Day 1,062 – Thankful for Learning Through Seemingly Unrelated Experiences

Over the past couple of days I had the opportunity to watch all four of Gavin’s soccer matches. In each there were opportunities for him to learn, grow and develop. As I pause and think I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to do the same through watching those games.

I am a creature of habit. This even extends into learning and acting. When left to my own devices I follow the schemas and paradigms I’m used to. An interesting thing I’ve observed is that sometimes my greatest learning comes when I not looking for it. In those moments when my brain is 100% present and focused on something seemingly unrelated I sometimes find a moment of clarity that ties back to other situations in life. This weekend I was able to pick out a handful of fantastic learning experiences that were definitely not intended.

As an example, during Gavin’s game today the opposing goalie had quite the foot on him. When he’d scoop up the ball and punt it there were a couple of times Gavin charged in only to have it bounce in front of him and go right over his head. When this was about to happen the second time I so badly wanted to holler to him “Back up!!!” Thanks to the parent coaching our club and coach has done I but my tongue and grimaced as the same thing happened a second time. Afterwards Coach asked Gavin a question, “where should you go next time he kicks it?” Gavin thought for a moment and motioned backwards. When Gavin was later subbed out I could see Coach walking through it with him again and Gavin was responding and nodding in agreement. When Gavin went back in I held my breath as the goalie punted the ball. Gavin paused for a half a second and then backed up to get in the right position. The next time there wasn’t even a pause before he dropped back.

I’m thinking about the experience I thought of my own tendencies both as a leader and a doer. When leading I am always so tempted to “fix” the situation right in the moment. How many times should I have paused and waited until the right time to coach? When should I ask the question to let my teammates learn more effectively instead of barking directions? When I’m doing something should I pause to ask myself a rhetorical question to help embed the lesson better?

So many ways to peel the onion and so many lessons to take away from one brief moment; especially a moment that is seemingly unrelated to leadership training.


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