How can I help?
What do you need?
Are you feeling ok? Anything I can do?
These are such well-meaning questions, but if a person is really struggling with something–a “life problem” or how to field a ground ball–they may not know what they need, and it’s probably not an answer that would be most helpful.
Offering to provide a fix that neither party knows exists is impossible, and “well, let me know…” is really not helpful.
So, just Show Up for your friend, teammate or partner of any sort. Just be there; you don’t even need to be a good listener, specialize in empathy, or even spend much time to be good at Showing Up.
In sports, showing up can look like being first to something, being prepared, being willing to lose, or fall short. It can be cheering, and it can be pushing; high fives can come in all sizes.
Showing up can be a smile or pat on the back, a “I see you working hard”, or a package of cookies, or a note or card. It can be an email or a text message or a stop-by-to-say-hi or shovel the driveway.
Just do something, no matter how minor.
There are no rules of caring for people, and don’t worry if you don’t know what to do, just show up for them.
We ask a lot of Time.
We beg for more of it, wish it would go faster, hope it might slow down, perhaps even if time would simply be a little kinder…time is a pretty important part of our lives.
Time takes blame for it’s shortcomings, “why don’t have I more time?” we ask, as if time cut a few corners last hour and shorted us. “Where did all the time go?” we demand when our days slip away, and somehow it’s Time’s fault for not being around when we need it.
Take a moment (if you can spare it) to think about Time and how we view it.
Should Time get the credit for being productive? Maybe you get the gold star for that one and you should use a small bit of time to plan the next chunk in which you can move forward with your tasks.
Time belongs to all of us, and it’s available to everyone but not used equally. We own our piece of time.
We don’t have that much time to spare and we can’t give it away to others, but we can choose to waste some, we can share it, and each of us gets to choose how much we how we use it. It’s up to you.
Learning to embrace, or at least really feel it when you’re not feeling good about something is a true challenge. We’re wired to get away from pain or discomfort, physical or otherwise.
We avoid confrontation, hard situations and tough workouts because we don’t want to feel pain.
When we do fail, fall short or feel pain in a situation or relationship we typically try to cover it up, ignore or make excuses rather than actually feel how we feel.
Consider making an effort to combat these “feel good” attempts. It might be good for you.
Making it a habit to sit with that sinking or stinking feeling allows us to both recognize that it’s probably not that bad, and to help us to have perspective as we reflect on what got us to that point.
This takes practice. Go.
What is integrity? It’s on the lockerrom signs, gym banners and tshirts that list core values of teams across the country.
Most won’t have a strong and clear definition.
I say it’s integration of who you are and what you do.
Knowing what you believe in is key. The central values like trust and communication have a critical role in every team. The core of who you (an individual or a team), is not a reflection, it is WHO you are or want to be.
We communicate well and trust each other. Those are core values.
What you do, the behaviors that are demonstrated are one’s true legacy. So, we work hard to identify the things we’ll do in order to be true to our values, the “who” of who we are.
When we live our values…when the actions reflect those values: that’s integrity.
When things are upsetting, most of us can’t just take three deep breaths and be “over it”. Things don’t just go away because they hope they will, and most of the time the advice to “just let it go”, is a vast oversimplification.
Really, how do you do that?
If the event or situation was bothersome enough that someone else noticed and felt compelled to give you advice–the “let it go” mentioned above–then it’s likely not a small thing. Those people rarely have the “how” or strategy to help us get past that thing right away.
So, unless you have an idea of how to help someone get past a problem, practice empathy and try to simply recognize that they are having pain or a struggle rather than telling them to get over it.
What do we want? What do others want from us? Do you know? Is it important to know?
If we say we absolutely know what we want, that we have our eyes on the prize, that our goals are crystal clear…are we selling ourselves short? Might that prize be “less than” we can achieve if we have a great set of processes and ways of doing?
“This is what I want”, is results-focused thinking without any real definition of “better”, or a goal to reach for and, most importantly, the process that it will entail.
Teams will say “we want to win a championship!” Great. How? Do you have a plan to go with the want? A really, really specific plan or set of behaviors that you commit or (or at least know you should commit to) in an effort to reach a goal?
What we want is not as important as what we’ll do and who we’ll be day to day. Help figure this out by asking the key questions like: what do people/teams who get what we want likely do day to day to move toward that want? Do more of that and teach your teams how to know what to do in the short term as you move toward that end game.
Still, no guarantees.
Recently, I’ve been taking the time to think critically about the things that I have taken as gospel as a coach over my career. Like goal setting, for example.
For many years I spent time talking to teams about SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, timely, although there are many other versions of the SMART acronym). I believe that if one is setting a goal then it should have many of these characteristics, and yes, having outcome goals can be a motivator.
However, in recent years I have come to discount the value of hard goals and focused myself and my teams on the behaviors needed to be the kind of team we’d like to be. Often, outcome goals are a consideration (“what behaviors do we need to do in order to get what we want?”), but not always.
The best behavioral discipline comes when the things a team says they want to do on a regular basis are a reflection of who they are–their values–as opposed to what they want to have at the end of the day.
Too often goals can be used as a crutch. We sometimes make excuses to justify behaviors that are not championship caliber. We say that as long as we get where we want to go, it’s not that important how we got there. Untrue. Behaving in a way that’s outside one’s values, whether the values are stated and clear or not, is never a way to feel good about where one’s going.
Have some un-goals. Determine what you’d like to be on a regular basis and start doing those things and see where you end up.