I have been working for the past year with a collegiate team with realistic aspirations of winning an NCAA championship. They have been an amazing group of athletes who have struggled through challenges, stayed committed to their goals, and stayed united as a team. It has been a privilege to be a part of the team.
Their NCAA championship begins soon and I wanted to share with them some final words in an email. I thought that what I had to say might be of interest and stimulate some discussion.
I’m sitting in front of my computer trying come up with one last nugget of inspiration or one last tool I can give you that will propel you toward your goals this week. But, after many years of working with athletes and teams, I know too well that, at this point, there isn’t much I can say or do to help you.
Instead, I will get a bit philosophical and share with you three questions and three wishes that have meaning to me in my work and life and may resonate with you.
One of my daughters’ favorite authors is John J. Muth, who writes stories that have a Buddhist bent to them. One of those books is titled, The Three Questions. In the story, a young boy asks 3 questions to his friends, a dog, a bird, and a monkey:
- When is the best time to do things?
- Who is the most important one?
- What is the most important thing to do?
His friends’ answers don’t satisfy him, so he seeks out the counsel of a wise old turtle. The turtle, however, won’t give the boy the answers to his three questions. During the boy’s visit with the turtle, a number of events occur from which he finds for himself the answers to his three questions:
- There is only one important time, and that time is now.
- The most important one is always the one you are with.
- And the most important thing to do is the very best you can for the one you are with.
I could have reflected back on all you have been through this year, all of your hard work, and the way you have come together as a team to get to this point. But the past is behind us and we can’t do anything about it. I have chosen instead to focus on the future and, specifically, what I wish for you this coming week.
- As you walk onto the field of play, to say to yourself and your teammates, “We are as prepared as we can be to achieve our goals.”
- When you are competing, to fight, fight, fight to the very end.
- When you walk off the field of play, to say “I have no regrets because I left everything I had out there.”
One important thing that I hope you will notice about my wishes is that they are not flights of fancy, but rather all are within your control. If you can make these wishes come true, you will experience success this week no matter what the outcome.
My very best to you all!