Mark Gibson, a former gymnastics coach who worked with many elite athletes, tells a wonderful story about a 15-year-old girl whose work ethic and attitude brought out the best in everyone. Cindy wasn’t a great gymnast, but when she was in the gym everyone complained less, worked harder, and, not surprisingly, achieved more.
Cindy was such a powerful motivator because she was blind. When it was her turn to do the vault, her mom would run along side her telling her how close she was to the vault. When her mom said, “Vault!” Cindy would reach out and jump – trusting her mother and herself.
Cindy loved the sport and kept improving because she and her mom refused to be defeated by her disability.
Mark called her the most important member of the team, not because of her athletic ability, but because of her heart and because she demonstrated a standard of fortitude and courage that inspired others to get more out of themselves. Everyone who watched her strive to be the best she could be realized how much more they could be.
This is leadership – leadership by example – and we see this sort of leadership not only in sports but in families and in the workplace. Often the most important members of the team are not the smartest, most skilled, or most powerful. Their power is in their attitude and their ability to energize and encourage others with their optimism, enthusiasm, and determination.
People who know how to get the best out of themselves get the best out of others.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
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Please check out Michael’s other inspiring posts about sports:
Coach Wooden’s Greatest Legacy — Undying Love
Coach Wooden the Philosopher
Michael Josephson Interviews Coach Wooden