For me, the ’85 Bears, Jordan-era Bulls, and Matchbox 20 all reside in the same psycho-emotional pillbox. Closing my eyes, I can immediately recall the legendary finesse of Walter Payton, the aerial magic of Michael Jordan, and the melodic blend of beauty and angst hearing “Push” on the radio for the first time. I’m a fan. Whether or not those guys ever do something significant again, I’ll always be a fan. My connection to the past outweighs my desire for the future.
I’m also a cheerleader (the extremely masculine, nail-driving, fire-eating sort). Whenever my kids are playing sports, making music, or creating art I tend to forget about their past performance and just enjoy what’s happening in front of me. Whether or not they choose to take that skill to a level of professionalism some day is largely irrelevant. In the moment, I just want them to know I’m of them and celebrate their hard work and dedication.
And then there’s coach. That guy in Wilson shorts with a clipboard and whistle that lives to see people puke. He’s completely unconcerned with your immediate comfort, and believes past performance is just pointless fodder for the yearbook staff. His (or her) job is all about the future. What are we capable of? How do we get from point A to point B? What needs to be fixed in order to realize our full potential? They exist to make us better.
As a leader, I’m rarely a fan or cheerleader. Not to say that past and present aren’t worth considering, but leadership is all about point A and B, getting from here to there. It’s about growth and realizing potential. It’s about seeing the gifts God has given someone and helping them leverage those gifts for the maximum amount of return. By its nature it’s messy and uncomfortable with lots of puking along the way. But what an enormous privilege to be a small part of someone’s journey…whether or not you decide to wear the tacky shorts.