Since nine years old, I actively observed others’ actions and situations. On meeting people, I had a sense of what they were like – good, bad, or neutral, but I rarely shared my feelings with others; I was just a child, but I kept a mental record of my experiences with people and I stayed away from the ones I didn’t like, even if I couldn’t explain why.
By 7th/8th grade, my perceptions became pronounced. Not only did I recognize a certain personality type, I had an inner sense of what made those individuals tick. Somehow, I seemed to know their motivations for their actions. I never talked about to my parents; I just accepted my intuition, though it confused me. When I met someone I thought was a “bad” person, I wondered why others didn’t think that too. I watched relationships between people, especially my friends' parents, and wondered why they acted the way they did. I especially wondered why they put up with people and situations I thought they should not have.
In high school, I focused on boys, dating, and homework (perhaps an odd combination), and I started to ignore my intuition. That ignorance led to mediocrity. Issues I should have placed high on my priority list took a backseat, or no seat at all. I didn’t realize I needed to pay attention to my intuition if I was going to succeed.
I loved helping others. I vividly remember standing up for a girl on the playground in fourth grade. The girls I played with wouldn't let her join our group jumping rope. I talked to the girl, decided she was absolutely fine, and demanded the girls let her join us. They backed down and accepted her, which of course made me feel great. I had accomplished something, and I was glad I helped her feel accepted. Unfortunately, I didn’t continue on that path. I was seduced by having fun, and like most children, I focused on myself.
My desire to help others didn’t reappear until I was 17 and a freshmen in college. On my dorm floor, one by one, girls knocked on my door to see if I had time to listen to their problems. I had no clue as to why they chose me, but I became known as the floor psychiatrist. I was the most naïve girl on the floor, but they trusted me to hold their secrets, and I did. I listened, and miraculously, my innocent and positive comments helped them feel better and see things clearly. Once I graduated, I veered off track again. I took an editorial job at CBS to write the opinions of management. Interestingly, in each career move I made, co-workers chose me as their confidant, just like the girls in the college dorm had done. I never gossiped and never divulged their secrets. That trait was never part of me. I despised gossip and still do to this day.
Naiveté can hurt people, and intentionally hiding from reality doesn’t help. No one is all good; no one is all bad, but some people have a propensity toward one more than the other. It’s up to us to see which side comes through more often and to stay away from those who exhibit the side you choose not to be. Birds of a feather DO stick together. I treat all conversations as confessions. No one has to ask me to promise not to repeat it. I must stay true to my core values and my word. That's what being a friend should be, and that's what a coach should be for you.