As a high school basketball coach, I certainly value defense. It’s the most important part of the game, in my opinion. A good defense can keep you in a game when your offense is struggling, which it will definitely do from time to time.
As much as I love it, there is a time I’ve found a great defense to be detrimental rather than beneficial - when we play it on ourselves.
And … we’re alarmingly good at being our own lockdown defender.
Why Should We Care?
You know the two most dangerous body parts in our pursuit of excellence?
The butt and the eye.
“But, I …” is typically the first line of defense when we raise our guard. The only thing that proceeds it is the victimhood thought that jumps up at the first sign of subpar performance. It is, afterall, this singular thought that drives all of the upcoming defense mechanisms we will choose to implore.
Of course, it’s not the last line of defense. No, no - far from it. When it comes to defending ourselves, we like to point out a tidal wave of impossible odds that no one, not even you, could overcome. Leaving only one logical conclusion: it wasn’t my fault.
Responsibility averted, we carry on just as we were.
And, therein lies the problem, we’re “just as we were.” No better, no worse. We’re the same.
Too often our defense denies us the opportunity for growth. We are built to protect ourselves, to deflect things that might hurt our pride, and surround ourselves with the comfortable. There’s no growth in that. And, no growth means no excellence.
We must find ways to avoid putting on this armor in order to become the best version of ourselves. Remaining as we are should not be an option.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
I certainly don’t have all the answers to this, or anything else, but I’ll share what has allowed me to fight the urge to defend myself.
I’m a defensive guy on the court. But off it, I’m doing my best to defend as little as possible. Sure some people will give you advice that is off-base and even unwarranted. That’s ok, you are the filter. Take what you want and leave what you don’t. But, whatever you do be sure to invite the feedback that is your lifeblood to growth rather than defending against it.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.