I attended an event last week put on the by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. One of the speakers talked about his experiences with sports growing up, and in particular his coaches. He could sort each of them into just 2 categories, which he calls 'memory boxes.' He labels them, very simply, good and bad. (I did a quick sorting of my past coaches...the 'bad' was more crowded than the 'good.' How about you?).
There were those who encouraged him, challenged him, and brought out the best in him. They helped him enjoy the sport and want to play. They went in the good box.
And there were those who, well, didn’t. It’s not that all of those in the ‘bad’ memory box were mean or broke his spirit (though some did), it’s that they failed to have any influence or positive impact at all. After all, that’s a pretty big part of being a coach, isn’t it?
Can’t the same be said about a boss, a manager, or a supervisor? Which made me think about…me. What memory box will I be put in? If I think back to all the people I’ve been lucky enough to work with, I’m not crazy about the percentage of ‘good’ memory boxes I’ve likely earned a spot in. I can do better than that. They deserved better than that.
The good/bad memory box visual will stick with me, hopefully forever. It’s so easy to blow off or schedule around opportunities to teach, to help, or to listen – really listen – to people who are looking for guidance.
I like the memory box analogy … there’s no middle ground; it’s definitive. Good = good. Anything less = bad.
The event made me realize how I’ve let my ‘coach’ role slip. It’s given me a new resolve to use every day to do what I can to help people be at their best, be more capable, and be more marketable.
Care to join me?