When I hear coaches say, “The pain of losing is more powerful than the pleasure of winning,” I understand it, but since coaching is not my world, I can’t fully relate to it.
I coached my youngest son’s 4 year old soccer team last year. It was pretty serious with the player draft (false), unrealistic parent expectations (parents were great), injury management (Tommy might have scraped a knee), playoff intensity (didn’t happen), and salary negotiations (of course not). But, I still wouldn’t say that I understand the everyday pressures that professional coaches face or the emotions that come along with them.
Someone who I can relate to is Freddie Prinze, Jr. Okay, that’s not true either. But Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr – She’s All That) speaks to me, specifically in his hacky sack scene with his “Never Let It Drop” mantra.
As a principal, I understand that I’m responsible for everything that happens within the school walls and sometimes even expected to control events that take place in our surrounding community. As a father, I am responsible for raising three boys to be kind, responsible, hardworking, self-sufficient, curious, and a thousand other positive attributes. Both home and school responsibilities also include the more managerial tasks (staffing – school, cooking – home, budget – home & school, schedules – home & school, etc.). I never want anything to drop.
While coaches might be motivated by avoiding the pain of losing rather than chasing the pleasure of winning, for me as a principal and father, I am motivated more by avoiding the pain of letting people down more than chasing the joy of having supported their successes.
It’s a pretty dark statement, but before people start calling to check on my emotional well-being, I want to make it abundantly clear that my life is wonderful. I feel extremely fortunate to be in the position that I am in, both professionally and personally.
What I mean is that a major motivator for me is the fear of letting others down. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it certainly holds me more accountable.
If it is a spectrum (see awesome image above), my work ethic is driven by the left side. I’d like to think that having that mentality allows for my families (home and school) to experience more success, even if chasing the joy that I feel with their successes wasn’t my original motivation.
I think I’ll always feel the pressure of letting those around me down, but if I can push that feeling aside when wins come our way, I’ll have a more balanced life.