This is a guest post by Lynn Guerin.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve had to deal with the need to make many changes? Have these changes been heaped upon you by circumstances beyond your control?
The recent tsunami of changes, fueled by the pandemic, has swept over our lives and has us all tossing about, trying desperately to hold onto something stable, strong, and familiar.
Change has become its own acronym: Challenges Happening All the time that Never Get Easier.
The sounds of our responses to these pressures, pain, fears, and frustrations echo from every corner, home, school, and business in every community across the country:
“I can’t do this!”
“How am I going to get through this?”
“When will this be over?”
“When are things going to get back to normal?”
You may feel as though you’re in survival mode, just trying to get through this mess mentally, emotionally, financially, and physically. More than likely, you’re worried about those who depend on you, who look to you for answers, strength, hope, and their day-to-day needs.
It seems nearly impossible to see any light at the end of this tunnel. Or to think there are better days ahead.
But what if I suggested there’s a strong possibility that your best days weren’t those “good ole days” behind you. It’s the rest of your days that can—and should—be the best of your days. Your future can be bright.
It all depends on your perspective, the quality of your thinking, and your commitment to take responsibility and accountability for being the head coach of your life. In this highly responsible position, you have the privilege of loving, serving, and helping those who depend on you.
Six Proven ‘Head Coach’ Strategies
To become a great head coach of your own life (and your future), turn to the wisdom, life lessons, and unique perspective of legendary coach, teacher, philosopher, and leader John Wooden.
Wooden is considered to be the greatest sports coach of all time. But those who knew him best, followed him closely, and benefitted the most from his teachings say he was an even better coach in the game of life.
How can you start coaching yourself and those depending on you through many of the changes you need and want to make? A good place to begin is with the quality of your thinking when it comes to how you process change.
Consider these six strategies from Wooden’s change playbook:
Examine the status quo. As an English teacher, Wooden knew “status quo” was a Latin phrase meaning “the existing state of affairs.” In the everyday challenges of life, status quo generally applies to maintaining or changing existing social conditions and/or values.
Social conditions have drastically changed, and it appears they will continue to do so. But that doesn’t change who you are or your values, those foundations and fundamentals that guide your life.
Certainly, not all the changes we’re making now feel like progress. But as Wooden teaches us: “There is no progress without change.” Change is vital; we must decide to embrace it.
Start with the right thinking. Change is about the right thinking. Wooden believed that “people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” He learned that lesson from his parents, who raised their children through very difficult circumstances: an economic depression, war, loss of their farm, death of two young siblings, and, yes, pandemics.
Wooden’s parents taught their children, primarily through their own example, that being optimistic, happy, and having a positive attitude is a choice. Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Don’t make excuses. Just do the best you can.
What attitude are you choosing? How happy have you decided to be?
Prepare. The dynamic of change involves preparation. “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail,” Wooden often said. Once you have your head on straight, you go to work. What changes need to be made? How and when will you make them? Get the solutions department open. Get a game plan and find the team you’ll need to help you make the necessary changes.
Take action. As Wooden would say, “Nothing works until you do.” Take responsibility and accountability for making necessary changes happen. You may not get things right the first time. Fail fast; learn even faster. Keep moving forward.
Maintain your progress. Keeping things going is often as tough as getting changes made in the first place. Maintaining progress brings new challenges and creates circumstances that can distract your attention from keeping the main thing, well, the main thing. Heed Wooden’s wisdom: “Do not permit what you cannot do interfere with what you can.”
Expect setbacks. Stay the course, knowing there will be setbacks. As Wooden reminds us: “The uphill climb is slow, but the downhill road is fast.” Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t let small setbacks get bigger than they need to be. Every setback is an opportunity for a comeback; it’s a signal to check the quality of your thinking once again.
About the Guest Post Author:
LYNN GUERIN is CEO of The John R. Wooden Course and president and “Head Coach” of his family-owned coaching, training, and performance development firm, Guerin Marketing Services. For the past 20 years, he’s had the unique privilege of partnering with legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and the Wooden family. He is the co-author of the new book Coach ‘Em Way Up: 5 Lessons for Leading the John Wooden Way. Learn more at CoachEmWayUp.com.