The question under a lot of coaching conversations I have.
Among all the other football conversations happening in the U.S. right now, Bill Belichick has been in the news lately.
For those who don’t know, Mr. Belichick was a phenomenally successful football coach for the New England Patriots. He had a style of coaching and leadership that was tough but effective - at least on the field. He coached one of the best (if not the best) quarterbacks of all time, Tom Brady.
But over time, Belichick’s style of leadership no longer served Tom Brady, then the team, then the organization. He was let go. And he hasn’t been picked up by another NFL team yet.
Now, I’m no authority on Bill Belichick, and I don’t particularly care about the ins and outs of football.
But I have been having a lot of conversations lately about what happens when the strengths you’ve used to get where you are, the strengths that have served you well and been successful in the past, are no longer serving you in the same way.
You don’t want to start over. You don’t know how to start over. The idea of starting over is overwhelming and anxiety producing. Deep down, you’re afraid you can’t start over.
What if it wasn’t about starting over but rather about tapping into the strengths you had to turn down in order to focus on the ones you’ve been using? What if it was a matter of identifying what other, perhaps less practiced strengths, are available to you and then turning up the volume on those?
What if you could do that right now? How might being able to access more strengths - and choose which ones are appropriate to each situation - make you even more successful?
What does that mean?
Here’s an example.
A guy taking the group High Intensity Interval Training class I was in last week approached me and the trainer as we were chatting at the end of class.
He was sweaty and out of breath. He was also grinning ear to ear.
“Thanks so much for the class,” he panted. “It kicked my butt!” We all laughed.
He went on. “I thought I’d do so well in here because I spend tons of time lifting weights and working out. I mean, I’m in really good shape! But this class uses all different muscle groups and I am totally out of shape where those are concerned. This class totally humbled me - I can’t wait to come back! I can see how it’s going to make my other workouts better.”
Yes, growth is humbling. You’ve got to put down your ego and open yourself up to the possibility that you may stumble, you may look less than perfect, you may not know all the moves. But growth also means discovery, possibility, expansion - information that helps you move forward, on and off the field.