Monday, January 23, 2012

Next Play

Basketball taught me to quickly move on from making  mistakes.  Within the game, there is always the emphasis on the next play. 

Don't dwell.

Don't over think.

Don't let it get to you.

Be confident. 

Be ready to make the next play.

As coaches, we always yell, "next play! Next Play!  NEXT PLAY!"  to shake our players out of their funk and get them moving onto the next moment.  

In high school and college basketball,  I felt like this was easy.  I'm starting to grow unsure of myself, however, when I try to make the real world application.

Today I met with an English department colleague about an action my co-chair and I felt was unprofessional and detrimental to the team's morale.  This conversation did not go well.  My colleague quickly became defensive and argumentative thus preventing any chance of me learning about their perspective or this person listening to our perspective.

The only thing I could do was sift through the tone in search of the root of the behavior and leave her with a brief recap of our observation--that we felt her actions compromised the integrity of our team and we felt her decision was unprofessional. 

I know she heard me based on her reaction.  But did she listen to what was said? 

The script I rehearsed about other ways to handle the issue and to open myself up to be receptive of her perspective went right out the door.

As I debriefed with my co-chair, I could not stop myself from dwelling on the poor outcome.  What did I do wrong?  What could I have done to create a conversation rather than trigger the tirade?    I was ineffective and as a result, I contributed to the negativity beginning to swirl in our department by upsetting my colleague. 

I made a mistake.  But why can't I disengage and move on like I was always able to do in the game of basketball? 

I started watching the Syracuse/Cincinnati game and remembered how fast the game moved.  For every missed shot, foul, turnover, or blown assignment, that player was immediately thrust into another situation.  Another opportunity to be successful came within the next second.  Literally.

The school day ended  and now I have all this time to dwell on the day and my mistakes.   My next play my not come for another day, week, or month.  I don't have practice to go to tomorrow to work out the decision.  I don't have a coach breaking down film with me.  I just have me and my reflection. 

How will I know if I will be ready next time? 

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