This last week included a grand total of seven soccer games for the Kreiling family. Dominic had three varsity games and Gavin had four games in Madison. All soccer, all weekend.
For sure, I had a great time watching them both play. It’s always fun watching my boys doing something they are passionate about.
What I’m specifically grateful for today is the way sports helps them learn to be better leaders and adults. Throughout both of their games they did some things with extreme excellence and they both made mistakes. Regardless of the action, they learned and grew from the experience.
Both learned some priceless and timeless leadership lessons I hope they draw from throughout their lives.
For sure, sports won’t be their careers. That said, their sports experiences are helping them grow and mature into the leaders they can be. Seeing glimpses of that growth over the past week have been awesome!!
A little before noon today my mind was going a million miles a minute. I had an excellent conversation with another franchisee and there were so many thoughts rushing through my brain. Couple them with the insights and ideas from the last week and my brain was positively spinning.
I paused. I set my pen down and closed my laptop. I took a slow and deep breath… and then I went for a walk.
No music, no podcast, no audio book. Just me walking on a perfectly sunny day with no sense of direction or purpose other than letting my brain work everything out with no distractions.
Forty five minutes later I got back home, jotted down my notes, and was ready to start taking action.
What wonders a walk can do for the thought process!
Simple concept, deep gratitude, and years of future practice before I master it.
Several events reminded me today that I have time. Until I’m dead I will have time. At the time of my death time won’t matter to me anyways. I know my time is limited, but I have time until I no longer have use for it.
How often do I tell myself, “I don’t have time for that”? What a lie I tell myself. Yes, I do in fact have time. What I also have are other options of how to spend my time. What’s really happening is that I am choosing how to spend my time and I am deeming that task not worthy.
I am not unable to do something, I am making a choice.
Today I’m grateful for the piece of mind and enlightenment that come with realizing each moment, each second, is a choice I must make. Am I choosing well? How can I choose better more frequently? Until I am aware of the choice to be made I am unable to grow and close the gap between who I am and who I am called to be.
There’s a scene in Men in Black burned into my brain that surfaces every so often. Near the beginning of movie Will Smith and a few other candidates are given a battery of tests. One of those challenges is taking a test in an ornately awkward room.
The chairs are too small and uncomfortable. There are no good writing surfaces for each person. The paper for the test is flimsy and easily penetrated by the pencil. The pencils break. It is one of the worst test taking environments ever.
After suffering a few seconds Will Smith’s character notices a table in the room away from everyone. He casually stands up and slides it across the room to his chair and proceeds to take the test in relative comfort while everyone else squirms.
Often times in life I find myself being held hostage by my own learned helplessness. I am the elephant tied to a stake I could easily rip out if it weren’t for memories of it holding me back when I was an infant. There is nothing getting in my way but my own dogmatic mental constructs.
When I remember to take a step back, to pause, to zoom out, the conclusion is so easy to see. It is so simple once I see it that I laugh out loud at myself afterwards.
Today I remembered to step back. I saw the table and moved it. Problem solved.
Truth be told, I’m a Green Bay Packers fan. It’s best to start there as you may question that by the title of today’s post.
Sports can be a very public microcosm of real life and there’ve been several wonderful anti-leadership lessons taught by Aaron Rodgers. My boys and I talk of them often and I’m finding that they are learning much of what to do as a leader simply by seeing Aaron do the exact opposite.
Here are a few anti-leadership lessons we’ve had:
If you’re frustrated, blame everyone else.
Rather than attack a problem head on be passive aggressive.
Why practice after you’ve already proven that you’re the greatest?
There’s no reason to thank any member of the medical team, they should be thanking you for the opportunity to work on you.
After being given grace the best thing I can do is rip them apart publicly immediately afterwards.
When I’m benched and have put my team behind the best thing I can do is sit on the bench and laugh.
If someone questions why we lost the appropriate answer is to blame my teammates.
I’m each of these moments, and so many others, are mini lessons in leadership to be seated into my brain.
Yesterday’s game was ugly, almost as ugly as Rodgers’ leadership style is toxic. Thanks for reminding me why strong and right leadership is always the right answer Aaron!
I recently watched an intriguing podcast on racism, action, and how to actually make a difference. The speaker did an excellent job of explaining the differences between being “called out,” “called on,” and “called in.”
