Down time. Time away from life's center stage. That's really what we were discussing yesterday when we considered my Lessons From A Faucet.
Burned in my memory is a basketball game. And not just any old game!
It was 1993. The team I loved, indeed the team I had followed since 1969 -- The Phoenix Suns -- were in the NBA Finals. Against the seemingly unbeatable Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Having lived in Phoenix for a number of years, I was able to occasionally attend a game. Sometimes a friend would call with tickets. One Sunday I received such a call right after church. The Suns were playing a matinee game and my friend Richard was given his company's tickets. On the floor! "Can you come?" he asked. I spent the afternoon in basketball bliss.
Most of the time, I had to settle for watching the team on television or listening on the radio. My early years in Yuma, coverage was quite limited. Our distance from Phoenix was enough so that most of what I got was in the newspaper the day after each game.
When the Suns made the Finals in 1993, I was ecstatic. On the Sunday before the series started, a lady approached me at church... "My husband has tickets to Game One on Wednesday night and I can't go. Would you like to go with him?" Was she kidding?
When we got to the arena that night, our seats were just a few rows from the floor and right behind the Chicago bench. The seat gave me a vantage point and left me with an impression significant enough to still think about it. Long after I got over the letdown of the Suns' loss that night (and ultimately of the series), I still remember Michael Jordan pulling up for jump shots.
The nickname "Air" was well-deserved, I discovered. It seemed as if he was at the vertical apex of his jump (and other players were succumbing to gravity) when suddenly he would rise several more inches from the floor. As I think about it, it's odd that you couldn't really see the full effect of his vertical leap unless you were watching the summit at eye level. We were! What a mental picture it left me!
You and I know that MJ didn't achieve that leaping ability by showing up at the court that night and playing ball. He gained it an exercise at a time in the weight room and grew it on the practice floor and running track. During the off season. Over many years.
I made a decision long ago that I wanted to become a better leader. I discovered that good leaders maintain certain disciplines during their "off seasons." If the training regimen for an athlete is primarily physical, for a leader it's primarily mental. Both endeavors also require emotional discipline.
Every person has a certain factory-installed raw talent. Much of where it gets us depends significantly on what we do in our off season?
When is your off season? How are you using it?