- Leadership isn’t singular. No one leads alone, Krzyzewski says. When he was building the team that won gold at the Beijing Olympics, he relied on Lebron James, Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant as the team’s “internal leaders.” They had tremendous sway on the rest of the team. “If they said it, it’s pretty much going to go,” he says.
- Soaring egos need a higher purpose. Talented players often have outsized egos. It’s not Krzyzewski’s style to break them down, but he has to keep ego from blocking improvement. To get them working as a team, Krzyzewski first meets with each player individually, lays out what he expects from him and instills in each a common purpose. Fellow panelist Pete Carroll, head football coach at the University of Southern California, said it best: No matter how huge the ego is, a star player needs to feel he is part of something bigger than himself. “You have to look every one of them in the eye, respect that they’re unique and figure out where they’re coming from,” Carroll said. “You have to give of yourself to figure them out.”
- Great players learn best from each other. When Krzyzewski met with Lebron James before training for the Olympics began, James told him that he wanted to learn the secret of Jason Kidd’s excellent passing, and how Kobe Bryant, whom he considered the best player in the sport, prepared off court. James forged close relationships with both men and has become a better player because of it, Krzyzewski says. The trick for the coach, he said, is to create an environment in which the players learn from each other without having to expose vulnerabilities. “The guys who are really good in our sport don’t want to show weakness,” he said.
- Love them after they leave you. College players, like rising young executives, will move on. Fulfill your commitment to them by maintaining your ties, Krzyzewski advises. His players have gone on to play in the NBA, to coach at influential colleges or to new endeavors. “We maintain a relationship of being a friend and part of their family for the rest of their lives,” he says. It’s a form of networking that he finds particularly rewarding. He suggests looking for ways to make it easy for former protégés to ask for help without losing face.
– Mark Twain
For years, I’ve sifted through the existing literature on discovering, uncovering, or creating your life mission, trying things out in my life and wondering why I wasn’t as fulfilled as I believed possible. However, along the way, I’ve made four critical distinctions that have led me to explore deeper levels of meaning, purpose, and satisfaction.
Many people already know what their gifts are – those things in your life that come naturally to you, without any undue personal effort or struggle. However, in a society which places a premium on hard work, it’s easy to overlook and underestimate the value of what you were “born with”. A good way of identifying your gifts is to think of those skills, abilities, or personality traits you exhibit which are so much a part of that you can’t remember learning them and can’t imagine not having them. If you’re still not sure, grit your teeth, ask those people closest to you, and if you’re like most of us, prepare to be embarrassed!
In the old days, it was the most natural thing in the world to hear someone talk about being “called to the priesthood” or “called to be a doctor”. (As with reincarnation, where no-one ever seems to recall a past life where they were “third guy on the left in ancient Egypt”, people never seem to talk about being “called to be a garbage collector”, but I’m sure it happens!) Your calling is what you are continually drawn to, no matter how impractical or impossible it seems to “make a living at it”. In the same way as you choose your work, your calling chooses you, and for many people it is difficult to remember a time when they did not want to do something related to their calling, even if they never have (yet!).
There is a great deal of contention about whether your mission in life is something you create or something you discover. As you’ve probably guessed, I weigh in on the side of creation. In it’s simplest form, you create your mission by deciding how you want to use your gifts in the service of your calling. Do you need to have a mission? Absolutely not, but if you don’t, you are probably missing out on some of the joy, energy, and fulfillment that comes with clarity of purpose and surrender to a higher goal.
If you’re lucky, your work, i.e. what you do for a living, is merely an extension of your mission and you spend each day joyfully using your gifts in the service of your calling. On the off-chance this doesn’t describe you :-), you now have a clear set of criteria for choosing meaningful work.
1. Take a few moments to identify your gifts and clarify your calling. If you’re not sure, simply set the intention to become aware of your gifts and calling and prepare to be amazed as life conveniently drops daily hints and reminders into your life.
(If you already have a mission statement, think about re-evaluating it in the light of what you now know about your gifts and your calling).