Key Takeaways:

  • Blank Page Mentality
  • Ikigai (“A Reason For Being”)

For starters, this will be a quick read. Big font. Blank pages in between chapters. If I were a kid again having to choose a book for mandated reading during school; How To Be Here would be an ideal choice. For the adult with less time on their hands, there is a lot of value in the opportunity to find inspiration or stimulation of ideas from an easy pick-up and put-down reading.

While in the book store the other day, I was looking for something to catch my attention. As a side note to the story for context – from a personal standpoint – my wife and I are in the midst of a lot of transition. We are moving back to where I grew up to be closer to family, starting new jobs, and re-evaluating our coaching careers. How To Be Here stood out on the shelves.

A bright orange cover page with all words blurred out except for “Here” emboldened towards the center. Beyond the eye-catching color of the book was a fitting title for my circumstances, and many other coaches that live the nomadic lifestyle. After only a couple of days within my possession I am already halfway through the 200-plus page book, as I said it is a quick read.

Blank Page Mentality

From the title alone you can probably surmise the content inside; to focus on living in the present. It isn’t a new concept. Yet, it caters to the author’s – Rob Bell – intent to write.

Obviously, bureaucracies and institutions and governments and finance departments can be huge obstacles to doing compelling work, but ideally – in spirit – the person who gives things their much needed structure and order is playing a vital role in the ongoing creation of the world, helping things move forward.


From a basketball standpoint it can be very interesting to observe polarizing perspectives from the coaching community discussing best strategies. In large part, and this might be hard to hear for some, very little of what is often being debated is new. The use of SSG in practices are not new. Proclaiming a player-lead program is not new. There are very few changes in the sport of basketball since the inception of the three-point line that have required new tactics. But, the game does evolve, as do the players competing, and the prevalence of these conversations to help coaches move forward!

Back to the book, Bell elaborates on any creation contributed to the world can help us move forward. Thus introducing the blank page mentality as an example, and as an author staring at the cursor blinking on the screen, suggesting “What are you waiting for?”

This could bring up some traumatic experiences from those late-night college days attempting fluff our way through a certain essay that required page lengths or total number of words. But, the symbolism remains parallel to what each of us have to do on a daily basis. Coaches look at a blank page while visualizing an upcoming practice or game. We do not have to reinvent the wheel or do something never seen before. Our decisions rely upon the pieces already in place with the information that already exist to create a plan best preparing them for future competition. Are you installing a continuity or conceptual offense? Will the points of emphasis defensively encourage disruption or containment to contest? These aren’t necessarily either or questions, but a coaching philosophy, or an imitation of blank canvas turn to style of play. Some days we develop writers block. On others, there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. These preparations are an example of creative applications.

The blinking line can be brutal.

Because the blinking line doesn’t just taunt you with all the possibilities that are before you, the potential, all that you sense could exist but isn’t yet because you haven’t created it.


The author alludes to the other things that can co-exist with creativity and the blank-page mentality.

  • Considering Comparisons
  • Imposter Mentality – “Who am I to do this?”
  • Unexpected Adversity
  • Sustainable Motivation

These challenges are common with everyone in any occupation. The question then follows, is it all worth it?


What wakes you up in the morning with an eagerness to create?

The Japanese have a word for what gets you out of bed in the morning: they call it your ikigai. Your ikigai is that sense you have when you wake up that this day matters, that there are new experiences to be had, that you have work to do, a contribution to make.


It is the dichotomy of passion vs profession. The passion for coaching invigorates us early in our career: to travel, to work second/third jobs, and expand our network for opportunities. Then there is the part of our profession that seems to hit somewhere along the way.

  1. Finances
  2. Barriers to Entry
  3. Life Stages

Strictly speaking to the coaching community, these three can play a significant role in my (our) decision to pursue the profession. There is probably one more variable that I think is likely worth of being recognized, and that is our identity.

Athletes often only understand one lifestyle. To be honest, I think there is an improving shift of being more than just an athlete that is conducive for any competitors to explore other strengths in our character. It’s similar with coaching. Once you get involved with coaching it becomes a part of your individual brand recognition. Family and friends from home have a vicarious exchange with your journeys. It is pretty well-documented how an attempt to climb the ladder in the coaching profession comes with sacrifice and/or persistence.

Yet, this is our decision we make. It is our craft.

Too many people have a job and they get a paycheck and that’s it. Few things will inject more meaning and even, at times, joy into your work than seeing yourself working your craft.


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