Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Don't Try To Be A Hero

A very successful and popular basketball training program recently put out a tweet that said:

"Be in consistent pursuit of being the coach that players will one day reflect on as a hero"

I grimaced when I read that, because I knew that many coaches would read it, consider the source, and treat it as the gospel truth.

It also stuck me because that is how I used to approach coaching, and it was very ineffective, and borderline harmful to me and my players.

It's dangerous to approach anything with the idea of being a hero, because it gets in the way of what really matters.

If my son or daughter was in great danger, and for some reason I couldn't go to them, I would never want to hear the guy next to me say, "Bro, watch me be a hero right here". I use the word bro, not because I hang out with people who say bro, but because I feel like it's the kind of thing a bro would say.

All I want someone focused on in that moment, is saving my child. Not saving my child, getting on the news, and having me and my family be grateful for them for the rest of their lives. Those things might happen as a byproduct of him doing the right thing (saving my child), but that shouldn't be his focus.

Even as heartfelt and touching as it may sound to say "I'm going to be your hero", when your child is born, it's not the right approach. Again, that may indeed happen, but imagine if all of our decisions as parents were focused on being our kid's hero. I feel like I've seen parents who may have adopted this philosophy, and it doesn't usually look like its' going all that well.

We should be focused on loving our children, teaching them to work hard, to be honest, to have empathy, to be kind, helping them develop positive self-esteem and self awareness, and a number of other traits that you may value. Focusing on being their hero, whether we realize it or not, greatly inhibits our ability to be a good parent.

And I don't know about you, but I have enough challenges in being a good parent, I don't need to create anymore by trying to be Superman for my kids.

I'm no superhero expert, but it seems to me that most superheroes only had one or two flaws. Superman had kryptonite. I guess Batman's was the fact that he was human, and struggled to balance being a Batman and Bruce Wayne. Spiderman, depending on which remake you watch, either struggled with his ego, or with being a hero while also trying to figure out how to be Mary Jane's boyfriend.

I've got way more flaws than one or two and if I spend the rest of my children's lives trying to hide them, it's going to be exhausting, inauthentic, and not very helpful for my children. They need to see me make mistakes, and know that it's okay. They need to hear me apologize, and ask them for forgiveness, and be uncertain about life.

Heroes don't discipline. Heroes don't take the long view, they try and be a hero in the here and now. Heroes focus on what it looks like from the outside, not what they are trying to build on the inside.

Children don't generally need a hero to save them. They need a good example. They need a mom. They need a dad.

Players don't need you to be a hero. They need someone to hold them accountable. They need someone to love them. They need to be pushed and challenged. They need a coach.

Whether we are coaching, parenting, or saving people from burning buildings, when we focus on being a hero, we put the focus on ourselves, and take it off of the person that we are supposed to be serving. When we try to be a hero, we make our decisions from the perspective of saving the day, being remembered, or being glorified. This perspective does little to help us make sound decisions that are best for our kids or players and can in fact be detrimental.

Focus first on the people you are loving and serving. Be diligent in doing right things well. And don't try so hard to be a hero.

Much Love,


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Character = Aspirations

"Don’t Be In A Hurry. You Don’t Want Your Gifts To Take You Farther Than Your Character Can Sustain Them. When That Is The Case, Your Success Will Be Short Lived, It’s Unsustainable"

The above quote is from Mark Batterson, and it really resonated with me.

When we have a dream, when you have a place we want to arrive at, a position we want to reach, something we want to achieve, it’s easy, natural even, for us to get in a hurry. We are ready to be there, now.

It’s like starting a trip that you are really excited about. For the first few hours, we are laughing, having a good time, singing along to the playlist we made.

But even the anticipation of an exciting end, usually can’t sustain us for the duration. Before too long we turn grumpy, or tired, or tired and grumpy, and we are just ready to get there already.

We do the same things in our lives. At least I do. I’m ready to get there already, wherever there is. Whatever the plan is, whatever I’ve mapped out in my mind, whatever it is that I’m working diligently on, I’m ready to be there.

Can’t I just plop down in that place?

If that guy can do the job, I know I can. Let me get in there.

Just give me a shot at that, I know I can do it.

I’m sooo ready to be_______

But most likely, we aren’t ready. Not really.

