When my kids were young and into sports, the boys especially had stars in their eyes. They dreamed of doing something in sports for a career. Whether it was playing, broadcasting, training, or something else, I tried to encourage them.
I often thought “Who am I to say you can’t? Someone has to, so why not you?” What they chose to do wasn’t up to me to decide. If they wanted to be professional athletes or statistical analysts it was their choice. I’m just someone with an opinion. I’m not living their lives.
Unfortunately, JT got sidelined with too many concussions from soccer, snowboarding, and wrestling. At the time, he didn’t like my decision to pull him from competition. Later he thanked me as he realized that his memory was affected by the traumas. Even so, in college he chose to compete in wrestling. He even chose to do mixed martial arts (“MMA”). I wasn’t a fan of this, and told him that if he made this choice, he had better buy long-term health care insurance, because I wasn’t going to be taking care of him if he got seriously hurt. Luckily, when he started boxing, he found that he liked hitting more than he liked getting hit, and chose to give up MMA.
So, what does all this have to do with “Who am I to say you can’t?” When JT was a child, I had a say over his body and some of the choices. However, on his 18thbirthday, I gave him full say over his body. He was going to do whatever he chose anyway, so I might as well give him permission.
And things turned out well. He chose to get a degree in kinesiology as well as become a massage therapist (the best) and a strength and conditioning coach (also the best…at least in my eyes). He did some strength and conditioning coaching with some professional athletes and chose not to go down that road.
One thing he didn’t like doing was looking for clients. So, when an opportunity presented itself for him to change careers, he chose to do commercial real estate. I didn’t understand the change until a few years later. What he didn’t like doing (getting clients) is now what he is doing.
And the skills he learned through massage and coaching were transferable to his current job. He learned how to take things apart, look for the root of what wasn’t working and look for ways to allow it to work – all valuable skills to have when talking with potential clients. He learned how to encourage people, have patience, and set a goal. The list goes on. Looking back, we realize that his interest in sports led him to his current position, even if he didn’t end up working with professional athletes.
Take a moment and look at your interactions with people. Are you cheering them on or are you putting roadblocks in the way with negative thinking? The choice is up to you. Who are you to say someone can’t do something? There might be a way that you haven’t thought of yet, that if you let go of the no, a yes might present itself.
I would never have predicted that JT’s interest in sports would benefit him in commercial real estate. His life is his adventure. It’s not up to me to say yes or no. What I can do is encourage him with the choices he makes. After all, who am I to say he can’t?