Author’s note: A while ago, when I began my coaching business, I started making a list of those people that influenced me. But a list alone isn’t compelling enough so I wanted to do a deeper dive into each of my influences to share HOW they influenced me, my personal development, and my coaching. Enjoy!
Jes Averhart is one of those people that everyone knows and everyone raves about. Still, I had never met her until I ran into her at a United Way of the Triangle open house a few years ago that we were both attending. I introduced myself and we scheduled a time to grab coffee a few weeks later.
When she showed up for coffee, she was wearing her workout clothes, having just exercised before our meeting. As a close-to-first impression, that took a lot of confidence as well as a clear understanding of who you are and why you do what you do. It was not what most people would expect at an initial meeting, but perhaps she sensed a kindred spirit with me.
A few years ago, in arranging my first meeting with a professional contact, I scheduled a similar meeting with someone I had never met before at a hole-in-the-wall taco joint in San Antonio, arriving in my workout clothes after running there to get some exercise. Our family has a commitment to exercise, so exercising might actually be more impressive to me than the traditional signals one sees in a professional meeting.
More recently, on an episode of the Just Podcast that Jes co-hosts with Rob Shields, Jes honored her instincts and asked a follow up question of their guest, her friend and fellow coach David Spickard. Her follow-up question was essentially and vulnerably: I don’t get it. As a fellow podcast host myself, I’ve learned it can be hard to push back on your guests. But Jes leaned into this ambiguity and the audience, Jes, and David all benefited from that decision.
These interactions gave me a much clearer view into the whirlwind that is Jes Averhart. Authentic to her core, passionate on the issues that matter, and blithely dismissive of the issues that don’t (like what you wear to a meeting). Still, though, Jes doesn’t have all the answers and doesn’t claim to. No, she is just a reflection of what can be when you trust yourself, stop trying to meet other people’s definition of yourself, and put in the work to make your dreams a reality. And for an entrepreneur, leader, and author like Jes, that’s about all you can ask.