Call outs are straightforward and don’t often get a positive reaction. The person being called out usually digs their heels in deeper rather than change.
Being called on is similar to being called out, but in a way in which you share your positive views of the individual and ask them to help reconcile the difference you’re seeing in what they’ve expressed.
Being called in is to invite another into the conversation. There is no judgment, only curiosity in learning where the person is coming from. Thus starts a conversation and dialogue allowing us to hear the other person. Essentially it is the concept of “seek first to understand.”
Today I was called in to a conversation. The experience was wildly positive and helps me see how calling in can really make a difference. Prior to this call in I would have just put out my hands to stop the conversation, but this time was very different. Rather than feeling the need to go on the defensive I felt honored. What a huge difference in attitudes in me specifically because of how a conversation was started?
My drive to Eau Claire was crazy foggy this morning! There were times when I would go from driving through a cloud to rising above the clouds and seeing islands of bluffs peeking out to back down into the clouds. Crazy!
After listening to my audiobook for a while I paused and listened to The Woods by Hollow Coves. While the song played my mind went to our backpacking trip to the Porcupine Mountains this past Spring. I remembered the last day of our hike specifically.
The cold river crossing early in the morning.
The rocky, gray, and quiet forest transforming into a lush green forest seemingly out of nowhere.
As the pieces come together on my writing I’m continually grateful for this journey. Losing Dad was the most difficult time of my life to date. The pain can still be raw at times. I often wish for an opportunity to have a few more minutes with him, another conversation, or another hug. The sense of loss will never leave my soul.
What’s interesting is that the more I write the more my thoughts shift from loss to gratitude for the time I had with Dad. So many wonderful moments, memories, and experiences with him. I am so fortunate to have had Dad in my life.
The more I write the more memories come back. The more I write those memories down the more memories that also rise up to the surface. And so it goes.
In many ways this journey has brought me closer to Dad. I’m seeing more clearly the impact he’s had on my life and the legacy I hope to leave my boys. As I write I’m seeing the good and the bad, what I’d love to grow into and the gaps I need to cross.
All the while I know Dad is with me in this journey. I can feel him supporting and guiding me. We do this together. It isn’t my story I am writing, it is our story we’re writing. Each step is a smile, a discovery, a lesson, and a moment I’m grateful for.
Sometimes the simplicity of family time is so easily overlooked. At times during 2020 it felt as if all we did was spend time together as a family. Over the past month or two we’ve seemingly all been everywhere except with each other and without an agenda.
Tonight was the first time in a while that we all spent time together. We scattered a bit during the day as we all had stuff going on, but then rallied to head off to church early to be greeters. This gave us time in the car, time in the entrance of church – the low side without many people, and then on the way home. The boys did dishes on and off while I made pizzas and Becky took care of other stuff around the house. We ate as a family. We chilled on the couch and watched a movie and a half. We talked, joked around, and had a rest time together.
Pizza and movie night – such a common weekend activity last year, an awesome and appreciated treat now.
For the third time today I can’t help but chuckle as I remember that it can be so difficult to be thankful and appreciative for something until it is gone. There are so many things in life I’ve taken for granted and have only noticed once they were removed. The appreciation is so much easier afterwards as I can start to more fully grasp the impact that was made by it.
The first day of school is one of those things. When I was cruising back through some old pictures I came across many first day of school pictures until I got to 2020. There weren’t any. I paused and asked Becky if I was looking in the right place. She reminded me that they were non-existent as they were schooling online. Crazy! How quickly I forget. Then I paused and remembered just how special these first day of school pics are.
Each year this is a day when there is almost guaranteed to be a photo of both the boys side by side. Just like the rings in the tree we can se the growth of the boys by looking back through the old first day of school pics. For instance, here’s 2015 on the left and 2021 on the right:
The way these boys have grown blows my mind! It is difficult for me to grasp just how quickly they’ve grown in such a short period of time.
What made these year even crazier was their ride to school. No bus for these boys for their first day. They loaded up into their car and Dominic drove them to school. Peace out school bus, hello freedom through personal transportation!
I’m thankful for getting back into the habit of the first day of school pics even though I’m suddenly feeling way older than I did when I woke up today 😉