As leaders, teammates, and friends we must show trust and support of each other. All relationships thrive with support and encouragement.
Here is a story to show the value of believing in your teammates/groupmates/friends:
Sand volleyball is a classic past time for the cross country team. We spend many afternoons pretending that we are athletic by lowering the net on the court next to Elam and setting to a bunch of boys who can’t jump very high. With any sport, we naturally get extremely competitive.
Last fall, we had a game that was evenly matched. Nathan, Sam “Cham”, and I took on four other members of the cross country team. Points went back and forth until the other team went up 23-19 in the set (cue the 23-19 Monsters Inc. chants). For the other team’s 23rd point, the ball flew to the back-right corner of the court, a position that none of our teammates could reach. Sam played well the entire set, but the other team started heckling him because he, unluckily, was closest to the ball that fell in the back corner.
To catch his breath and avoid the criticism, Sam took a seat on the side of the court and told us to continue playing without him. Realizing that Nathan and I could not take on a team of four guys by ourselves, I turned to Sam and told him, “You are playing well and we need you.” His face lit up, he jumped to his feet, ran around the court, and exclaimed, “No one has ever told me that before! Let’s go!” Sam helped us go on a 6-point run and beat the other team 25-23.
This story shows that teammates perform better when they know they matter and have value for the team. Putting others down is not going to get the results that you desire for your team, your friendship, or group project. I believe in constructive criticism when necessary, but encouraging others reaps far better results than pointing out their downfalls.
Jon Gordon, one of my favorite authors says, “Believe in others more than they believe in themselves.”
Let others know that they can succeed.
Let your friends and classmates know that they can do well on a test or write a strong paper.
Let your teammates know that they can finish that rep in practice or score for the team.
You’ll see them smile, puff up their chest, and sit up a little bit straighter. When you believe in your teammates, coworkers, etc. they will believe in you. You never know how someone’s day or week is going. Let others know they are important to you.
Go win more than a sand volleyball game. Win the day. Win the week.
Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in the impossible.
Make a sum: add to the lives of those around you, don’t take away from them.