Lately, I keep hearing stories about the power we have to change a life.
This week, one was in a podcast interview that Tim Ferris did with Michael Lewis, the writer.
Michael Lewis remembered that he was a bit of a troublemaker in Middle School. He was getting attention for all the wrong things. When he made it to 9th grade, he joined the baseball team as a pitcher.
The coach was Butch Fitzgerald, a legendary figure known for his toughness.
He always gave his team something that brought them together. That year it was losing a game and sending the team out to practice after that game in the mud.
When they returned to the locker room, he would not allow them to wash their uniforms until they won a game.
People started coming to the games to see how dirty the uniforms became.
But Butch changed Michael’s life in one sentence on a day when the starting pitcher was sick.
When he told Michael that he would be the starting pitcher, he said: “I can’t think of anyone I would rather have in this position than you.”
In that short sentence and maybe a few that followed, Michael said that he defined himself completely changed. Up until then, he saw himself screwing up, not making the grade, and not selling the possibility of such a thing.
By then, he had a serious amount of respect for the guy who didn’t let anyone get away with anything but being their best on that team. He was famous for saying: “Don’t be good, be great.”
Butch changed his life and allowed him to see himself as someone who could make a difference.
He went on to Princeton, then with a serious amount of chutzpah, became a writer of many bestsellers, including The Blind Side, Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, etc.
Each of us has that power to change a life, but it requires attention and willingness to act, speak, be vulnerable to judgment, as well as taking the time to act.
Think of having power in your pocket. It’s always there, never needs replenishing. It’s there for you as well as others.
What a gift.