When the University of Connecticut NCAA Women’s Basketball team won the national title this year, their coach, Geno Auriemma had just won his 8th National Championship. A reporter asked how he established the required teamwork that led to these repetitive national championships. He looked at her and simply said,
“I ask the players to think of what they are going to give up for the team and what they are going to stop doing to help the team.”
What a thought provoking response from one of the greatest coaches in the history of women’s basketball. We often think of what we want people to do to add to the organization, to give to the team, to offer to the whole. And, of course, these are critical factors. However, Coach Auriemma challenged us with a different perspective: “What is someone willing to give up for the team – for the organization – and what are they going to stop doing to help the team.” Think about that. In the end, that may be the most important element that someone can do for the overall health of the team.
No matter how much someone gives, provides, donates in terms of time, talents, gifts, and commitment, if there are elements that are less than healthy – even difficult or destructive – no amount of good work or dedication will overcome the negative. It’s an amazing truth, one I would like to believe is not true. However, life has shown me that this is true—no amount of good will outweigh the bad. No amount of positive will overcome the negative.
Ask yourself. What am I willing to give up for the team? What am I going to stop doing to help the team? I have –and will always—ask myself this. I have so much to learn – much to learn. As Frost said, “ I have miles to go before I sleep. Miles to go before I sleep.”