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Basketball team
At each and every timeout, our son is the first one off the bench, to cheer his peers on. He's engaged. He's focused on winning. He works on his game. He talks to his teammates. He wants them to be great. He wants to win. Good leadership often starts with being a great teammate.

Leadership: What Is Your Mission?

If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we can all agree we learn more in failure, than we do in triumph.

I love my kid.

People are most likely willing to cheer for you, if you are willing to cheer for them.

Shocking, I know.

I love all of my kids, but this is about just one of them.

For as long as his mother or I can remember, he has wanted to play basketball at the highest level - whatever level that is.

In looking at the various levels he’s played, I will start at the end, then work backward, illustrating leadership points along the way, in the hopes that you’ll appreciate the information and incorporate these ideas in your own lives.

Jason made his varsity basketball team. He had two other times tried out for this same team, and failed to make it until that third time.

When he finally made the team, we were thrilled for him.

When I asked him why he wanted to be on the team, he said, "Dad, I saw a kid with one of the cool jackets that only players on the team get ... and I said to myself, 'I want that jacket!'"

Let’s begin our leadership training development right there:

Tip 1: Set a Goal, Visualize It, Be Determined

Prov. 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, people perish”

Don’t just visualize your success in the immediate but see what your success looks like in the future. Don’t just see yourself moving into a nice apartment, but see yourself owning a home. Don’t just settle for a high hourly wage, but see yourself as a salaried employee. Don’t be satisfied with one stream of income, but explore multiple streams of wealth.

Set a goal, see it with your mind’s eye, pray on it to come to pass and be determined to reach it.

Now here's the best part of the story: He doesn't start.

He's not the sixth man off the bench, or even the seventh or eighth man.

Actually, most games he doesn't play.

When he plays, it's only for a few minutes.

And he couldn't be happier.

Tip 2: Define Your Success. Don't Let Anyone Else Do It For You.

You – and maybe a close friend, family, certainly God – define what success looks like, feels like.

Success for our son was to be a part of a team, to work hard in practice to develop his skill set, to get that ltterman jacket.

Everything on top of that is gravy!

When I was a worship leader at my old church, and had to lead a brand-new praise team for a brand new third service, I had to define for myself what success looks like. From the first Sunday that we ministered, I prayed on the following goals:

  • to be musically prepared
  • to execute the songs as we rehearsed/expected to
  • to engage/encourage/embrace the move of the Holy Spirit to create an atmosphere of praise and worship
  • to be a catalyst for individual and corporate worship experiences

As we grew and got better, the goals did not really change. That’s how you know you’ve defined success accurately.

The parts may flex and change, but the mission stays the same.

What is your mission?

Tip 3: Can You Be A Good Teammate, And A Good Leader?

At each and every timeout, our son is the first one off the bench, to cheer his peers on. He's engaged. He's focused on winning. He works on his game. He talks to his teammates. He wants them to be great. He wants to win. Good leadership often starts with being a great teammate.

My kid rides the bench. More importantly, can you love the mission and/or love your team enough to be as invested in their success as your own?

People are most likely willing to cheer for you, if you are willing to cheer for them. That makes you a good teammate.

Tip 4: Success and Failure Can Work To Your Benefit

Rom 8:28: “God causes or allows good and bad things to work together for those that love God and are called according to His purpose”

If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we can all agree we learn more in failure, than we do in triumph.

I think that’s why God allows and works both in concert for our benefit.

Consequentially, be honest with yourself and your team, about decisions you’ve made that did not work, that were not successful. Your team will appreciate your honesty, and will likely be willing to assist you in developing a plan B.

His old coach contacted me about naming an award that has been established for the founder of the program, the Jason Byrd Coach Award.

They are naming a trophy after my kid.

By my unofficial estimates, here are my kid's stats from last year:

 He scored less than 10 points, over a stretch of more than 20 games during the season.

 Several games he was dressed to play, but didn't play

 He probably took fewer than 10 shots. All year.

But this kid is having a trophy named after him, because of the impression he made on his envirnoment.

Here's what his coach emailed me, "Charlie and I have been talking all year about the awards we gave out last year. With Jason being on the team last year, he gave the both of us a different perspective on coaching. He was a joy to coach, great teammate, very coachable, always thanking the both of us after practice or games and well-liked by everyone on the team. Never had problem with him and he was always pushing his teammates in practice and games. Jason just left such an impression on the both of us, that we wanted some way to recognize that each year."

Tip 5: Impact The Environment

Live every day like everyone is watching.

Look for ways to encourage one another.

Do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do, not because you want a reward.

 Let's live like our name is on a trophy. What does that trophy represent?

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