What does “off” mean?

We’ve felt “off” for over a year. “Things” are upside down in so many ways, it feels. The world stopped, and now we’re restarting without much ramp time…but are we restarting the old way, creating a new way, waiting to see what happens?

Two things can be true at once:

Jump back in

Step back and figure out what you want your future normal to look like and work a plan to make that happen.

Here we go!

Start Here

So, you want to go to college? And you want to play a varsity sport.

True?

If your answer is at least, “I think so,” then you have some work to do. Things are not going to magically unfold.

This year it’s been different, certainly, and people are prone to saying things like “when this is all over,” and “when we get back to normal,” phrases that are likely to hold back personal progress as well as impact mental health by focusing us on uncontrollables.

There are things you can do. Now. Here are two you’ve probably thought of and two you probably have not. Do all four for three colleges and see what you learn. Then, do them all for another set of schools…pick some new ones and see what you learn.

1-Go to the home page of the institution, the admissions office, and the financial aid page. Read 100% of the words and watch 100% of the videos. Keep clicking, reading and watching.

2-Do a Google search for the college using the “video” tab and commit 30 minutes to watching.

3-Use Google maps to do a street view tour of your own.

4-Create a LinkedIn account (you’re going to want one later anyway) and search the college, alumni, professors and students. See what people are up to.

If you’re paralyzed with inaction because you’re not playing as much as you’d hoped or can’t travel as you would have, you are missing opportunities to learn. There is plenty to be done.

Ask questions if yourself and of others, find people who have been where you are, and be willing to start over and over…just like preparing to take the field.

Ready? Set. Go.

Rule #31

This one is a rule that’s being broken in our current times. The era of COVID-19 is providing rare situations for certain.

The exceptions don’t make the rule invalid, however. Most things are not unique; even large scale pandemics have happened and we might learn from those instances. For sure we can learn from our personal, more day-to-day happenings.

When challenges present themselves look for examples of previous similar happenings and see what you can learn from those.

Most things are not rare.

Rule #20

Some do, but most plays don’t require a second throw to get an out.

Good communication, a good understanding of the situation and a strong arm often will get you where you need to go.

However, planning and practicing for all possibilities is the work of a great player and team.

And more importantly, that strong play won’t be perfect every time and you’ll be glad that relay player was at the ready.

Expect the best, plan for the worst. Or something like that.

What Are You Afraid Of?

Stress, fear, that uncomfortable feeling when _________.

So many things can fill in that blank. We all have fear and are worried about our future.

“What’s going to happen next?”

I find that the fear response comes when my mind doesn’t know what to do. When I’m not properly prepared.

I don’t need to have the right answer at the right time, every time, I simply need to have a plan.

Preparation is productive if only to be ready when the time comes, even if it turns out I’m wrong.

Avoiding the prep because I might be wrong never works.

What’s It Cost?

New tires for your car might not be in your budget at first glance. But, is having a car that’s drivable of value to you? If you don’t have tires you don’t have a car, really.

Usually we ask about the price rather than the value. To us. At this time. That’s really the question.

If a thing or service is valuable to us at this time, we’ll find a way to cover the costs.

What do you need that will really add value in your world?

I Have An Open Door Policy

Coach, your open door policy only means people can see in as they walk by.

Kids aren’t going to simply stop by to talk about all of the important things.

No matter how young you are, this “they know where to find me” mentality is abdicating your responsibilities as a leader. You’re saying that it’s on them, the junior partner in this relationship, to seek you out, to even know when they need something from you.

It’s on you to be sure that they are doing ok, that they know what you and team membership requires of them, to know where they stand relative to the team standards (those are really clear, right?)…

Leadership is an activity.

Go With Your Strengths*

Should you work on your weaknesses or bolster your strengths?

Do you know what pieces of your game are in those categories? Are they the same as they were at some point in the past? Does it matter?

How about considering the things that are central to who you are, making decisions about what direction to go in and then doing what you said you would?

Too often we spend time and energy thinking about what we’ll think about and little time doing things and learning from the outcomes.

Go.

Experience

Most often we think of experiences as nouns.

They are things that happen to or around us, or even events or activities that we take part in or get to be a part of.

That was a great experience!

Let’s try to celebrate and embrace the verb experience, to really feel the things, to be active in the doing.

By being present in the experiencing might we shape it, feel it more deeply and allow it to shape us? Maybe we’ll learn more about how to help others experience these things, or make the next time even more impactful.

…seems better than just talking about it later.