Over a 12-year span at UCLA, American college basketball coach John Wooden won 10 National Championships. Wooden is regarded as one of the most successful coaches in sports history, and, more important, an even greater person.
He was a man of integrity and character and was highly respected on and off the court. He believed in discipline and felt strongly about teamwork and demonstrating appreciation. This attitude of being outwardly gracious became the foundation of his coaching philosophy.
Wooden taught that each time a player scored, he was to personally congratulate whoever helped make the play. At first, this seemed awkward to the players, but he explained that even the slightest gesture of recognition would encourage the individual and create stronger team unity. This awareness is now openly seen in every sport with high-fives and similar encouraging gestures. This reminds us of how powerful our attitude can be as it has the potential to motivate or deflate those around us. Inspiring words can build self-esteem, confidence and hope but they only have a chance to be effective when they are released.
I once heard a story about a man who dreamed he was in a beautiful palace and was escorted into a huge dining room. The man noticed a round table with large bowls of delicious food in the middle of it. Sitting around the table were people who were holding three-foot-long spoons. These individuals looked like skeletons and were starving because the spoons were long enough to reach the food but too long to put the food in their mouths. In anger and frustration, they kept trying desperately to feed themselves, and it was a pitiful sight. Then, he was taken to another dining room where he saw a similar table. These people also were using the extremely long spoons except they were all glowing with health and vitality. Then he noticed the difference. With joy and love they were using the spoons to feed one another.
Being thoughtful is demonstrating positive and encouraging communication on purpose. As we choose to speak hope to the disheartened and offer a helping hand to those who are struggling, we can bring comfort to those who feel discouraged. Relaying a kind word is so easy, yet to someone who could use a pick-me-up these small acts of compassion can make a huge difference. It would be wonderful to consistently relay to our spouse, our children and our dear friends how grateful we are for them. As a light in this world, we’ve been called to develop the habit of recognizing the contributions of those around us and express how proud we are of their accomplishments. There is nothing preventing us from being respectful, appreciative, encouraging and generous.
God has drawn an amazing blueprint for your future and longs to help you succeed. You are unique, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that He adores more than anything in the universe. He is aware of your situation and is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Jesus not only said He loved you, He suffered and died on the cross to prove it! There are so many people that could benefit from the gifts and talents that the Lord has given to you. You were created to bring hope into the world and as you reach out to help others this gives Him honor and glory. Never give up on your dreams, and be encouraged to know that since God is for you – who can be against you?
DR. BILLY HOLLAND lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author and community chaplain. To learn about his free CD offer, visit billyhollandministries.com.