Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.– Why Great Leaders Inspire Others
I believe in coaches and I believe in coaching. I believe that we have the power to equip young people with confidence and belief in themselves. Moreover, I believe that my job (and yours too, Coach) is meaningful.
Our athletes, especially collegiate athletes because they’re closer to the “real world”, want to know that their life’s work can have meaning beyond just a paycheck. Teachers, peace corps volunteers, and religious clergy aren’t the only folks who can make a difference in the world. Engineers, lawyers, secretaries, and yes, coaches can have meaningful jobs…as long as we’re intentional about it.
So how can a coach—whose successes and failures are broadcast on television, posted on the internet, tweeted on Twitter, and updated on everyone’s Facebook status—focus on finding meaning beyond the wins and losses?
Sometimes folks will say, imagine what you’d want your eulogy to say and live your life accordingly. Since I don’t want to be morbid, I’ll say we should live our life for our retirement party. If our families, co-workers, former and current athletes, and opposing coaches got together to celebrate our coaching career, what would be want them to say about us?
What will folks say about me when I finally hang up my whistle?
Family. I’d want my family to say they respected my hard work and the love I have for my sport and my players. Some of the coaches I know have older kids who’ve gone into the coaching field. I’d love for my kids to want to coach one day! I hope they’ll say they had just as much fun on the coaching ride as I’ve had.
Co-workers. I’d hope my co-workers would say that I was a fun person to be around. Why fun? We spend way too much time in the office to be grumpy all the time! I also hope they’d say that I was willing to work for the common good of the department, not just my own program.
Athletes. At my coaching convention this year, they had a panel of some of the winningest coaches in volleyball. To a person, they all talked about how their most cherished and valued memories aren’t the big wins, but the relationships they’d built with their players. I’m sure we all want our athletes to know how much we care about them…on and off the court.
Opposing coaches. I hope they’d say my teams were hard outs, that they knew they had to bring their A game to compete with us. I’d want them to say that as much as they wanted to beat my teams, they respected how well prepared and skilled my players were. I’d want them to think that having me in the conference made it better, not worse.
What do you want said at your retirement party?