Daily Short-hOPT: Rewarding Sacrifice

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.” – Napoleon Hill

One of the most difficult challenges we face as coaches is turning the me guy into a we guy. The challenge becomes incredibly more substantial when the aforementioned me guy is one of our better players. We all want a team full of players that strive toward a shared and united vision.

Throughout my coaching career and even during my playing career, I have coached or played with a variety of players who were only in it for themselves. These people are easy to spot.

In baseball, the most common questions from these players comes in the form of, Was that a hit or an error? or What is my batting average? or Am I starting today? They are also the ones complaining when they make outs, slamming helmets when they didn’t get a hit (even if the AB was productive), and generally having their mood determined by that day’s performance.

I recently read about a unique yet extremely effective strategy to challenge others in a team or group environment to become more cognizant of people who are we first over me first. The concept might go a long way to helping shift the focus of your players from themselves to everyone else. The idea comes from a motivational speaker, John Brubaker a.k.a. Coach Bru***, who develops success strategies for individual and team performance. Here is what he did.

Coach Bru starts with the premise of that which gets rewarded gets repeated and then places the power in the hands of the people within the organization. Everyone within the organization or on the team is provided a poker chip.

The goal becomes this: (1) to catch someone doing something right, (2) to give that person your poker chip, and (3) while doing so, to look them directly in the eye and give them the positive feedback as to why they earned your chip.

Coach Bru provides only one chip because once we give ours away, we now strive to go above and beyond to receive one from someone else.

This concept is fascinating to me. Instead of focusing on our self, we start to look for the positive things in others to encourage, recognize, and promote. We start to positively reinforce instead of criticize. Coach Bru has essentially taught us to retrain our eyes to see people doing right, instead of always looking for those doing wrong. Over time, this process can help transform the me to we and really build a culture of great sacrifice, instead of one burdened by selfishness.

Today, the challenge is two-fold. First, retrain your eyes to see the good in others and seek to reward them with praise and gratitude (in words and deeds) for the sacrifices they make either on your behalf or for the benefit of others. Second, start serving and sacrificing for others. While seeking a reward is not the aim, seek to live your life in such a way that you could proudly earn “the chip” of another.

If we can get our teams, organizations, families, etc. to think in terms of WE and doing our best on a daily basis, the results, rewards, wins, etc. will take care of themselves.

Bring your best today!

Love, Noah

***For more information on and from Coach Bru, you can follow him Twitter @coachbru and visit his website, http://www.coachbru.com, to check out his books and sign up for his fantastic newsletter. Also, contact Coach Bru to find out how to involve him in bringing the “poker chip” philosophy to your school or organization. Thanks for the inspiration, Coach!


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