You can’t sustain your success, you can’t stay in that place, you can’t keep the job, you can’t reach the place that you want to reach, without having something internally to draw from. Some sort of internal well of character that won’t run dry at the first sign of challenge. Something to sustain you on the inevitable long drive, when the playlist starts to repeat, and there is nothing to look at along the way except for trees and concrete.

So while we are in a hurry to get where we are going, which is different, at different times, for everyone. We need to pump the brakes. Because we don’t want to get where we are going before we are ready to get there.

And here is the cool thing. It isn’t about being ready based on your skill, or intelligence, or knowledge...For the most part. It’s generally about being ready internally. Skills and application are certainly important. But on more than one occasion, I have not been ready for a job I took, based on the paper measurement of my preparedness. But, at the risk of tooting my own horn, I worked extremely hard at the people side of things, and figured out the rest. And I was okay. If we are willing to work, we can figure most things out. That may mean that we have to learn new skills, get new certification, or spend time in the “trenches” learning the ins and outs of the job. But our capacity to learn new things is something that we usually overestimate, while the importance of having a preparedness of character is something that we usually underestimate.

“But I’m a good person, I’m ready…”

This isn’t what I mean. We aren’t going to reach perfection at some point and be ready for anything and everything.

And the fact that you haven’t been presented with that opportunity yet doesn’t mean you are a bad person.

But we need to recognize that we are constantly being refined. And while it may feel like sometimes God is withholding the things we want the most, the truth is, He is probably sharpening us so that we are ready when opportunity knocks.

Patience, humility,  wisdom, learning to extend grace and forgiveness, operating more and more out of a heart posture of love.These are things that we can't necessarily master. There is always room for growth.

I don’t know what it is that God is sharpening you for, or how he is choosing to sharpen you. I don’t have any idea what he is sharpening me for, but I’m certain it is taking place. I can feel it. I can feel it down past my bones and into my soul. He is working on me. He is filling me up so at some point I can empty myself out for something that he has planned for me.

And you know, I’m not prancing around counting my blessings and writing new Psalms during the process. Maybe I should be, but generally it’s a difficult process.

But I know it has to happen. As much as I may be ready for whatever it is I think I’m ready for, I know that the resume being transcribed on my soul must overwhelm the one on paper before I am truly ready.

Think about all of the professional athletes that we see, on a regular basis, who can’t sustain their success after signing their first professional contract. Maybe they were pampered all through college, maybe nobody held them accountable, maybe they couldn’t resist the pull to party and chase women. They all have their “reasons” for not living up to the hype.

But the bottom line is, their soul didn’t match their skill. And because of that, they couldn’t sustain their success.

The waiting is tough. But keep at it. As a wise man once told me…

“Don’t let it whup you”  And when the time comes, you’ll be ready...Really.

Much Love,

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Don't Compare

Today I wanted to share a concept and a story from a book that I'm working on, with a working title of Live a Rich Life.

As I get more edited, I'll share more. If, after reading today's post you'd like to be notified when the book is completed, please email me at:


and I'll be sure to let you know when the project is complete.

Just as a heads up, this post is a little longer than normal.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt.

Don't Compare

At 4:30 every morning, the alarm goes off. I don’t have to be at work until 7:30, but I (like to??) get up early so I can do workout and have some time to read or write before the day starts.
I’d like to say I jump out of bed, drink 16 ounces of water, and run to the gym. But it’s a struggle, and some mornings, I don’t make it out of bed.

