“What was the best part of my performance tonight?”
An athlete just recently asked me this question looking for affirmation and my answer stunned him. I said, “Your teammates.”
Some teams if they are lucky enough have a star on their roster, the person who is the best player on the team and it shows. Often, if that star player believes that everyone else isn’t good enough they become self-focused and even though they are shining the team is doing badly.
It’s not easy to get a player to understand the power of becoming a team but I tried my hand at it that night when that athlete was looking for affirmation. I told him that a functioning team is more powerful, and dynamic than an individual star. Then I used the analogy of dynamite.
The star is the spark that we see on the fuse and rightfully so, people are excited to see it because of the expected end. But how underwhelming would it be if by the time the spark reaches around the other sticks it fizzles out? No reaction. No matter how much anticipation the spark garners every time it’s lit, if the consistent result is fizzle before the sticks can get involved, that fuse is useless.
A spark is good but an explosion is massively groundbreaking and noticeable not only by those who are watching but even by those who weren’t paying attention. Take the Golden State Warriors basketball team this year. Stephen Curry is the noticeable star and he impacts his team perfectly and they have exploded out of the gates this year to have the best record in the NBA. Take the Carolina Panthers football team with Cam Newton being the star. Take the New England Patriots football team with Tom Brady being the star.
I told that young athlete who asked me how he performed that “tonight was the first time I saw your TEAMMATES respond to your play (you got them involved) and that is more dynamic and powerful than the FANS responding to your play! Learn how to bottle that and you may have more attention than you even want.”
He got the gist of what I was saying. His focus changed from ‘how can I affect the crowd’s, my family’s or fans reaction to me‘ to ‘how can I impact my team’s reaction to my play.‘