One of my favorite things about coaching is the endless opportunities it holds to incorporate life lessons into the teaching.
I just returned from Hawaii where I was helping run a basketball camp. I was with a terrific group of coaches, and we had a gym full of enthusiastic campers. I missed out on the camp life last Summer, so it was especially fun to be a part of this. It didn’t hurt being on Maui either!
My whole family came with me, so I wouldn’t exactly call it a vacation. Between the travel/jet-lag, camp, and chasing my boys around the beach, I was exhausted. But the entire trip was a blessing and an absolute blast.
As we flew back home to Illinois, I took time to reflect on the week. Similarly to identifying all of the learning opportunities that basketball provides, I discovered that a little reflection can expose many meaningful messages. Here are some that stood out through our travels and time there…
– Adventure over vacation: Vacations are great, but adventures are more memorable. Traveling with 3 kids under 5 isn’t vacation; it’s a trip. Theresa and I didn’t expect to replicate our honeymoon in Maui from 12 years ago. This wasn’t relaxing, but it was meaningful. Kids seem to raise the stakes on everything. More tiring and also more fun. The mountains seemed bigger and the ocean wider when I got down to their level to look out. Bring on more adventure.
– Purpose over comfort: Focus on serving, not being entertained. The purpose of the trip was to pour into the campers. It’s what allowed us to go. Of course we went to the beach (and jumped off cliffs) and ate great food, but it turns out that working with those kids and making new friendships was one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip. .
– Together over solo: Involve my family as much as possible. Bring them to the gym. Have them meet the people with whom I work. This trip could’ve been far more relaxing done other ways, but I doubt I would’ve enjoyed it as much. I tell them repeatedly, “There’s no one in the world I’d rather do this with.”
– Relationships are everything: Who you’re with is more important than where you’re at. Inside a gym, it wouldn’t matter whether I was on Maui or in the Midwest. The camp was a blast, and I learned a ton because of the other guys I was working alongside. This trip was only possible because of a relationship I made with a guy I played against 5 years ago. We connected over our shared faith in Jesus — Appreciate the opportunity, Josh!
– People that make me better are invaluable: Invest heavily in those relationships. I was surrounded by men who were passionate about helping others. I couldn’t help but to be motivated to be better and show up with great energy.
– Be a person that inspires: Seek out ways to lift up others. Note the confidence I take on because of the people I’m with. Be that person to others.
– Discipline early: New experiences and new environments need extra intention. Over-communicate and set the tone from the start (especially with our young kids). Thanks for helping me with this, Theresa!
– Keep the life-giving routines: Don’t stop what makes you better just because you’re out of routine. What’s most important for me is prayer, reading, working out, and eating healthy. I’m tempted to get lax on these things while I’m away from what’s normal. Don’t worry about it being perfect. Stay consistent, and you’ll benefit.
– Connect with Theresa: Never sacrifice this. She desires connection as much as anything and our marriage thrives with it. I need it more than I realize. Make time to make this happen no matter what’s going on.
– Enthusiasm is contagious: Initiate conversations. Initiate handshakes. Have positive body language. Smile, and use your voice. It liberates others — in a gym, in the office, on the airplane — to open up and get involved.
– Value different cultures: Every culture is unique. Every culture does things I can appreciate, respect and enjoy. Hawaiians were no different. Their servant hearts were welcoming and made you feel valued. The Hawaiian ice, poke, kalua pork, and acai bowls weren’t bad either.
I’m going to make this a regular practice — taking a moment to reflect on life from a different perspective. What am I learning and what are the lessons from what is happening? Try it out!