Just like any parent, I like to brag on my kid. Is he cute, athletic, have dreamy eyes, and will one day crush the hearts of many girls? Likely…
I have no clue what he will grow up to be, but if there is one thing I know for sure, given less than 2% of athletes go pro, and fewer go into modeling, statistically speaking, he should not solely rely on good looks, charm, and athleticism for his “big break” in life.
This weekend, my son was in all sorts of trouble given a nasty attitude, “beating up” on his sister, etc., so what choice did we have than to discipline in such a way where he would know, “we meant business”? Call me crunchy, or whatever the word is these days, but I don’t believe in beating my kids as a form of punishment. I want them to think for themselves, understand the wrongs that need to be made right, and choose a better way the next time. I suppose this makes me a “gentler parent” or maybe just non-violent, but that’s a topic for another day!
As he continued to misbehave on the way to soccer, it was decided his punishment would be to simply sit out of practice for the day, and watch his team from the sideline.
Words can’t describe what occurred next, suffice to say that he went completely bananas! “There is absolutely no way I’m going to go to practice and just watch”, he declared. Attempting to talk to him while he was heated would have been like fighting a circle saw, so I remained quiet while he continued to stew over the punishment that had been delved out until we reached the field.
I believe in divine intervention, and here is how it presented this time. As I was getting out of the truck, and before my son could get another word of complaint out, the clouds darkened and billowed, and a rain shower poured buckets so fast that I was drenched just in walking from one side of the truck to the other while getting back in! My son’s quip response followed;
“Well, I suppose I won’t be watching, after all, we should just head home, right”?
Call it mommy superpowers or spidey sense (whichever you believe in, but mom powers are real), I knew this would be an opportune time to talk while we waited for the passing shower. Here is how the conversation went (Abridged, but you’ll get the gist):
Son: Mom, why aren’t we going home?
Me: Because the rain will soon stop.
Son: But, I want to leave. Even if the rain does stop, I am not watching from the sidelines.
Me: Do you like playing on and being a part of a team?
Son: Yes, that’s why I play.
Me: What is it that you like about being a part of a team?
Son: Playing and having fun with them. Oh, and winning too!
Me: I see. Do you think that if you don’t go to practice, even if you are just watching, that your teammates will know you aren’t there and miss you?
Son: Yes, I think so.
Me: Do you think they would want you to be there for them, even if sitting on the sidelines, cheering them on?
Son: Yes, but I’m not going to practice if I don’t get to play
Me: If you know your team would want you to be there for them, then would you want to be there for your team?
Son: Yes, but I am not going to go if I don’t get to play!
Me: Son, if you know your team would want you to be there, and you want to be there for your team, aside from you saying “you’re not going if you don’t get to play”, can you tell me what would keep you from being there for your team?
Son: I DONT KNOW! I JUST WANT TO GO HOME!
I assure you this next part, took an immense amount of patience, but I refused to give up on my son’s opportunity to grow from this situation!
Me: I understand you are frustrated, and you also want to play. I promise if you truly reflect, look inside your heart and mind, and can tell me what would keep you from being there for your team, then I will take you home.
Son: [Sat in silence for 20 minutes — Good news, it was still raining, so nothing lost!]
Me: Hey, look, it stopped raining! Wow, the sun is poking through too! Now, it’s been a while, did you think of an answer yet?
Son: It’s me… I’d be the reason I would not be there for my team because it would be my choice not to.
Queue awesome catchy music for the happy dance!
Me: Okay, thank you for that very honest response. I think now we can head home. [Sneaky “momsense” going off]
Son: NO! Mom, I don’t want to go, I need to go watch my team and be there for them.
Me: Well, I suppose you had better get down to the field then!
Okay, some would be perfectly content letting their kid after all of this sit out and watch the whole practice, however, this mom knows that the real lesson was learned in the truck and sitting on the sidelines was really intended as a means of “follow-through”, so after fifteen minutes, he joined his team on the field. No, I did not cave…
He left the field in the afternoon getting to play, have fun, and win with his team, but more importantly with a big smile on his face and a humbled heart, as he thanked me, and was proud of his decision to watch from the sidelines. In case you are wondering, he is a few months short of turning seven years old. Now, this was something for me to be proud of!