When I do get to the gym, there is a part of me that is simply proud of the fact that I made it.
Waiting for me at the gym, is a guy that makes me feel like a wee little man.
The moment anyone walks in, he yells out across the gym, “MORNING, DOC! How are you brother?” He knows everyone that comes in, and he does cool things like make up nicknames for people and call them brother.
He’s wide awake at 5 AM, and he wears a tank top.
And he doesn’t look weird in it.
One day I’m going to wear a tank top and look like that guy.
This guy is so fit. He’s actually the ideal combination of jacked and normal. Not so big that you think that he is going to explode in roid rage if you don’t re-rack your weights, but he is in GREAT shape. He met my wife. And it made me nervous.
For a long time, when I first started working out at this particular gym, I would think to myself, “Why can’t I look like that?”
I was doing this shoulder exercise that I read out of a magazine one day and it wasn’t anything special, but it was challenging to me, because it was new.
As I stood in front of the mirror pressing the dumbbells, I looked in the reflection and saw Captain America doing upside down, reverse dips on the pull up bar. Think about that...Can you even picture an upside down, reverse dip?
His head was pointed toward the ground, his legs were pointed towards the ceiling, and he was doing dips.
It doesn’t make any sense, but I’m telling you, it happened, and it was IMPRESSIVE.
For a long time, I never returned to the gym. How could I compare to a guy who works out in a tank top, is the life of the party when their isn’t even a party, and does upside down reverse dips?
I’m proud of myself for making it out of bed, and my exercises come from a magazine.
That’s not true, I continued to go to the gym. But I also continued to feel like pint sized version of a real man.
The truth is, we are in different places. It’s not a fair comparison.
This guy is single, no kids, and has the time to work out for a couple of hours every day. I’m sure there are more reasons than those for why he looks the way he does.
The point is, there is no value in me spending my time and energy comparing myself to him. I’m not trying to accomplish his goals, and we aren’t starting from the same place. I don’t know the work he has put in to look like he does, the challenges he has overcome to get there and stay there, and what his goals are.
I’m not trying to reach his goals, or color within his lines. We are working towards different things, and living in a different reality.
When I related this story to a friend of mine, he pointed out, that there is a great chance that he looks at me, my beautiful wife, my daughter, and my son, and longs for a piece of what I have.
He asks me often about my son when we talk at the gym, and it's apparent that he enjoys seeing him, and seeing me with my family.
That's not a, "He might be able to do reverse dips in a tank top, but I have a wife and family" gotcha moment. I think it's important for us to recognize that when we get sucked into the comparison trap, that we often have pretty awesome things going on ourselves, that others may be hoping for as well.
When we compare ourselves to others, there are a couple of different things that happen, and mostly, they are negative.
One thing that happens, is that we forget about all of the ways that we have been blessed ourselves. Our blessings, if we are not careful, can quickly turn to frustrations, when we get caught up in comparing ourselves to others.
“I could workout longer if I didn’t have to get home so my wife could workout”
“I wouldn’t be so tired in the morning if my kids didn’t require so much attention at night”
“If I had a different job, I could spend more time in the gym”
“If only I looked good in a tank top…”
Our blessings start to fade to the background when we look around and all we see is what we DON’T have.
The other thing that happens, is that we start to stop valuing the things that we are good at, or the potential we have. It becomes very difficult to fan our gifts into flame, when we don’t value and honor our gifts.
So we take a look at Fabio’s nephew, in his tank top and headband (yes, he wears a headband as well, and it looks fantastic) doing upside down, reverse dips, and we cancel our gym membership, because, “I’ll never get there, so what’s the point?”
Unfortunately, we don’t generally see people that are where we’d like to be, and then try and figure out how to get there. We just look at them and recognize that we don’t have what they have, or look like them, and then we get depressed.
Or jealous.
Or envious.
And when we are so busy focusing on these “shortcomings” in our life (as we see it in our place of comparison) then we aren’t able to focus on growing and developing our gifts.
Comparison, in short moments and when it is sustained over a period of time, sucks our joy and potential right out of us.
My encouragement for you, is to take some time to consider your blessings.
What are the things that are present in your life, that you can be thankful for?
Think about the people, the situations, your season in life, even the things you have, that you can be thankful for.
I would encourage you to write those things down, so that, just like your roots, you are forcing yourself to fully articulate your gratitude.
In addition to this, if there are areas where you have found yourself comparing, (Ex: Captain America)then think about this.
Are you comparing simply for the sake of comparing? Meaning, do you just wish for something someone else has, because there is a natural inclination for us to lean in that direction?
Are you comparing because there is someone who is in a place you’d like to be, or even has something that someday you’d like to have?
It’s possible that I’m wrong, spiritually or scripturally, but if someone’s beach house, or Porsche strikes a chord with you internally, because you would like to one day have a beach house, I think that is okay...As long as it isn’t a life sucking comparison full of jealousy and envy. And as long as that thing doesn’t become something that you worship.  
If you want to look like Captain America or one day hold a job or position that you see in someone else, I think that is also okay, given the “As long as” stipulation above.
And if this is the place that you find yourself, then I would encourage you to first reference the list you made about the things that you are grateful for.
Then, through the lens of gratitude, I would say that if those things, attributes, positions, etc. are things that you would like to see in your life, start to lay out tangible action steps as to how you can get there.
Heck, speak to Captain America and ask him if he’d be willing to give you a couple of tips. Reach out to the professional who is where you want to be, and ask them for their 1, best piece of advice for someone in your position. Make a road map for how you can get to the point where you can have the beach house.
And then, rather than comparing, you can get busy working towards the things you’ve decided are important to you, absent of a mindset of comparison, and with a heart full of gratitude.
Action Steps:
1. Review your list of things that you can be grateful for. If it has been awhile since you made the list, maybe you set the timer again and see what you can add to, or what new things you can come up with. It’s important to remind yourself of the beauty that exists in your life, and the things that you can be grateful for within it.

