Coaching Corner: The Best Game of Your Life

After trying out, our eleven-year-old was recently selected to join a competitive soccer team. Until now, he had played recreational soccer with a group of his classmates, but his new team was filled with new faces and forged bonds. Where he had once been clear about his role and contribution, over the last several weeks, I could see him become tentative and uncertain about what he had to offer.

On Saturday, his team won the first two games of a weekend-long tournament and advanced in the rankings. Normally, I would have celebrated, but instead, I was concerned, with a knot in my stomach. It had been difficult to watch our typically confident athlete flounder, bite his nails, and focus his attention on getting rid of the ball rather than moving it toward the goal. I left the field that day wondering what had caused him to hold back when he had so much to offer.

As we made our way to the car, I wondered what kind of a leader he needed me to be at that moment. Should I put my arms around him and tell him everything will be all right, that there will be other games for him to strut his stuff? Or, would it be better to give him a bit of a wake-up call with something like, “What in the heck was going on out there?” Maybe I could just get him to talk about what he was feeling, because from the look on his face, he was filled with emotion.

Working as an Executive Coach and an Organizational Development Consultant gives me the chance to work with individuals and teams who want to move their performance to the next level. It is not unusual to come across those who are experiencing uncertainty about what they have to offer; they hesitate, and withhold the best of who they are; momentum is lost, satisfaction minimized, and ultimately, they give up. It goes without saying that playing it safe does not result in world records, gold medals, or innovative solutions. It is only when every member of the team plays full out, giving everything they have, that full potential is realized. At full potential, there is electricity, fire, and enthusiasm. At fifty-percent, it is boring, empty, and flat.

So, why are so many of us playing at only fifty, sixty, or seventy-percent of what we are capable of? What will it take to step it up and play with courage and passion? What will motivate you to play the best game of your life?

As we drove away from the field that day, I knew we had to engage in a difficult conversation, and that my husband and I would need to walk a fine line between honesty and compassion. Because this child deserves to have everything good that the world has to offer, we stepped into the fire with him. We talked openly about the conflict between the greatness we knew he was capable of, and his current reality. We identified motivators and developed a strategy to focus him on believing in the possibilities, rather than allowing fear to manifest worst-case scenarios. Together, we created an intention and vision of how the next game would be.

And so it was. We watched a completely different player hit the field. Other parents came over to us and asked, “What happened between yesterday and today?” The ability to focus on what he wanted, and play his game in alignment with what was important to him, had an immediate and substantial impact. As we headed to the car, he turned to us and said, “Thanks for your help; I think today I played the best game of my life.”

If you are tired of playing it safe and are ready to live up to your full potential, call us for a consultation. Are you ready to play the best game of your life?

To learn more about coaching, contact us at: