Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Team YOU.

I’m not sure if it happens to everyone, but I am at a point in my life where I’ve decided I need to cut some people from my “team.” We all have people in our lives that make our “team” and I think we’ve allowed some players to participate along the way who are not up to snuff.scoreboard

Growing up, I often heard the phrase “Life is a rat race.” It was often followed by, “…and the rats are winning.” Over the course of my life, I’ve come to view life more as a game, than a race, because this thing called “life” is not exactly a solitary run (even if you’re a loner, there are people everywhere, my friend). It is also happens to be a game where you often don’t figure out the strategy of it all until half-time and even then, not usually until after the entertainment portion has quieted down. At some point, most often during the mid-point of this game (when you’re exhausted and trying to catch your breath), you might start to really look around the field and see who is surrounding you and who is actively participating and who is just taking up space, time and energy in left field. You start to truly assess which team members are giving their all and which aren’t giving a hoot and a half, they’re just there to collect what they perceive as their due in your game.

It is in this moment that you have to ask yourself: If every national athletic franchise will cut a less than average player from their team, why do we allow them to take up space on ours?

As one who has come to live by the attitude that “I don’t know the expiration date on my milk carton,” I now understand that my team needs to have the best possible players, if I’m going to come out on top (or as close as I could get), when the clock counts down to the final seconds of the game.

Years of therapy might have helped me come to this conclusion years ago, back when I could have made a profit, lived in a nicer house or drove a better car – but it isn’t about that anymore (well, actually – it never was). For me, this is all about having the people in the faraway seats say, “Wow. Win or lose, that was an amazing game.”

So, to that end – you and I really should pick the people for our team (and release the bad members from their contracts) by the rules of the Ten Qualities for an Effective Team Player (by Marty Brounstein’s “Managing Teams for Dummies”). Pinky Swear with me, that from this day forward, a player must meet the following ten points. Repeat after me, A Good Team Member…”:

1. Demonstrates Reliability – If you’re going to have someone in your life, consistency is key. You have to be able to count on them. Otherwise, why waste precious game minutes on them?
2. Communicates Constructively – People do an awful lot of talking, taking up an awful lot of time, on the sidelines and in the game. Shouldn’t they be using their words in a constructive manner? Let’s look at the playreel and see what that means: Communication means to express thoughts clearly, directly, honestly and with respect for others, for the benefit of the team. Otherwise, in the penalty box they go, for some much needed (for you) quiet time-out.
3. Listens Actively – Even in a game, a good team member should absorb, understand and consider the points of view of others without arguing every point. Surely, you deserve that in your LIFE (the real one, not the board game).
4. Functions as an Active Participant – basically what that means is suit up, show up and be fully engaged. It’s that easy. But, there are those resistant. Do NOT sign them.
5. Shares Openly and Willingly – and I don’t mean their off-field shenanigans. Excalibur team players share their information, knowledge and experience. It’s for the good of everyone if they do.
6. Cooperates and Pitches in to Help – Simply stated, “In the catbox of life, everyone scoops.” (- T. Katz)
7. Exhibits Flexibility – Crap happens (see catbox reference). You want people in your corner who can roll with the punches, compromise and move forward… not wallow and babble about what coulda/woulda/shoulda been.
8. Shows Commitment to the Team – A real team player wants to do what’s best for everyone, which means you, too. They are after all, on “Team YOU” no?
9. Works as a Problem Solver – There will be problems and therefore you’re going to want problem solvers on your side, not problem bring-it-up-again-repeatedly people. You want action plan, solution, let’s-see-how-to-fix/change/avoid-the-same-issue people. That is an awesome quality in a team member.
10. Treats Others in a Respectful and Supportive Manner – Okay. For this, I’m going to quote Mr. Brounstein directly, “Team players treat fellow team members with courtesy and consideration — not just some of the time but consistently. In addition, they show understanding and the appropriate support of other team members to help get the job done. They don’t place conditions on when they’ll provide assistance, when they’ll choose to listen, and when they’ll share information. Good team players also have a sense of humor and know how to have fun (and all teams can use a bit of both), but they don’t have fun at someone else’s expense.”

Honestly, if you followed only #10… I’d like to think the other nine would fall into place naturally.

Alrighty then! This is the part of the huddle where I smack you on the back, tell you to get back in the game and “Go, Team You!!” Drop me a line sometime giving me the highlights… and share who made your MVP list.

xo – t.

You have to elarn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” ~ Albert Einstein

Every day is a new opportunity. You an build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” ~ Bob Feller

The man who has no problems is out of the game.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

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