2. Be honest with yourself, and identify those areas in which you
often get caught comparing. Or think about the specific people or situations that you are comparing yourself to right now. I’ll bet those aren’t too hard for you to identify.

3. Look at your list of comparisons, and identify (honestly) which
of those areas fall into the category of jealousy or envy. Take
a minute to daydream about what it might be like if you were
able to do upside down, reverse dips in a tank top and a
headband and look good doing it...and then put that away. All
that is doing is robbing you of your joy and potential.

4. Look at your list of comparisons and identify those areas that 
are genuine areas of interest for you. Those areas where you
are comparing because you have a genuine desire to become 
______ or to have _________.

5. Make a plan as to how you can move the needle towards achieving those things. Who can you speak to? Who can you observe from a distance? What areas can you be more
disciplined in? Where do you need to work harder? What do
you need to say no to in order to reach your goal? What is it going to take for you to get there?

Thank you for reading.

Much Love,

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Your Fears Will Bury Your Dreams

I've had a fear of heights for as long as I can remember. I do not enjoy being high up on things. Tall ladders, the roof, ropes courses, and standing on big bridges have long presented a challenge for me. As I've gotten older, I deal with it better than I did when I was a kid, but it is still something that is a challenge for me.

A few years ago, I was working as an assistant basketball coach for a program that did a ropes course in the pre-season with their team. As soon as we arrived at the course, they started fitting us for harnesses and helmets, because we were going to climb to the top of what basically amounted to a telephone pole, and then leap off.

Based on my unfavorable opinion on heights, I was really excited.

Unfortunately for me, this wasn't going to be the type of activity where the coaches watched from a distance while the players participated. Everyone was going to be involved. With all of our players around, many of whom were scared to death, right then and there didn't seem to be the best time for me to start complaining about my fear of heights, and bow out.

So I said nothing. I allowed them to tighten the harness around me to the necessary level of discomfort, put my helmet on, and started climbing the telephone pole. Besides the heights, there were other excuses going through my head.

My size 14 shoes are not the best fit for the microscopic pegs they use as climbing handles to get to the top of the pole. And at the top of the pole, I was supposed to stand up, which also was not ideal for my size 14's. And then, I was to leap off the pole, and catch myself on a trapeze bar that was suspended out in mid air, which was certainly going to hurt the shoulder I'd had surgery on in high school but never fully recovered from.

But again, during one of my first activities with the team, bowing out for any of these reasons probably wouldn't have done much for my credibility moving forward. More importantly, it would have kept me from doing something that challenged me, and having some the feeling of accomplishment that comes with climbing to the top of a telephone pole in an ill fitting harness, standing up on top of it, and grabbing a trapeze bar in mid air, which I did, and it was an awesome feeling.

We have so much that we are afraid of: pain, "failure", looking foolish in front of others, awkwardness, speaking in public, being wrong, making a mistake, and many others that I'm sure you could list when you are being completely honest with yourself.

The truth is, most of these things, are  feelings. They aren't concrete results, they aren't the end, and they don't define us. But we often treat them like they do. And when we do that, we often end up burying our dreams, our potential, the excitement that testing the waters brings us.


If we want to get to another place, if we want to grow, if we want reach a goal, then we are going to have to go through these things. They are, without question, a part of the process.

