During the summer that I was turning eight, I was about to embark on my baseball career. Excitement reigned as I was only days away from beginning my first real baseball season. I could picture myself making spectacular diving catches, hitting line drives and home runs, and sprinting around the bases. I was eager. I was practiced. I was prepared to hit the field and begin.
I was nervous.
Nervous about making a mistake? Nervous about not fitting in with the team? Nervous about not being good enough? NO! I wasn’t nervous about any of those things. Not much anyway.
What concerned me most was the possibility of not being able to play second base. I was sure that I was born to be a second baseman. How would the coach know that I wanted to play that position? I waited and watched as we prepared for our first practice. The coach had us line up near home plate and I was the first player he approached.
The coach asked me my name and I quickly answered – “Robbie Kelly”. Then he looked at me and said, “What position do you want to play?” Before he finished this question I quickly answered – “second”, and thus about 10 minutes later, my baseball career was launched right there at second base.
Why share this story? Because I believe it is important to ask people that we are working with or leading the same question. What position do you want to play? This is an essential question as it relates to life and ministry.
This question allows people to share their passions and connect with the work that God is presently doing in their life. It keeps leaders from pigeon holing certain people. It forces greater interaction between the leader and her team.
The reality is that I did not always play second. Eventually I spent more time playing shortstop and pitching. But, that initial question allowed me to take the field with great excitement and energy because I was doing what I dreamed about doing.
Asking that question will do the same for the people you lead and team with. It will get them on the field and allow them experiences that will affirm or possibly even change the position that they want to play. How many people attend church each weekend that are longing for someone to just ask this question?
Wait just a minute Rob; doesn’t this raise the possibility of chaos and everyone wanting to play the same role? Absolutely! Thus the importance of a good coach!
And just in case you have not been asked in a while, what position do you want to play?
Phil Mickelsonsnatched defeat from the jaws of victory this past week at the U.S. Open. Phil made some very poor choices (club selection, type of shot to play) on his way to a complete meltdown. Although I do not like to use the word, some would argue that what he did was - stupid. Even Phil used the word "idiot" to describe he and his actions. Now my point here is not to pile on poor Phil. I like the guy and would have celebrated his victory.
My point is that there is a leadership lesson in the way Phil lost. The way Phil lost made me think about what led to the decisions he made at the last hole of this prestigious tournament. What led to the decisions that cost him victory at the U.S. Open? I can't say for certain, but my guess is that it was some combination of my following list - "steps to stupidity". Here then is a good reminder of what to avoid as a leaderfacing monumental moments.
Steps to stupidity:
Pride - thinking that you are better than you are.
Believing that something bad will not happen no matter what I do.
Trying to please the wrong person - "watch this" comes to mind.
Beingcontrolled by emotion rather than directing emotion.
A reluctance to accept reality.
Refusing to change.
Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Once again I have tried to get into soccer. What better way to do this than watch some of the World Cup? I have now watched both U.S. games (one half each), and I will break it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The game is continuous.
Phenomenal skill on display as it relates to ball meeting foot and ball meeting head. (It is amazing to me how they can bend the ball with such accuracy and power!)
Goalie saves are very cool.
Players have great names and great hair.
Passion of rooting countries.
Great sport for kids because anyone can play regardless of skill or ability.
The offsides rule.
Soccer allies making soccer players out to be icons of endurance. I watched the game and sure it is continuous, but c'mon, the player stand or walk most of the game.
Inferiority complex of most soccer fans about their sport.
Lack of scoring. Yes it makes every goal important, but if a team gets up 1 to nil, their is only a 15% chance that the team ahead will lose the game. (at least according to one stat I saw)
Frequent riots, fans killing fans, and fans killing referees.
Players taking their shirt off after they have scored a goal.
Players writhing to the ground when they are touched and acting as if they are seriously injured, only to jump up and return to action a short time later. From my view it is called a dive, and in hockey, the diving player receives the penalty. This is my least favorite aspect of soccer and I am sure that every coach must teach his players how to feign injury. Agrhhhh!
Most games are boring to watch. Really, what is the difference between a game that ends 0-0, and a game that was never played?
To those soccer lovers whom I have offended, I would like to point out that I have said as many good things as bad things about your beloved sport.
A NUMBER of Flies were attracted to a jar of honey which had been overturned in a housekeeper's room, and placing their feet in it, ate greedily. Their feet, however, became so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they exclaimed, "O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves."
Pleasure bought with pains, hurts.
For the sake of a little pleasure, are you doing things that may lead to your own destruction?
Today is our 21st Anniversary. What a joy to travel through life with Carol Ann. She is my delight and my true love. Happy Anniversary C! And to think - you liked my mustache! (Click picture for full-size fun)
For our wedding, Carol Ann's brother Michael wrote and sang this song of blessing:
I have really been inspired by the new Passion CD, Everything Glorious. Knowing that I have some friends who are going through some tough times I offer the words to my favorite song on the CD - Matt Redman's song You Never Let Go.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death Your perfect love is casting out fear And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life I won’t turn back I know You are near
And I will fear no evil For my God is with me And if my God is with me Whom then shall I fear? Whom then shall I fear?
Chorus: Oh no, You never let go Through the calm and through the storm Oh no, You never let go In every high and every low Oh no, You never let go Lord, You never let go of me
And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on A glorious light beyond all compare And there will be an end to these troubles But until that day comes We’ll live to know You here on the earth
Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on And there will be an end to these troubles But until that day comes Still I will praise You, still I will praise You