True Power

Dear J-

At the moment I feel like shaking my fists at the sky and yelling out “they said it was going to rain, so rain already, will you?!” but I’m not sure what that would accomplish other than just clowning around. While reshuffling my clipboard yesterday I ran across John Wooden’s team rules; I’m not completely convinced those are entirely causative in his teams’ successes, but it can’t be proved otherwise, either, so I’ll continue to abide by them. It’s like every post on how to be a man put together and distilled into their essence: how to keep people from punching you in the face, whether literally or literariliy, respect your team and your teammates.

That makes me think of Pete Carroll and after years of watching him screw up favored teams (Patriots) or coaching the enemy (Trojans), or leaving under a cloud of suspicion, or … you know, that list is going to be long and unforgiving, so I’ll cut it short — after years of this I’m wondering if there’s something in his Win Forever Pyramid that’s akin to Wooden’s rules. Possibly. Probably. I think part of it is learning to be generous with what you have, sharing what you’ve got and not settling for letting them ask for it. Oh, I didn’t know you needed that; you should have told me. How does that feel? You’d make other people embarrassed to ask for what they need?

I go back to my experience at Worldcom — like I said, every job teaches you some skill you carry forward — and when I got in the position to be teaching others I understood why all the incessant questioning whether I was doing it RIGHT got so tiresome. You have to try on your own at some point. But at the same time I learned to be generous and patient, skills I can’t seem to sustain over the course of a whole day, even if I have so many hours to myself in the mornings and afternoons, train ride and thoughts spinning off into the dark like smoke in the breeze, a chance to recharge with me. What you learn is that you can affect the world and earn success through your initial investments in kindness now, and that’s power.

Mike

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