I have been an athlete and coach for almost forty years. During this time, I have thrived by pushing beyond the limits I thought were possible and also stunted my growth with being overly critical of myself. I became my own worst enemy because when I tasted success, I just assumed it would continue. When failure happened, I beat myself up and it affected everyone around me. When my playing career ended, I moved on to coaching full-time. My work ethic surpassed my talent as a player, so I had a problem with people giving less than 100% effort on the field. I became a very critical coach.
Things changed when I completely gave my life to Jesus in 2005. I started Cactus Athletics a year later and started to practice grace when I coached. I worked predominately with young athletes and at times I would catch myself sliding back to my old ways. Typically, when I did this my business would feel the effects in a negative way. I became a much better coach after the San Francisco Giants hired me in 2012. During my first year, one of our coaching coordinators blew up a player verbally in the cage in front of fifty guys during Spring Training. The player was embarrassed and physically shaken. After the coach left one of the player’s veteran teammates came over to me and said, “Remember how hard this game is.” I took his advice to heart and it gave me a whole new perspective on how to communicate with players.
One of the best gifts I have ever received is the Maxwell Leadership Bible. My wife gave it to me around ten years ago and the leadership principles inside of it are outstanding. John Maxwell is a terrific leader and has made the world better with his teachings. Recently I came across The 101% principle which talks about finding the one percent you can affirm in a situation and give it one hundred percent of your attention. This teaches us to focus on affirmation before confrontation. When it comes to people, we simply need to look for what is good in them, before we put them on blast. Here are two principles that will help you focus on that one percent.
Recognize Your Own Plank
It is really easy to tell people how bad they are at something especially if they live under the same roof. I am guilty of telling my wife and children about their faults and how much it annoys me. I admit that sometimes I am an awful husband and father when I express these things to them. Sometimes they are small aggravations that pile up over time and before you know it, you are screaming obscenities at the ones you love. How about instead of telling them how much they aggravate you; we walk into the bathroom and do an eye check in the mirror. That speck we see in their eyes doesn’t compare to the two by four plank in ours.
“Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”Matthew 7:5, NKJV
When we point the finger back at us, we start leading by example. We pause before we speak and assess the situation. Could it be that their behavior is the result of my lack of leadership in the home? Are they imitating the things that I do? As men we are called to lead our families with our words and actions. The definition of the word discipline is to train and instruct. We need to ask ourselves if we are always correcting those around us because of our own annoyance, or are we trying to benefit them with instruction? When you discipline someone the right way, you show how much you care about them.
Go Treasure Hunting
Things don’t always just fall into your lap. At least not for me. There have been times where I have been surprised with a blessing I didn’t see coming, but I am not talking about that. In this situation I want to convey to all of you the importance of looking for the good in someone. It may not always be sitting there on the surface. You don’t know what they have been through, much less walked a mile in their shoes. Life has a tendency to beat us up and we need to realize that some people have scars that they don’t want to discuss. These are things that the devil wants us to be shamed by, but God gives us these as an opportunity to help others. These scars are part of our testimony.
My son Bryce loves to search for things. He is constantly picking up random things off the ground which drives my wife nuts. He puts his treasures in a big tackle box and pirate chest that he keeps under his bed. The thing that we need to realize is that Bryce is always on the lookout for things and that is what we need to do as well regarding people. We need to search for the good in them. Everyone has treasure inside them that comes in the form of stories and wisdom that can help us in our daily walk. We should constantly be on a quest for what is good in others, because then we will do a better job of communicating with them. It will end up putting out fires before they start and blessing you and them in the process.
“Search for wisdom as you would search for silver or hidden treasure.”Proverbs 2:4, CEV
Here are some things to think about this week and apply to your life:
- Practice grace in your interactions with others.
- If you are coaching a sport, remember how hard it was when you played.
- Always search for the good in everyone.
- Focus on how you can help someone, versus always telling them what they need to work on.