I never told you about Kaitlin, did I?
Kaitlin was a cheerleader, honor role student, athlete and eventually class president.
I was in the drama club. I enjoyed the technical side of the theater, specifically the directing and producing part.
I did try acting once and Mrs. McDonald introduced me to the concept of a broom handle being put in a certain part of your anatomy. That was the first time I'd heard that phrase.
One afternoon Kaitlin slid in next to me as we were walking down the hall.
Can I ask you a big favor?
I wanted to tell her that dying on the spot would really upset my parents and at least my sisters. I've never been too sure about my brother. Besides I didn't think Kaitlin even knew who I was.
You're working on the school play , right?
I want the lead female part and someone told me you were good at directing people.
Would you work with me? So I could get the part?
I knew something Kaitlin didn't know. I knew that Mrs. McDonald had pretty much decided who was getting both male and female leads but since she wasn't the head of the English department she couldn't make her own rules so she had to go through the pretense of holding tryouts.
Please, it would mean a lot.
Did I mention on a scale of 1 to 10 Kaitlin was a 15?
For the next 4 weeks I worked with her. Every day after school, sometimes on Saturday's and once even before school in the drama room. When the dust settled she was awarded the lead role.
In my star struck mist it took me many years to realize that all the honors Kaitlin had racked up in her short life came to her because she believed she was that good. It wasn't luck. It was a deep seeded belief that she could accomplish anything she set her mind to accomplish. Even if it meant reaching out to someone she barley knew and asking him for help.
Try to remember that in the 14 to 18 year old world stepping outside of your social class and talking to much less eliciting assistance from someone 2 or 3 rungs below you was anathema.
Kaitlin taught me that the "cool kids" often get a bad rap. They have no problem saying "I'm that good." and they had the courage and wisdom to back it up.
I knew the person who was slated for the female lead. We sat beside each other in drama class. When we graduated she had her pick of drama scholarships to some of the best colleges in the country. One day she and I arrived for class early and she sat there looking at me.
You helped her, didn't you? You helped Kaitlin?
I nodded (I nodded a lot back then!)
That was smart of her......... to get someone to work with her.
We all have visions. The Kaitlin's of this world take it one step farther, don't they? They do whats necessary to make that vision a reality. Those 4 weeks we spent together? She was all business and focused on what she wanted to attain. Despite my Mitty-like dreams there wasn't any socializing
We didnt talk after she got the lead role. When we'd pass in the hall she'd wave or smile, once she even winked at me (I damn near peed my pants)
There's a lesson here. Believe in yourself and what you want and then do what is necessary to get there. Whether it's your life or your career --- GO FOR IT!
A few years ago someone asked if I remembered my first coaching client. I prattled on about a company that hired me to help them navigate out of a tough situation until one day it dawned on me that Kaitlin was really my first coaching client all the way back in 1971 before we even had a glimmer of what coaching was.
BTW Kaitlin is not her real name and I don't know whatever became of her :)