Who is going to read this, why should I write?
What if I try out for the team and don't make it, and everyone makes fun of me?
What if I get embarrassed?
This is going to be hard...

Please understand, me writing this doesn't mean that I've found a way to eliminate all of the thoughts and feelings that I've mentioned. It's hard.

And many times, it stinks.

But the alternative, is what? Safety? Security? Never being embarrassed? Never getting hurt?

I don't know that those things are actually possible. At the risk of sounding pessimistic, you are probably going to be hurt, embarrassed and feel awkward based on things that are beyond your control any way. And I'm not even sure I know what "safety" and "security" really means in life.

Might as well go and experience those challenges while we are pursuing something we care about.

So I encourage you to focus doing things that excite you, to pursue things that are challenging, and to go after the things that are most important to you, regardless of the emotional obstacles that so often get in the way. They won't define you.

I don't mean that we throw all caution to the wind, and ignore common sense and wisdom. However, what I usually do, is slowly convert my fears and worry into "common sense". If I turn my emotions over and over in my mind enough, I can force myself to arrive at a place that convinces me that I shouldn't be doing something. Don't let your emotion and worry bury you.

Stop worrying about what could go wrong, and get excited about what could go right.

Much Love,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Will Not Define You

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just
the same; 

You might recognize this quote from Rudyard Kipling's famous poem, If. 

There are situations throughout our lives where it is easy, based on our successes and our
failures, to feel as if we will be defined by that very situation.

I was fired, and now I'm going to have to explain that to every boss I ever work for. What does
this say about me?

I didn't get accepted to the school I hoped for. I must not be smart enough for that school.
What does that mean for my future? 

I made a huge mistake in front of a lot of people. Surely, nobody will ever forget, and I'll
always be that guy

Or even on the flip side: 

I totally crushed it in there, I'm on my way, I'll always be remembered as the guy. 

We won the National Championship, we are now immortal, this is the greatest thing I'll ever

If you can meet with both Triump & Disaster...

Both can lie to us, and have us believing that this, whatever this is at the given moment, is it. 

I came across this quote the other day:

At any given moment, you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end.
A few years ago, I went through a significantly challenging situation. I've alluded it to it before
here, but it was something that I was unsure if I was going to recover from. There was
definitely a feeling of, "my story has been written, and this is it". I felt like my career,
relationships, and personal life were going to be affected forever. In the moment, in those
moments, the feeling can be suffocating.

For a more trivial example:

When I was in high school, I had an unbelievable opportunity to dunk in a basketball game
during my sophomore year. The ball bounced just between me and a 5'6'' guy who could dunk
in his sleep, but this was going to be MY moment. There was nobody in between me and the
rim, and I just new I was about to hammer it. The gym was going to go crazy, the NBA scouts
in the gym who were there to watch our 6'11'' Junior were surely going to start throwing big
time money my way. Little kids would soon be wearing my #25 jersey to their elementary

Except I missed it. The ball bounced off of the back of the rim, the other team corralled the
rebound, and took it the other way.

I got pulled out of the game soon after, and watched all of my plans go down the drain. No
NBA contract, no Hendley replica jerseys, it was all gone. 

In that moment, all I could imagine were all of the questions that were sure to follow the next 
day at school about how and why I missed the dunk. Maybe all the times I'd 
dunked in practice were just a fluke, maybe I couldn't dunk at all. Was I going to forever be 
that guy who missed that dunk that time? 

It sounds silly now, it was just a game, just a dunk, just a moment. 

But the truth is, for many of us, the moment changes, but the fear remains the same. We are
filled with fear after big moments of "failure" because we think they will haunt us forever, or
we avoid opportunities that are presented to us because of the fear that abides in us, usually a "what if" fear.

The interesting thing is, I don't even remember the response from all the people I was worried 
about. I think most people were pretty stoked that I'd tried. I might've taken some ribbing 
from some teammates, but even then, I can't really remember. It was years ago, I remember 
the moment, and I over-emphasize the thoughts I was having for dramatic effect, but just as 
soon as it began, it was over. Life went on. Nobody remembers me as that guy. 

And even if they did....They don't get to define me...That's for me...And Jesus

The rest of the story is still unwritten, it's not over, this will not define you. 

