A friend of mine gave me the book “Prepared to Win” this past week. The book is a compilation of stories about the 1977-2008 boys state tournament basketball coaches of west central Ohio. As I was reading through the stories I came across a quote by one of the coaches who is an old basketball playing buddy of mine. Everytime I see this gentleman he reminds me that he named his son after me hoping his son will be able to shoot the basketball like I did (poor kid). In the book this coach said “I think there is a total difference between getting kids to perform out of fear as opposed to getting kids to perform because they are a part of something they feel a responsibility for – the outcome.” He indicated that he coaches kids by motivating them towards the outcome. This is not only the coaching style I strongly support and have used in my role as a leader as a coach on the basketball floor as well as in my business, but it is a style I suggest for individuals to use in their everyday life.
I’ve watched parents unsuccessfully raise kids by using fear techniques. I’ve watched talented groups of athletic kids no longer able to perform to their maximum potential because of coaches who utilize fear techniques. I’ve watched marriages stagnate because one spouse controls the other by using fear techniques (the genesis of anger is fear). I’ve watched gifted business people paralyzed because of a leader who uses fear to motivate. Today many businesses are stuck in fear because of the economy while instead they should be developing new blueprints intended to create positive outcomes. I’ve watched countless numbers of talented individuals spin their wheels for years because of fear.
What does it mean to motivate towards an outcome? I can remember when our children were young. My wife and I would often talk with them about dreaming big and never limiting themselves to thinking they had to have college choices like ours or careers like ours. Then one day during his senior year in high school my oldest son visited Harvard because they wanted him but he didn’t want them so he ”settled” for Dartmouth. A couple of years later my daughter’s choice for higher education was also Dartmouth. What’s the chances of 2 Ivy Leaguers coming from the same middle class family in southwest Ohio? As they were growing up we spoke early and often about the great things that were in store for them if they did certain things right in their life. We always talked about possibilities and spent virtually no time talking about limitations. I must also give credit to their multiply disabled brother because each of them witnessed what it meant to have “real” limitations first hand on a daily basis.
In Matthew 22:36-40…a Pharisee was testing Jesus one day when he said “Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus came to us to tell us what we can do instead of what we cannot do i.e. the Ten Commandments. We no longer were instructed to live in fear but instead told by the One to live in love and to live for the ultimate outcome.
Fear is the great paralyzer. Take time today to reflect and write about the outcomes you would like to see happen in all aspects of your life. Then begin to visualize and imagine what it would be like to get there. Take God along with you and you will be amazed at what will happen. Focus on what will happen instead of what won’t or can’t happen.
Finally as Christians we have a responsibility to assist others with their ultimate outcome…eternal life. Are you living in a way that would attract others to Jesus? This is the outcome Jesus was most concerned about when he spoke to the Pharisee in Matthew…kind of ironic that the coach that ignitied this thought is named Matthew. Go figure.