It's Not About You
Contrary to our intuition, others don’t see the world the same way that we do. They have different experiences that have formed different beliefs. This is as it should be.
Also contrary to our intuition, others don’t need to agree with us. Differing opinions provide different perspectives. This variety is the strength of the team, not a weakness.
However, in order to appreciate this mindset, we have to remember the most important rule for any team: It’s not about you.
If it’s about you, then it can’t be about the team.
If it’s about the team, then it can’t be about you.
Why Should We Care?
Accepting, that’s right accepting, a position on a team is a significant decision one should give serious consideration. And, most don’t.
By agreeing to become a member of a team, we are agreeing to surrender ourselves to the team. You can have goals, the team’s just have to be more important.
The same applies to the ego. Our ego must be secondary to that of the team also. Elite teams have a collective confidence, belief that precedes them. It is driven by the individual egos on the team, but is collectively much greater than the sum of the individual parts.
In a 1994 playoff game versus the New York Knicks, all-star Chicago Bulls player Scottie Pippen refused to go into the game when Coach Phil Jackson drew up the final, game-winning play, for Toni Kukoc instead of Pippen. Kukoc made the shot to win the game and Pippen went directly to the locker room rather than celebrating with his team. Clearly, in Pippen’s mind, it was about him, not the team - at least in that moment.
Jackson, a hall of fame coach, handled it exactly as you would expect. He left Pippen on the bench. We should take note and do the same with team members prioritizing themselves over the team.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Clear situations like the one above aren’t as difficult to identify and respond to as some of the less egregious acts are. Below are a few ways to identify teammates that might think it is, in fact, about them.
The realization that when you’re on a team, nothing is about you is a humbling one. Consider it practice for other important aspects of your life that will require a similar type of surrendering. Your friends, your family, and your faith to name a few.
For more information on building excellence in your teams, visit us at www.bluecollargrit.com.
We would love to know how we could help!
I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.