From a Christian perspective, we should take heart in the fact that we have been defined by the 
fact that we belong to Jesus. We have been created in His image, saved by His grace, and we 
know, ultimately, how our story ends. 

A missed dunk, a messed up presentation, a failed marriage, a career mistake, or a grand 
victory can't change that. 

When we get to Heaven, our name tag won't say basketball coach, dunk misser, teacher,
divorce', or any other number of labels we may weigh ourselves down with. 

It will simply say, "I belong to Jesus"

We've already been defined. And THIS ain't it. 

Much Love, 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Deeply Rooted

I mentioned this concept in my last post. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to take a look back at, "Dad of the Year".

I've been giving some significant thought over the last few months to the idea of being deeply rooted in the things that matter most. I think I've always had a pretty good handle on what I believe in, and what is important to me, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I really started giving it some sustained thought, and took the time to actually articulate what was most important to me.

I'm sure most people have heard the quote,
"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything"

I think that is true, it sounds good, and it was probably said by someone who is much more historically significant than I am.

But I came across this idea of being deeply rooted because I think it is more significant than standing for something.

Standing for something can be situational. You might stand for something specific now, in this given time, or in a particular place, but later, you may have a need or desire to stand for something else. To me, it gives off the perspective of taking a stand, making your voice heard, being assertive.

I get it, and maybe I'm splitting hairs, but deeply rooted resonates more with me.

Being deeply rooted doesn't call for a given situation, or ask you to determine for what you might stand up and be heard. Deeply Rooted calls for us to determine what matters most to us, the person that we hope to be, what we value, and to invest (deeply) in those things.

When we determine what our roots are, we can better determine how we want to spend our time. We can determine what we should be saying no to and what we should be saying yes to. Determining our roots allows us to begin to take a look at who it is we want to become (as a person) and make daily decisions that help to make that a reality.

When I think about deep roots, I think about large, thick, old trees that cannot be easily uprooted. Despite the wind or rain, or human elements that may affect the tree, it holds steadfast. And when it is uprooted, by something significant like hurricane force winds, you can see very clearly, the intricate web of roots that have been woven together to help strengthen and hold up a massive tree.

Being deeply rooted helps us to answer tough questions before they are asked. When we wait until that moment, when our adrenaline or hormones or anger is raging, it can be very difficult to make a wise, long view decision. Spending some time determining and then developing our roots, gives us an opportunity to answer some of those challenging, pressure filled questions in advance, taking out some of the inevitable stress of the moment.

It doesn't mean it will all be easy, but it gives us a filter through which to run our decisions.

"How does this align with what I've said (and written down) that I've valued and who I want to become?"

For a point of reference, here are my roots:

Faith: God knows me, loves me, and wants me to thrive.
Relationships: Cultivate meaningful, loving relationships. Invest in friends and mentors/mentorship.
Family: Lead and love your family in a way that makes them proud you are their husband, dad, and son.
Value Statement: Be a humble man of character. Lead a life of purpose. Love others. Add value.

I'm not always hitting on all cylinders with these, but I know what I want, and who I want to be. From time to time, maybe I edit some of the verbiage, or do a better job clarifying or simplifying, but from a foundational perspective, my roots don't change much.

I would encourage you to spend some time determining your roots. Chances are, you have a good idea as to what they might be, but maybe you haven't taken the time to write them down in a clear and succinct manner.

After you have defined them, start developing them. The more you nurture them, by saying yes to your roots, and investing in things that strengthen your experiences and resolve in those areas, the stronger and deeper your roots will become.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Much Love,

If anyone would ever like to engage further, have some dialogue about what you've read, or share any feedback you have as to how any of this is connecting with you, please reach out at:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dad of The Year

I want to start by saying I have received multiple commendations for my performance as a dad. And notably, they have increased in their level of significance as the years have gone by.

First, I received a cup from my kids/wife as the #1 Dad. This was pretty neat. They valued me as the #1 Dad, but you know, they only have one dad anyway, so... It was a nice gesture

Then, I received a cup that said, World's Greatest Dad. The significance of this accomplishment cannot be overstated. Out of all of the dads in the world, I was the greatest. The competition, is stiff, if only due to the sheer numbers of other dads out there. 

But recently, I received the cup that closes the door on all other competitors. 

Best. Dad. Ever.

