As a 6’5”, 210lbs grown man, most people find it hard to believe that I was once an overweight, anxious and awkward kid. My journey to self-confidence began in the recesses and hidden corridors outside of my elementary school portables. It was there that I not only got invited by the older boys to partake in the raindeer games, but unbeknouwnced to me, I also became the game. The name of the game? “Let’s see how much we can punch Joe until he turns black and blue.” As that overweight, scared and awkward kid, instead of fighting back, telling a teacher or my parents, I chose to take the hits and blamed myself for not being strong enough to make them stop.
My intimate understanding of powerlessness had a tremendous impact on my self-worth as a boy and continued well into young adulthood. I spent years trying to change everything about myself that could be changed— my body, my hairstyle, my clothes, where I worked, and the list goes on and on, all to gain some sense of confidence, a sense that I was good enough to matter. But most of my attempts to remedy the pang of worthlessness was short-lived at best, and at worst, cost me a lot of time, money and further disappointment, except for one thing— learning how to fight.
Enter Mike Link.
Mike became my boxing coach in college, and he did something no other coach in my athletic career would ever do. He got me to believe in myself. Mike was blessed with a gift of seeing a person’s area of greatness, and then not only reflect it, but he could guide them into living it, and he did it with great respect, love and care. Who would have thought, one of the most violent sports on the planet brought me to one of the kindest coaches I had ever had, and as a scholarship athlete I had many.
When Mike was finished with me, there wasn’t a situation I felt like I couldn’t handle, and even more importantly, I no longer felt like I had to prove myself…to anyone. Why? Because I could finally say to myself the 5 most important words anyone can believe— I. Have. What. It. Takes.
Mike taught me 3 crucial lessons without ever preaching a word:
- You don’t need a long list of letters after your name to change a life — he had wisdom
- It’s not what you say to people, it’s how you treat them that has impact — he brought love
- One person can positively change the course of someone’s life forever — he truly cared
As a coach and father, there’s nothing I enjoy more than witnessing that moment when a group or individual or my son, experiences a newfound sense of confidence. It’s right here all along but sometimes we’re just not able to see and access it. As a coach, I have the privilege to help groups and individuals, face, embrace and integrate the most powerful aspects of themselves that they thought they had to hide, and like Mike, I do it with great respect, love and care.
If you’re ready to live into your greatness, personally and/or professionally, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be here when you’re ready.
I’d love to learn more about why you do what you do. Feel free to connect with me via firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to the work I do here, I am passionate about helping those who are in the foster care system in my community. The Cleveland Angels has a mission to walk alongside children in the foster care system, as well as their caretakers by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building and mentorship. https://www.cleangels.org/