Lessons of A Coach in Quarantine

1. The adage, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason” stands true. I’m working hard to be a good listener while also leading the way with my voice.

2. The malaise of the unknown is a real thing. “What’s going to happen next?” makes doing the next thing challenging

3. Making time is still a challenge, even when you have nothing but time! Habits still matter.

4. Change is hard. ” Oh, here’s some good news, I’ll learn to _____ (paint, build furniture, garden, pitch, be a runner),” is way easier said than done.

5. Fear is powerful. Incentives to not change are often strong.

6. Poor leadership is just as powerful as good leadership. #showingup takes guts and a willingness to fail and be criticized.

The story behind the scoreboard

I started to write a post along with this picture a few months ago, in November. That was before COVID-19, before there was no softball and before people were afraid, really afraid, of leaving the house or being around others.

Sure, the behind-the-scenes post I had in mind was interesting to me and might have been of note to others, but it all seems so far away in time.

Lots has happened.

I know that world-changing events like the pandemic we find ourselves in don’t happen often and there is no way that it could be diminished if I tried, but as I look at this picture I know that it would have seemed like a long time ago no matter what.

Our childhood feels like yesterday and a hundred years ago at the same time. Time flies and it crawls…we should work hard to enjoy where we are.

Do your best, both on the scoreboard and on the other side.

It’s You

So often I hear people complain about their poor time management skills. First, this is a personal problem.

Why complain about something that’s 100% in your control? Even if time management were a thing, why wouldn’t one work to make their skills better rather than spend time complaining about them?

So I’m on a crusade to make the phrase be self-management rather than time management.

Go.

Future Self

Be in the present! Have gratitude for the things and relationships you have. Slow down, enjoy the moment…these are the messages being tossed our way all the time.

What is the present if not prep for the future, or a different present yet to come?

Planning, expecting, being excited for a future time is an important part of being. Of being in the now.

Who will you be when you get that job or step to the plate in the game? What will your mental state be? Your skills and tools? Will you be prepared to employ the lessons learned? How do you plan to teach yourself those lessons? When?

Being able to show the world who you will be in the future is an important part of being in the now. Future relationships aren’t interested in who you are now, they want to know what’s gonna happen when…do you have a plan?

No Expiration Date

Have you ever read an article or looked at some notes from long ago and thought “wow, this is really pertinent to me today,”?   Are you surprised when that happens? Don’t be. People have been having good ideas (even you!) for a long time…and good ideas generally don’t expire. If they were good then they likely can work now.

We spend so much time thinking of new and improved ways to do things when perhaps we should consider tweaking things we’ve done or thought to do before.

Innovate, yes, but also look back, steal and modify the great ways of getting things done that you’ve learned about and practiced already.

Info Overload

We are flooded with information.  There are so many great books, articles, journals, lectures, videos and other material produced by smart, experienced and successful coaches and leaders in all areas that it’s easy to get overloaded by others’ thoughts and tactics.

We need to take action!  Develop your own strategies (feel free to steal them, but make them your own at the same time) and clarify your voice and ideas.  Consider what’s important to you and then get to work executing those plans.  Just like you tell your people: it’s ok to fail.  Get to work determining where you’d like to go and how you think it’s best to get there.  Devise an action plan and GO!

Believe in Team

Do you believe in the concept of Team?  This is a good question to ask yourself (of course!) as well as those whom you consider to be members of your team(s).  The whole being greater than the sum of the parts.  This is a general definition of team; and each person in the group needs to really understand what that means for a team to work.

Human nature leads to me-first attitudes.  TEAM means resisting this at times, and it’s a coach’s job to illustrate the need for TEAM in order to accomplish goals, just as it is to help kids learn to put themselves second to the team.  Simple, but not easy.

Before you can develop TEAM, or team players, even, you should, Coach, confirm that everyone believes it’s a good idea.

Go.

Don’t Just Listen, Stand There!

“Be present,” “listen with your heart,” and other phrases have become popular throughout our busy world.  We move so fast, and do many things (at once) that listening to others often seems like a challenge (perhaps because we don’t even know how to listen to ourselves).

Create the conditions for better listening.  Stop and make time to listen with all of your physical senses, and also actively practice putting judgement aside and get to the feelings and perspective of the speaker.

Why are they saying what they are, and what do they need from you?  Often, it’s simply to be heard.

Go.

The Human Condition

We are naturally selfish beings; it’s important and often valuable to have self-preservation as an inherent trait.

People do things that positively impact them in some way.  We tend to do what’s best, or seems best, for us, and hope for good things to happen.  We put ourselves first.

Seeing oneself as #2 in your own world is really, really challenging.  It’s also a key to being a great team member.  Find ways and times to force kids to put themselves second to something, anything, anyone.  It’s great practice for team membership.

Go.