There is no other cup after that. Of all the dads, in all the families, in all of the world, for all time. I am, according to the cup I received, The Best. 

*It should be noted, that I do not actually believe this*

A few years ago, I ran into a man, who was most certainly NOT going to challenge me for one of my cups. I had the opportunity to attend an assistant coaching symposium, that was billed as an opportunity for assistant coaches to hone their craft, and to learn some things to continue to advance in the profession. They had meet and greats, small group discussions, large lectures, and breakout sessions where you could go and listen to long time, "big-time" assistants discuss various issues. 

One of the coaches I went and listened to had been a lifelong assistant who was, at the time, working in the Midwest at a Division I program, and his wife and children, having grown tired of moving from state to state as he chased his coaching dreams, had stayed back somewhere on the East Coast. 

I can't remember the lesson he was trying to convey, other than to say that I felt like he was boasting when he told this story. He seemed proud of it, and when he hit the end, some people laughed. 

I did not. 

So he told this story about how his young son, who I think was in middle school, asked him when he was going to come home. He wanted to know why his dad wasn't there with him and his mom, he wanted to know why he wasn't around. The son wanted the Dad to be there, and it sounded like, maybe he was hounding his dad about it. 

And the Dad's response, the one that he seemed so proud of, was, 

"And finally I asked him, 

Dad: "You like that Playstation in your room?"
Son: "Yes sir"
Dad: "Okay. You like that new bike you got for Christmas?"
Son: "Yes sir"
Dad: "You like all them Jordan's (shoes) you got in your closet"
Son: "Yes sir" 
Dad: "Alright then"

There is a chance I am not intelligent enough to understand his joke, because, without question, it was told like a joke. So I tried to figure it out. 

"HAHAHA, he told his kid that he can't be in his life, so instead he is buying him nice shoes"

"Ohhhh, yeah, he chose to pursue ANOTHER assistant coaching job at a Division I school hundreds of miles away from his family. HAHAHA"

I couldn't make anything stick. It just wasn't funny. 

Maybe I'm more judgmental than I should be towards this coach I heard. I don't know that I have a big problem with him feeling like he needed to be away from his family for work, for a stretch of time. But it sounds like his roots were centered around things first and people second. 

His son was reaching for relationship and he handed him some Jordans and a Playstation. 

I understand that money has to be made, and that families have to be supported. I'm not making light of the fact that sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order to make ends meet, or to support our families. I also understand, and believe wholeheartedly, that there are seasons of our lives where we ask those that we love the most to make sacrifices so that we can pursue our dreams, or chase something we are passionate about. Those sacrifices may be financial in nature, or they may mean that we see less of our families from time to time, as we work on something meaningful or necessary. 

However, Jordan's aren't a meaningful and necessary reason for sacrifice. And they certainly shouldn't be the currency by which we interact with our sons and daughters, nor our husbands and wives. 

I've been working on this concept of the importance of being deeply rooted in the things that matter most to us. 

For me, those things are my faith, my family, my relationships, and the person that I hope to be/become. 

So while I pursue, and dream, and work to achieve (things that are important to me), I try to always reference my roots, and make sure that, 1) I'm not straying too far from those things that I've said are important to me, and/or 2) That when I do need to make a sacrifice, or ask others to make a sacrifice, that I've been consistent enough with my roots that I can afford to do that, and that while I make that sacrifice, or "step away" for a period, that I do so without neglecting my roots. 

Without determining and developing those things that you are deeply rooted in, it's easy to neglect, create gaps in, and separate yourself from the things that really matter in this life. 

Much Love,

Thursday, January 5, 2017

I've Never Been Good Enough

In the process of moving from a full time coaching position, into a time where I am working on writing, and leadership development, there is quite a bit of uncertainty and frustration.

At it's peak, my blog gets 8 views, and it's probably counting the views that occur when I go on to check and see if anyone is viewing my blog. While I understand and believe in the idea that it takes time, and commitment, and a lot of work to get things going, it is very easy to start to wonder,

"Who is going to read a book that I write?"

And with the answer to that question being, "probably just my mom", the second question becomes,

"Why am I doing this?"

