As described in my previous posts, outlook is everything in sports. Your mindset is important at all times, especially during times of adversity or challenge. As coaches, our players will react how we react. If we are calm, they too will be calm. If we allow ourselves to become tense and panic, our players will also panic. However, if we welcome adversity and challenges and see it as an opportunity to grow, then in time, our players will follow our lead and do the same.
There is an old saying “you cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.” Much like the trials and tribulations life throws our way, sports has its own set of events that players and coaches must face. Throughout the course of the season there will be injuries, illness, blowout losses, off the court issues and a variety of other situations that will arise during the course of the season. Unfortunately, preventing these situations most of the time is out of anyone’s control. However, our response is something we have full power over. As leaders, we should welcome adversity, accept challenges and view every situation as an opportunity to grow. Our actions, thoughts, words and body language all has an impact on not only us but our team as well. The formula here is simple, control your reactions, monitor your words, think positive thoughts, and you will control your team.
Below is story called “Are you a Carrot, Egg or Coffee Bean?” This reading is about reacting to adversity and should be shared with your team.
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans.
She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minute she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee into a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity… boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after being through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked the daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after death, a break up, a financial hardship, or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?
How do you handle adversity?
ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?
Wake up and smell the coffee, coaches ….
KEVIN R. NOON