What truly matters?
“Because I understand what truly matters, I get to enjoy what seems to matter.”
I cannot remember when I first heard the quote, but whenever it was, I wished I heard it years earlier.
I recall it was a coach in the US, post-game, responding to questions from media. His team had just won its way into an historic college basketball championship game, and he was being pressed to elevate the significance of the occasion.
His answer went something like “Because I understand what truly matters, I get to enjoy what seems to matter.”
He then explained that as the coach, he had seen wonderful personal development in the young men in his team. He didn’t need to say any more.
But yes, he would enjoy this moment.
Sport for most is a ‘heroes and villains’ business, and to the victor go the spoils. But this narrative often ignores what counts most, the “what truly matters”.
This coach was clear on “what truly matters” and he had seen progress in ways that few sitting in judgement could observe or understand, nor had an appetite for. I say this not out of disrespect for those tasked with questioning the coach, I am articulating the difference in “what truly matters”, and “what seems to matter” dependent on where you sit within the microcosm of this sporting system.
Perhaps the coach was also reminding those who communicate the game to the world, earning a living from the sport, to move beyond the shallow observations from the game itself, and not define its value by scoreboards past and present… even just for a few minutes.
You rarely see this from coaches, and when you do, it is mainly from those with plenty of silverware in the trophy cabinet, such that it affords them enough scope and space to give us a deeper insight, and it is priceless.
Great examples of this are NBA coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich, who try to rise above the banter, noise, and banality. A few hours well spent is listening to either talk beyond the game, even though basketball is the context of their conversation and learning.
“I wish I could tell you it gets better, but it doesn’t get better, you get better.”
– Joan Rivers
Fortunately, there is plenty of coaching stuff available on YouTube and podcasts, a veritable rabbit warren of insight.
An example is Dr Michael Gervais’ conversation with Steve Kerr in his outstanding ‘Finding Mastery’ podcast.
In this conversation, it is clear that Steve Kerr understands winning, but he’s searching for something beyond that.
PS. Have your Moleskine notebook handy.
…and a timeless song lyric:
I am…I said – Neil Diamond
Hot August Night
But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I’ve tried
But it won’t let me go
And I’m not a man who likes to swear
But I never cared
For the sound of being alone
“I am”… I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair
“I am”… I cried
“I am”… said I
And I am lost and I can’t
Even say why
CEO & Founder
Leaders are in the ambiguity business. If we are not doing ambiguity, we are not doing leadership.read more
Leadership finds you wherever you are now but never leaves you where it found you.read more
I have no doubt it was these setbacks, personally challenging and heartbreaking at the time, that created the path to the work I now do.read more
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