Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Having owned my own business for the past 20 years, I am seldom told what to do or how to do my job. This can be a very gratifying aspect of being your own boss. However, this also means that when you make business decisions that fail, the only one to blame is yourself. I have expressed to so many over the years that my success is not due to decisions I have made correctly, but more often learning from the ones I made incorrectly. Raising two young girls, I often share lessons I have learned from making both good and bad choices. I convey to them that life can be a cruel teacher; she gives us the test first and the lessons come later. If I can shield my daughters from making some of the same mistakes I have made, then I have succeeded in turning a negative into a positive. Regardless, we will all still make our own mistakes no matter how hard we try not to.

A slice of Sweet Humble Pie

This brings me to last week. In my spare time, I volunteer as both a head coach and commissioner in my daughter’s softball league. It has been one of my greatest pleasures to not only coach her team(s), but to also be able to work with other young kids and their parents who also volunteer their time. I have found what is most satisfying about doing this is that we all seem to be the best versions of ourselves when we are around our kids. It is such a pleasure to see the side of people that their children look up to.

Now, if you are a parent who coaches or has a child who plays in competitive sports, you have likely seen a few parents display some eye rolling behavior. Last week, while coaching my daughters game, I was that exact parent. I displayed behavior that was not only unbecoming of a parent, but also as a head coach and acting league commissioner. Now, I won’t go into specifics, but what I will say is that it involved poor communication and a lapse in judgment. The language I used was nothing a child hasn’t heard from a Disney film, but inappropriate none the less.

This action set into motion several reactions that ultimately lead to my being on the receiving end of a one game (deserved) suspension.

So what are the lessons am I reminded of from this and how can I convey them to my children (and you)?

1. Control Your Emotions: Don’t ever allow your personal feeling towards another person to cloud your judgment. Doing so, your response will come from a place that is steeped in negativity that will not yield a positive outcome.
2. Be Kind: No matter the disagreement, always be respectful to one another. Talking down or disrespectfully to another person only confuses the true purpose of the disagreement.
3. Be Accountable: When you are wrong, the hardest thing to do is admit it. We all make mistakes. Owning up to your mistakes will strengthen your character and allow for self-reflection and growth.

The incident last week, was not my proudest moment as a husband, father or coach, however, the way in which I handled the aftermath of this is something I can hold my head high about and use as a teachable moment for myself, my children and my players. As it is said, “Good judgment comes from experience and often, experience come from bad judgment.”

I have grown from this experience and I know my girls learned an important lesson. At a time when our country is divided so bitterly, our children need to continue to see the best of us. I hope this message can serve as a reminder to you before you allow emotion to cloud your judgment.