By Scott Garvis, CMAA
Bound AD in Residence
Gary stepped outside before heading off the school that frigid February morning. Gary was the athletic administrator at Kettle High School, Kettle, WI. Gary had a tough evening the night before and did not sleep well, he dreaded going to work. He knew there would be fall out from the incident at the game last night. He had to remove a a group of students from a basketball game due to making inappropriate comments to the opposing team. He knew that it was going to be one of those terrible days. Everything was dark and gloomy, like a snow storm was only moments away. But it was strange – the weather reporter had said the day would be sunny.
Gary continued on to his favorite coffee shop before heading to school. Inside the coffee shop, the lights were dim, as if some bulbs had burned out. He thought, “What kind of lousy restaurant doesn’t change the light bulbs when they go out?”
Gary sat down and looked at the menu, but the dim lighting was making him more and more depressed. When the waitress came by to take his order, Gary ordered his food, but he stopped her as she started walking back to the kitchen.
“Why don’t you guys fix some of these light bulbs? It’s so dark in here. Do you think your customers like to eat in the dark?” Gary, whose mood had gotten progressively worse since he left the house, spoke angrily and a little too loudly.“But sir,” the waitress said, looking confused, “No bulbs are burned out here. You’re wearing sunglasses.”Gary pulled his glasses off. It was true! He had grabbed the wrong pair of glasses out of his dresser drawer. He apologized to her and he started to reflect on his attitude & some strategies to work with his students on displaying appropriate behaviors during contests.
“LIFE ISN’T JUST ABOUT DARKNESS OR LIGHT, RATHER IT’S ABOUT FINDING LIGHT WITHIN THE DARKNESS.” — LANDON PARHAM
What an eye opener! Isn’t it true that the fault we find in the world around us can often be traced back to what’s inside ourselves? It’s so easy to project our problems onto others when taking ownership of the issues would actually help us solve them much more quickly.
How often do we try to make a student or a coach change behaviors, to no avail? We all know we can’t change others! We can encourage and persuade, but we can’t make people do anything.
“YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CONTROL EVERY SITUATION AND ITS OUTCOME, BUT YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR ATTITUDE AND HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT.” — UNKNOWN
Knowing this truth, we ought to be able to see how counterproductive it is to let issues cause us to lose sight of our purpose. It is difficult to let go of negativity & worry about issues going on around us that we do not have control of. Control what you can and let your light guide the way! We need to allow ourselves focus on being reflective, proactive and finding solutions to the issues that arise that cause us to lose sight of our why. Many time we allow our problems to cloud our judgement and lose focus, when we have the power to stop the madness by remembering why we started in this business to begin with.
“IF YOU REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED, THEN YOU WILL KNOW WHY YOU MUST CONTINUE.” — UNKNOWN
Just like Gary in the story, when we allow our problems to affect those around us, we spend a lot of time grumbling and complaining. We allow our negative emotions to rule and make things miserable for those around us.
Now contrast that unhappy picture with someone who takes responsibility for his own unhappiness. “Am I a part of the problem or the solution?” a wise person might ask. When things aren’t going well, the key is to stop and think about your attitude and actions.
Blaming others keeps us from finding solutions to the root cause of the issue. Taking responsibility and examining our weaknesses, mistakes or contributions to the problem allow us to take positive action toward improvements.
Self-reflection lets us take off the sunglasses and put on the clear lenses. Maybe there are still a few bulbs in the restaurant that need to be changed, but at that point, we’ve done everything we can to improve the situation on our own.
Many times we can control our emotions and improve our situation, and sometimes not so much. But taking ownership of our attitude and moving forward always makes us happier than taking out our negativity on others and waiting for them to change. Blaming others is a recipe for frustration!
- Are there issues in my life where I’m blaming others for things not going well?
- What am I doing that may be contributing to the problem?
- Is my perspective causing my own unhappiness?
- What are strategies can Gary use to work with parents & fans to create a better environment at their games?
“THE DARKNESS AROUND US MIGHT SOMEWHAT LIGHT UP IF WE WOULD FIRST PRACTICE USING THE LIGHT WE HAVE IN THE PLACE WE ARE.” — HENRY S. HASKINS