Texas Best Gymnastics has been my work home for not quite a year (Feb 22). I have learned many invaluable things throughout this year that has not only changed me as a coach, but also me as a person and me as a photographer.
Growing up as a gymnast, you learn hard work, tenacity, perseverance, working through pain, determination, team work, continuing even when you think you have had enough or that there is just no way its going to work or you are going to get that skill. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" - I am pretty sure that that saying was made for gymnasts (ok, not really, but...really).
I didn't grow up as a photographer, and the thought of actually pursuing it as a career never seemed like much of an option. However, I was told quite a few times, look into coaching, Try coaching, I bet you would be good at that. Have you thought about teaching? I went for it. I enjoyed it, but it felt like something was missing. I love the girls, I love trying to come up with different ways to explain it so I can see the lightbulb come on when they understand what the skill is or what I am asking them to change. I just felt like I wasn't doing what I needed to be doing in a bigger sense. But enter Texas Best, and my boss Tricia. She loves on the girls like they are her own kids; like their families are all her family. And I realized that was what I was missing. I couldn't treat coaching like just a job if I wanted to make an actual impact on my teams' lives. I had to be there for them, through everything. All their ups and downs in the gym and all their highs and lows in life. Now this may seem obvious, but to a beginner coach at 18, telling that girl, ok be a mom figure to these girls - I think I would have turned tail and ran away as fast as I could. But now, even though I don't want to be a mom of my own kids, I love that I can cherish these girls like my family. Some of them even call me Coach Mom and shh, its a secret, but that makes me pretty happy. (mostly that I still get to send them home every night to their own mom, haha) ;) I get to encourage them and make an impact not only on their gymnastics, but in their life. I can help them grow into something beautiful and I can help them see that they have a strength that no one else can take away from them. A beauty that is all their own. A personality that God gave to each of them individually and that they can be who they are. That they are each important and loved. I get to bring that beauty out of them. I get to water those seeds. I can help them know that they are beautiful and I get to watch that come to life.
Learning this, being a coach this way, has shaped how I want to serve with my photography. I want to love my clients, to serve them in a way that makes them feel like family. I want to be able to talk with them, hear what their passions are, hear what their expectations are, and be able to provide that for them. To bring their strengths, their beauty, their personality to the forefront and to be able to capture that and have them be able to hold it in their hands, hang it on the wall, and be able to show everyone they know, that that is who they are.