Embrace Your Support Person

When we pursue big goals we do not get there alone. When we are young it is typically our parents who drive us to practice and competitions and pay for the possibility for us to go for our dreams.  Your support person or team may include friends, family, coaches, mentors or a spouse.  This article is for both the competitor and the support team as a reminder to embrace those who help you and to help build those you support.
My mother, Helen Bassham, has always been there for me. She was always my main support person no matter what I pursued growing up. She was also the one I disappointed most when I failed to reach my potential due to my own laziness, fear of success, or unwillingness to listen. Yet no matter what happened she always chose to help me, listen to me, love me, guide me and believe in me. She has always seen the best in me and is the primary reason I am able to be a successful mental coach today.  (The picture is of us after I won Miss Teen South Texas back in 1992.)
When I was young my parents were extremely busy.  They ran 4 businesses at one time out of our home.  My father was away often speaking and teaching so he missed many of my competitions and special events growing up. However, my mother always made those events matter and she made time to attend everything she possibly could. It was important to her that I enjoyed each moment of those days and she was in the audience to cheer me on and then often times cheer me up on the way home. She held her tongue instead of yelling on competition day and she encouraged me when I was stressed because the time for correction was after the competition had ended. She never made me feel like I had to win or even focused on winning the day of the competition. She allowed me to enjoy the process. Even when I was tempted to talk negatively about myself or others she would stop me or change the subject. I know she heard gossip from time to time but I don’t remember her getting involved or sharing any of those negative things with me.
Looking back I know I didn’t always take full advantage of all of the opportunities she made possible for me. I wasted time, I gave into laziness, I procrastinated, I lost much more often than I won. Even though I wasn’t the victor at every competition, I always learned something about myself because my mother would have it no other way. Even when she was frustrated at me, she chose her words wisely. I knew sometimes she was disappointed and I was given correction by her but never in a way that damaged my Self-Image or my spirit and never at a time that would affect my ability to focus on my performance.
I’m motivated to help people reach their potential today because I know what it is like to have someone in my corner who sees the potential in me even when I can’t see it in myself. I am a better coach because of my mother. I am a better person because of the way she chose to support me.
I hope you have a support person like I did. Embrace the people who make the journey to your dreams possible. Listen to them, cherish them and thank them.
5 quick things I learned from my support person:
– Always speak believing your words will be taken to heart (choose kind words or stay silent)
– Open your ears to those who love you and listen to compliments they give you – take them in – believe them even when you don’t understand how they can see such good in you.
– Wherever you are BE ALL THERE –  be focused on the task at hand, put the distractions aside and be fully present.
– Love those around you without judgement. Be kind even when it’s hard. Be thoughtful even when kindness is not returned.
– Praise in Public – Correct in Private. She never said anything publicly about me to make anyone else think she wasn’t my biggest fan. She chose the right time and proper way to correct my behavior.
If you are pursuing your goals and have a support person assisting you, encouraging you, providing for you and cheering for you take the time to thank them.
Written by:  Heather Sumlin

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