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This is my fifth post in the "6 Life Lessons From a Hall of Fame Coach" series, paying tribute to Larry Haylor. Inspired by LinkedIn's blog to #ThankYourMentor, I'm sharing the principles I learned from Larry and how they have influenced my life. When followed they will yield success for anyone who embraces and applies them.
Use Good Judgement
As a mustang team we won more games than we lost. However, when we were on the wrong side of the score, Larry always reminded us of the value of spending time together as a team. After losses players were angry, disappointed, frustrated – and at times devastated. Spending time together helped the recovery process. It also buffered the fact that, if left to our own vices, we could easily get into situations when our decision making needed guidance. After encouraging us to spend time together as a team, Larry’s last words were always,
This idea was so ingrained that when we heard Larry getting ready to say it he simply paused, looked at us and we all repeated it in unison. We understood his expectations.
Everyone has experienced losses in some form – and they hurt. In the sport or business context, perhaps you didn’t perform to expectations or your ability, or you performed well, but on that given day the opponent was better. Either way, each loss can lead to a cycle of internal questioning and uncertainty. The feelings that come with this cycle can be destructive in nature. Larry’s admonition to use good judgement after losses was a vital reminder to use our minds to determine our actions – not how we felt.
The dictionary defines judgement as:
“the ability to make good decisions about what should be done” (emphasis added).
Taking stock of what happened, leaning on the support of others, and creating action plans to move forward are all part of ‘making good decisions about what should be done’. Emotions are volatile, and at their extreme often cloud decision making ability. In order to exercise judgement, as Larry encouraged us to, we had to control our emotion and discipline our minds to make good decisions.
I recently heard Dane Jensen (CEO of Performance Coaching Inc.) speak about personal resilience and its relationship to high performance. The sport psychology evidence he presented proved the most resilient performers are those who have mastered their ability to make choices – in essence, their decision making. They effectively took control of their perspective, imagination, energy and focus to propel themselves forward through challenges. Larry’s reminder to use good judgement paved the way for us to take control of our thoughts, which in turn led to the right actions.
Assess yourself and apply this lesson:
What impulses or emotion do you struggle with?
In what area do you need to take control of your emotions?
How can you effectively use good judgment in your life?
In my sixth and final post I'll reflect on Larry's retirement celebration and the unexpected lesson I learned from it.
Read the first four lessons in the series: