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,

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