Ramblings of a Creative Mind

Thoughts on Work and the World from an Executive Mom


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Pep Talk

Star players on Team Family

Star players on Team Family

So, I am out at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable thanks to a good friend and a lot of networking (more on that another day). I came out here to learn about business, my industry, how it’s changing and how to inspire people. And who could be a better opening speaker for us this morning than Jack Harbaugh – famous coach, but even more famous father. He sure gave me a lot to think about this morning for work. But I’m walking away a better mother today than I was yesterday because I heard him speak.

Coach Harbaugh spoke extensively about putting the team before everything else, and how all good business decisions have to make things better for the team. Otherwise, it’s just not worthwhile. He talked about the value of persistence, outworking everyone around you and attacking each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. He also reminded us that there are two teams that we need to focus on: the office and our family.

And the Coach hit hard when he said that “you cannot believe in yourself until you know someone believes in you”, that your children “have a right to know that you believe in them” and that you “shouldn’t coach-speak your kids.”

A few days ago, my boys were going bananas in the backseat of the car. I’d had a long and rough day, and I am not proud to admit that I snapped at them to be quiet. Luke apologized, and then Jake told him not to apologize, that “Mom won’t believe you.”

That hurt that evening, but not as much as it does today. That evening, I knew Jake said it because I tell him that “actions speak louder than words.” And often they do.

It hurts a lot more today because I am seeing the core of that statement instead of thinking about my action “lesson.” The core of that statement was that my son assumed that I did not believe in him or his brother.

That is so immensely far from the truth, as I think my kids are the greatest people on this earth – far better than I am. I tell Jake how great he is every day, how much I love him, how incredible he is. Yet, when it came right down to it that night, in the tough times for him, he did not think I believed in him. And I remember the beginning of the “actions speak louder than words” lesson. When he said I’m sorry the day before, I’d started with “I don’t really believe that… Actions yadda yadda yadda.” He had learned my “lesson.”

Man, I feel like dirt on that one. Yes, actions speak louder than words, but I forgot how powerful words can be.

When I get home from this conference, I am dropping that “lesson” at home and recrafting it, as I am not teaching him the lesson that I want him to learn.

Coach Harbaugh taught me today that there will be plenty of people in my kids’ lives that will coach-speak them, breaking things down in technique, criticizing them, tweaking them and more. My job is to lift them up: to tell them how much I believe in them, to tell other people how much I believe in them and make sure they see it demonstrated in my every action and unconditional support of them – always.

As the co-leader of Team Family, I am a better leader today than yesterday, and I’ve only just begun this journey. And this also translates to the people I am blessed to serve at work as a leader and mentor.

Thanks, Coach. Now I see.

The team. The team. The team.

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