I have been thinking about a meeting that I will have with my principal and the Executive Director in the morning. We are going to start a conversation around staff morale — which has been noticeably low of late — and how best to address it for the remainder of the semester and into the following school year. The topic has been on my mind since we scheduled the meeting last Thursday, but I still need to do some paperwork prep for it, too.
Anyway, I watched almost all of the NFC championship game today, with the exception of overtime. By the time I stopped watching (because of an employee appreciation dinner for Husband’s work), the score was tied at 17-17. In my heart I knew that it was unlikely the 49ers would pull off the win because the momentum just hadn’t been in their favor for most of the second half. But it got me thinking a bit about Jim Harbaugh and all that he has accomplished with this team in his rookie season as an NFL coach — taking a team to 3 points shy of a Super Bowl trip ain’t too shabby. Sure he wears his heart on his sleeve — and some may find that obnoxious — but his players feel his heart and his love for them and the game. Who wasn’t moved by Vernon Davis scoring the game-winning touchdown last week and collapsing into his coach’s arms while crying in triumph and relief? I don’t think every person who has ever played a sport has had that kind of relationship with his or her coach. Jim Harbaugh believes in his team, believes they are good and will work hard to be better, believes that he has the ability to lead them. In turn, his players respond.
Last week at my 6am Crossfit class, there were only two people completing the workout — a grueling one called “Chelsea” in which the athlete is expected to perform 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats on the minute. Every minute. For 30 minutes. I had scaled it back for them to a 3-6-9 rep scheme, which allowed them anywhere from 15-25 seconds of rest per minute depending on how fast they were moving. The woman in the class made it through about 15 rounds before she said she was finished. I said, “No, you’re not. Rest for 2 minutes and jump back in.” And you know what? She did come back for another 6 or 7 rounds. The man in the class not only completed every single round, but when I called out last minute, he smiled and said, “Full round this time.” So here he was, exhausted, legs and shoulders on fire, and he was smiling and giving himself an extra challenge. I did the last round with him, and when it was over he was grinning like an idiot — as was I because I was so excited for and proud of him –and we did the super high-ten. I know that this is why I love athletics and sports in general, because there are few things more satisfying than watching people do more than they thought they ever could and push beyond physical and/or mental limits. Whatever I had been saying to him throughout the workout (“you’re going strong”/”make every rep count”/”your goal is 30 seconds per round”/etc) kept him motivated, and he knew that I knew he was going to be successful.
I will have these thoughts in mind tomorrow during my meeting. And I’ll be asking them (and myself) this question: How much do you believe in your team? Whether your team is your family, your spouse, your players, your staff, whomever… how much do you believe in them? And how much do they know that you believe in them? Because there’s no telling how much people can do and how hard they will push themselves when they can trust that their leaders are behind them 100%.