And I realized the other day, that this is not a new challenge for me, and maybe you have experienced something similar. Over the course of my life, as I've taken new job positions, dealt with new personal challenges, or found myself in new situations with my family, I've wondered,

"Can I do this?"

"Am I good enough for this?"

And not just a general curiosity, as in, "I wonder how this will go?", but a genuine question of my ability, and wondering if I belonged in a given situation.

When I was in high school I spent about 2 years in that mindset on the basketball team. I'd look around at the athleticism and talent and immediately measure myself as less than.
After 4 years of hard work, I was named Coastal Area Player of the Year, and had been a significant member of a team that spent time ranked as one of the top teams in the country.

When I went off to college, I questioned whether or not I could play at that level.

And, I never did.

After college I started coaching at a small private school, and I was unsure if I knew enough, or if the fact that I didn't play in college was going to hurt my credibility with the players, or if I was going to add value to the program. I didn't know if I could.
Two years later I was the assistant coach on a state championship team, and had invested in significant relationships with many of the players.

A couple of years later I took a volunteer, unpaid assistant position as a college basketball coach. I was excited about the opportunity, but I didn't know if I was good enough for the position. 
Within 6 months I was in charge of the entire offense, and later was put in charge of directing all of our recruiting. I spent three years there, and in all three years, we finished in the top 5 in the nation in scoring offense, and during one of those years, we ranked as the number one team in the country.

From there I got a job at a Division II school. The Scholarship Level!! (At least that's how I saw it). I wondered,

"Am I good enough for this?"

After all, the kids I'd coached before weren't on scholarship, could I coach at this next level?  How would these new players respond? Did I know enough?

We went to the conference championship game that year and I coached some of the best Division II players in the country.

After 4 years in college, I took a job coaching at Buford High School, a storied program that has won 5 or 6 state championships, and has one of the best coaches in the state.

"Am I good enough to work with this guy?"

Coach Durden asked me to oversee the offense, and we finished the season as the state runner up. In the state championship game, we utilized a defense that I'd installed that helped keep us in the game against a team with a great deal more talent than we had on our roster.

My next coaching position was at a middle school coaching 8th grade basketball as the head coach. "How would the players respond to me?" "Can I handle the leadership role?"

"Am I good enough for this?"

We didn't win a whole bunch of games, but the girls responded to me as a coach, I was able to teach meaningful lessons, and develop relationships with the players that persist to this day.

Please don't read my accomplishments as a need for validation, or as a boast. In all of those situations there were players and coaches that contributed to my success, and I was certainly a part of the success of those programs, not the reason. I use those stories only as an illustration to say, despite my internal battle, I did just fine. And in some cases, quite honestly, I crushed it.

And there are few things I want to highlight that were present while I was wondering, “Am I good enough?” 

1) I worked hard and I valued people. I'm not saying this is the answer for everything (but maybe..?) but this served me really well. When I got into each of those situations, I worked really hard to fill the role that they had asked me to, I worked really hard to expand that role, and I valued the people I was working with. And mostly, in terms of me being successful in the job, it worked.

2) I focused too much on externals and how the people in the new situation were going to see me, and if I could "live up" to the moment. Instead, when I was most successful, and what I should have been consistently focusing on, were my principles. Rather than trying to achieve or being worried about how I would present to my new situation, I should have been focused on being deeply rooted in the values that mattered most to me. My faith, my family, relationships, and how I could add value to the people that I was working with and for.

3) A third consideration that we have to be careful of, is tying up our value in a given situation.

"I struck out so I stink"    "I didn't make the team, so I'm not good enough"

"I didn't get the job, what does that say about me?"

Ultimately, that question has already been answered...Our value is not found in a given situation nor determined by anyone here on earth.

Maybe I'm the only one who has experienced this. If so, then consider me a wee little man with a confidence problem.

If not, I hope there is some encouragement here for you. If we spend our time consumed with,

"Am I good enough?"

then we can't fully immerse ourselves in the situation or in the things that are most important to us. And if can't find that focus, and we are constantly questioning ourselves, then we will have a very difficult time being successful.

I don't know that I can answer the question of, "Why am I doing this?" All the time. But I think I can always control the HOW. As in, how can I best approach this situation? How can I carry myself?

Work really hard, value the people you are working with, immerse yourself in the situation, and be deeply rooted in the values that matter most.

Much Love,