Thank you Michelle.
- Michelle Krebs is the Founder and President of Bloom Coaching and Consulting
- Author assisted y Si Si Penaloza, Executive Travel Editor & Director of Strategic Partnerships at JETSET Magazine