We live in a society that is more or less self absorbed. Our main concern is us of course, and in athletics as well as real life, we are typically focused on what we are doing and trying to do it well.
I have a pt client and friend who I have been working with first thing in the morning for a bunch of years now. I love the passion that he exudes – it’s contagious. Here’s a guy who loves movies so much that he will see three to four a week sometimes. But it’s the way he describes his passions that really captures me. He’s been playing a lot of squash lately, and he works with these three British instructors. They mentioned to him that they’d prefer working with an adult like him rather than the teens they often instruct. He asked me why this was the case and I told him that he subconsciously makes those around him better through his own actions. When he describes squash to me, his eyes become huge, he grabs the sides of his head and his face lights up as he proclaims how much he loves it. He mentioned how he always compliments the pros when they hit a great shot – this is a key point.
Another one of my long time pt clients and friend makes me want to be a better trainer. This 71 year old is so energetic and positive and appreciates any creativity I add to his regimen. I certainly don’t need any accolades however his excitement and responsiveness make me want to be better.
Recently, my son had a wiffle ball tournament for his birthday party. I was the designated pitcher and as such got an earful of fourth grade trash talking. On one of the teams was a kid who was striking out often and it got to the point that when he got up, his own team began taunting him with “don’t strike out again!” or “Can we have a designated hitter in his spot?” I paused the game and explained to these kids how these comments affected everyone, trying to get them to see things from the other kid’s shoes.
Speaking of my son, between his games and him watching the European leagues on cable, I’ve been getting an overload of soccer. I was watching a high school game recently between two very good teams. Although there was plenty of communication amongst the players, I rarely see the type of communication that ignites passion and makes those around them want to be a better player.
That’s the point of this article. Each day, every moment that we are around others, we have an opportunity to make those around us better. Next time you are out for a run with your training partner, compliment them, not patronizingly but sincerely. Tell them “man, you are really running well!” or “your form looks relaxed and strong.” I guarantee that this persons running form and pace will instantly get that much better. If you are a leader on a team, imagine how the team will react just by you energetically singling out specific good plays and complimenting that person. Again, the idea is to do so to make those around you better. Coming off a recent training camp, I was able to put the small group through one of the more challenging four day training blocks yet since putting on these camps, mostly due to creating an energy amongst this group that made them want to excel.
Make everyone around you better. A rare few do it subconsciously, yet we can all do it with a bit of thought and thoughtfulness.