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Principles of a Championship Community: The Power of Words

I was recently reminded of an impactful experience I had in high school, regarding a decision I made to be more kind in my thoughts, and words. I cannot remember why, but I made a goal not to gossip or talk negatively about anyone behind their back. I realized that talking about someone behind their back had no benefit to me. It did not make me feel better about myself and actually just generated negative feelings, often making me wonder what others were saying about me behind my back.

As I applied this new goal, I became aware of the copious amount of times a conversation with someone turns into criticizing, discounting or belittling others. In the beginning, it was difficult not to add to these types of conversations. However, after a while, I learned how to redirect the conversation by switching the topic altogether. It was so abrupt sometimes that people started to notice and would not bring negative topics about others up with me again.

That little change had a tremendous impact. Not only was there in increase in my positivity and believe in others but in myself as well.

About a year later, I had gotten injured during my high school soccer season and had to sit out a few games. I was walking with crutches down the hall during school when one of my teachers, who was also my former basketball coach, stopped me in the hall. We had a long conversation but one of the things that he said that really impacted me, was that the team was missing my leadership. He said the team benefitted greatly from my communication on the field as I tried to lift others up during the game and keep us focused. Up to that point I had not thought of myself as a leader on the team.

After that conversation, I tried to notice the influence of my positive communication on my team, myself and our performance. I noticed that my teammates trusted me with the ball because they knew I was aware of what was happening in the game. I saw that there were various times in which losing possession, missing a key pass, or lapsing on a defending assignment were avoided. I also saw that there were players who began following the example of the players who communicated and were striving to talk more during games.

I know that my on field communication improved dramatically as a result of my attitude shift towards speaking ill of others. It was easier to find positives and to uplift people. It came naturally and permeated the communication I had with my teammates.

I encourage you to reflect on the day-to-day conversations you have with others. Remember that “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people.” - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Build yourself, change your game!

Here are a few pictures of me from around the time that this memory actually took place.


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