There are a few lessons to be had here, of which I will focus on two.
Lesson 1: Personal growth is a choice.
In terms of growth, the choice is always yours. Real simple, you chart your path and are fully capable of making choices on your own. From how you look, feel, succeed, or in the case of my son, behave. The list of things which you can choose based on free will is endless. If you were to pick only one thing that you wanted to change, or in some way improve in your personal life, your career, etc., do you believe you could do it?
Of course you could!
The first choice that you have to make, which I beg you to make today, is deciding that you CAN! Flick that nasty lil demon off your shoulder, look yourself in the mirror, and say what it is you want to change followed by, “I GOT THIS”! I assure you, there is nothing too big or small that if you apply the right energy, you will achieve it!
Lesson 2: There is significance to your role both on and off the field
Working in teams is an integral part of modern culture in general. From playing in little league games to attending college and sharing in assignments, to finally landing in the workforce where working in teams is not only expected but necessary among agencies and corporations globally.
97% of employees and executives believe a lack of alignment within a team dramatically impacts business outcomes. ~ McKinsey
Whether we’re talking about corporations or playing sports, bottom line, people work better together, hence teams! One weak link or fracture as some would say can cause disruptions to productivity, loss of efficiency, sunken morale, lack of synergy and creativity, other turmoils, and in extreme circumstances toxicity that poisons the broader team, the associated deliverables, and in turn the larger organization.
Some people are averse to working in teams, and that’s okay! Whether you choose to be an active participant, or watch and cheer from the sidelines, cohesion and being part of a “collective” will dramatically impact outcomes.
Do you participate in a team today? The answer here should be overwhelmingly yes, with few exceptions. The reason for this is, every relationship that exists has the potential to be defined as a “team”. e.g. family, co-workers, sports leagues, spouses, online gaming, etc.
Do you actively participate or do you sit on the sidelines and cheer? (Don’t worry, for those who do neither, we will cover this in another topic on a different day!) Not only accepting your ability, but the need for you to be adaptive to both positions is very important.
A leader can add value both on and off the field. Being in the moment amidst the team on the field, you are executing to meet an objective and deliver against a goal, however, sitting on the sidelines gives you the ability to see things from a perspective that no one in the “thick of the action” would likely see. My son did this when he pointed out to me another teammate who showed up without consideration for safety and had the potential to get hurt, by not wearing his shinguards. So, I challenge you, like I did my son, to contribute as a part of the “whole” despite which angle it is from. Do you have the strength to sit out when the need arises, and jump in full force as duty calls?
Although not a fan, given its immense overuse, Peter Drucker’s words from the ’60s, “There is no I in TEAM” has and will continue to reverberate for decades, if not centuries to come, because it’s likely the one single largest truth on understanding, working, and succeeding in teams.
It’s your choice, so, will you be a part of the whole?
If you enjoyed this read, I’d appreciate a like and a share, but I would also love to hear from you! What is a hard choice that you have had to make to overcome a challenge in your life, or to simply help yourself achieve goals? What is your experience while working in teams? Are you a participant in the field, or do you prefer cheering from the bench? It is through the sharing of experience that we as individuals can grow ourselves and I would be excited to hear your story!
Are you ready for some personal growth? I encourage you to check out my background and service offerings available at www.nancymouellette.com
Credit where its due!
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.kemet.com/Teamwork for the Win
(n.d.). View Image. Retrieved from https://breakingmuscle.com/view-image?src=images/bydate/201505/jeannephoto3.jpg
Gallucci, N. (2018, June 17). 12 kick-ass soccer movies to watch instead of the World Cup. Retrieved from https://mashable.com/2018/06/17/soccer-movies-to-watch-instead-of-world-cup/
Giphy. (2015, April 15). Happy Dance GIF — Find & Share on GIPHY. Retrieved from https://giphy.com/gifs/happy-dance-zUJlcJOJT7zMY