“You can’t build a reputation by what you are going to do.”

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Chapter 7 Reflection Questions: Close the gap between who you are and who you want to be with two commitments. What is one thing you can start doing and one thing you can stop doing to close the gap?

“Envision the best day ever, one that challenges you and stretches yourself.”

The best days – not including vacation – are busy days, included in it are three things:

  1. Reading
  2. Physical Exertion – Working out, manual labor, etc.

  3. Basketball – Coaching, Discussing, or Viewing

If I were to choose one thing that I would spend more time on, it would be reading on a daily basis. It activates my brain in a different way than a video does or listening to a podcast. Whether it is learning something new or forcing myself to think in a different perspective, you feel like you got a little bit better that day as a result. This is likely because I did not do this often for leisure as a kid, so I have some sense of accomplishment for comprehending words on paper. Sarcasm aside, books are the quintessential scouting report to life’s endless questions. The challenge is finding the books that resonate most with you.

One thing I could certainly do less of is making comparisons. This isn’t as much of a time-consuming activity as it is a mentally taxing activity. As coaches, I think we inherently compete in almost everything that we do. One of those competitions tends to subconsciously take place with our own peers – comparing accomplishments or job status. This takes away from our investment toward the game. More importantly, it distracts us from our primary responsibility of effectively teaching those under your guidance right now. We all have goals as coaches to start out, what we want to accomplish and where we hope to ascend. Do these goals interfere with where our feet are today?

‘Trust the Process’ or Goal-Setting

Reading this chapter instantly had me drawing associations to Kevin Durant’s quote regarding championships filling a void.

“After winning that championship (last season), I learned that much hadn’t changed. I thought it would fill a certain [void]. It didn’t. That’s when I realized in the offseason that the only thing that matters is this game and how much work you put into it. Everything else off the court, social media, perception, isn’t important. What people say, how they view you, it’s not important.” – Kevin Durant with ESPN

The character (Danny) within this chapter has 7 days to climb to the summit of a mountain. They are already on day-4 when the guide decides to suspend the climb for a day due to inclement weather. Danny sees this as wasted time because his goal is to simply get to the top.  The introspective guide (James) attempts to enlighten Danny suggesting, “You sacrifice the process for the goal. You can’t enjoy the process when you’re focused on the future, because the only way to experience joy is by attaining your goal. It is a dangerous cycle for most. However, the craziest part of it all is that when we finally attain that goal, the joy ends up being very short-lived!”

Bring in the Kevin Durant quote, and you can draw a relatable real-life experience for someone who left a championship contending franchise to accelerate his chances of accomplishing the ultimate goal. And even after winning it all, there still was a void. Now, who knows what that void is for Kevin Durant that is his own prerogative. But, I think we can relate as coaches that we have a tendency to chase opportunities either for validation or to fill a void we think exists. While I may not agree that having performance related goals are counterproductive to embracing the process; I understand that the finish line isn’t always the most satisfying.

I think that if performance standard objectives drive you to invest your time toward tangible learned skill sets, the rewards from the process will be a result of the competition. Unfortunately, the reward is not always winning at the end. Or getting the dream job you originally envisioned. Competition by default has a “loser.” It can be from those losses that provide some of the most constructive experiences. This brings me back to the original quote from UNC Women’s Soccer Coach Anson Dorrance:

“You can’t build a reputation by what you are going to do.”

Doesn’t matter what your goals are if your actions do not reflect your aspirations. This is why investing your time in what is most important gives helps you develop the habits that hopefully help you enjoy the process most while chasing your dreams. Easier said than done.

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