Donald Miller gives a great perspective on love. I don’t know if he knows anything about basketball or coaching, but he gives us something to think about.
“But love doesn’t control, and I suppose that’s why it’s the ultimate risk. In the end, we have to hope the person we’re giving our heart to won’t break it, and be willing to forgive them when they do, even as they will forgive us. Real love stories don’t have dictators, they have participants. Love is an ever-changing, complicated, choose-your-own adventure narrative that offers the world but guarantees nothing. When you climb a mountain or sail an ocean, you’re rewarded for staying in control. Perhaps that’s another reason true intimacy is so frightening. It’s the one thing we all want, and must give up control to get.”
Even if love and control are not opposites, there are certainly times when they are at odds. There are times when we are faced with the decision of whether or not to give up control and take that risk.
The question I have to answer…the question I believe we all have to answer… are we willing to take that risk? Will we give up control in order to be the people we’re called to be? Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves so that others may see God’s love? Will we humble ourselves when it may feel better to proclaim how great we think we are? How many of us are willing to do the right thing even when it might hurt us?
As leaders…as coaches…we want to be the ones pointing the finger at other people. We are the ones that are constantly pointing out other people’s faults and shortcomings. When do we examine our own? Instead of sending the assistant to get lunch for us, why don’t we go get lunch for the assistants? When do we get off of our throne and become a servant? Instead of giving an assistant a list of things to do, do we ask, what can I do for you today? When do we become vulnerable? Instead of always telling our players what they are doing wrong, do we give them an opportunity to tell us how we can improve?
Leadership and coaching are challenging especially when there are so many factors we can’t control. That makes us want to control something. Then trying to control one thing turns into trying to control a million things. Then we lose control because we forget to love. We lose focus on what’s really important.
I can’t promise that love will make everything better. Sometimes it makes it worse. It might show you that you don’t belong there in the first place. It’s not about the result, but about doing the right thing no matter what.