Sunday, April 19, 2020

CoachStill

Much of my early professional career was spent pretending to be an athletic coach.  I mistakenly thought that when I stepped out of that athletic life my "coaching" would end.  My lack of understanding got the best of me (again).  

I now have a better understanding that coaching is a mindset, a belief system, that goes far beyond a particular field of interest or specific endeavor.  

Coaching occurs when a valued other challenges, prods, pushes, demands, encourages, baits, demands, expects, .....  us to be better versions of ourselves.  That coaching lifts us upward in our thinking and performance (whether athletic or professional or spiritual or intellectual in nature).

That said, below are a few commonalities I find in the very best coaches.  My best coaches expect me to:
> Focus on the things WITHIN my control.
> Quickly process, then move past, failed attempts (self-pity pays no dividends).
> Just as quickly, celebrate achieved milestones (self-aggrandizement pays no dividends).
> Reflect, often and thoroughly, on goals and performances.
> LEARN, to be a voracious student in the area of desired improvement.
> Schedule my growth, regularly and incrementally (to be disciplined).
> Invest myself fully in the process of continuous improvement.
> In turn, "coach" my teammates in similar fashion (mostly through modeling).

I still have coaches (even at my advanced age of 62).  I still NEED coaches.  I still love my coaches.  And all that they do to shape a better me.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

MaslowThinkThanks

Abraham Maslow proposed his Hierarchy of Needs in 1943.  He said we humans have some very Basic Needs (like food, water, warmth, rest, safety and security).  Once those needs are mostly met our psyche turns to meeting a subsequent level of needs which he called Psychological Needs:  belongingness, love, esteem, feeling accomplished.  Finally, as both those Basic and Psychological Needs are mostly met we spend more time and effort trying to meet a higher level of needs which he called Self-fulfillment Needs: creativity and self-actualization.

As result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I've been thinking a lot about Maslow's hierarchy.  More of my time, effort, and thinking seem centered on those Basic levels these days.  It has been, in effect, a bit of a recalibrating experience.

I'm thinking more often and more appreciatively of a wide range of folks whose efforts make the satisfying of those Basic Needs a reality in our lives.  All why they're most certainly anxious about those Basic Needs for themselves and their loved ones.  

So, let me say thanks.  Thanks to the folks who grow and deliver and prepare our food.  Thanks to those who make sure we continue to have fuel and electricity and communications capabilities.  Thanks to those continue to make sure water flows to our homes.  Thanks to those who keep our communities secure, those who guard our borders and those who protect our sovereignty.  Thanks to those who selflessly mask up, gown up and rush to the aid of those who fall into health crisis.  Thanks to those who bolster our faith and our resilience in times of doubt/fear.  Thanks to those in the "essential services" that keep us supplied and functioning in numerous ways.  Thanks to the leaders at all societal levels who are daily making some gut-wrenching decisions in the interest of our survival and prosperity.  

Despite the inconvenience and anxiety associated with this pandemic, I'm thankful, too, for the recalibration process itself.  I'm beginning to see how I had disproportionately important-ized a fair number of folks who really were not in any way involved in meeting my most important needs.