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What Kind of Impact are You Having as a Leader? You Just Never Know! (Guest Blog)

Leaders do Have an Impact – Even Years Later – Great Leadership Story

I shared a story several years ago called, “Why You Must Call ‘Time-out’ and Celebrate” as a gust blogger on Teamwork and Leadership. In summary it was about a little girl I referred to as “Bookworm” who was part of a 5th grade basketball team I coached. The theme was the importance of taking time out to celebrate the successes of others.

I now know “the rest of the story” nearly 15 years later. You can refresh your memory or read the original story for the first time by clicking here.

I just knew that at some point, regardless of how I tried to protect her as a coach, that her weak basketball skills and especially her inability to shoot free throws would one day reveal itself. And as expected that day came. The referee called a foul and she was awarded two free throws. I was so glad that we spent the hours working to shoot “granny style.” Despite that investment I was not confident at all that she would even be able to shoot the ball successfully.

My calling time-out prior to the first shot and then a number of additional times enabled me to learn about the importance of calling “Time Out.” Not to talk, but to lift others into the spotlight and then to celebrate their successes! That great experience provided me a life lesson that I have attempted to practice in all aspects of my life henceforward.

This past January, I went to the mailbox and eyed a pink envelope. As I opened it, the name on the return address was not ringing a bell. Reading the penned words, I recognized it was “Bookworm” who was now married. She went on to share that she and her husband were about to leave on a mission trip overseas. Specifically, they were going to help refugees and serve as an encourager for each person cared for.

Focusing on her chosen words hand printed in blue printed ink caused me to relive that day in my mind again. She referenced that wonderful day she made the free throws. And it was that experience that contributed to her now new calling. She expressed, “Thank you for teaching me to shoot “granny style.”  It was what I needed with my strength and skill. And the joy of that day I made the free-throw shots. Thank you for being an encourager and a coach that affirmed and celebrated.”  Then she revealed something personal about herself, “There has been a lie I have believed, a lie that ‘I am not good enough’…thank you for being one of those people who enabled me to understand that those thoughts and beliefs are not true.”

Wow! So many times we all believe that we are doing the right thing but never have the opportunity to verify it. Believe me, this article is not about me, but it is about “Bookworm.” Obviously I am so proud of her.  Not for just learning to shoot free throws, but through that simple task enabling her to renew her inner spirit of confidence that she can now reach out to others and lift them into the spotlight and celebrate their successes. You just never know what calling a “Time-out” will do!