What are you Willing to Give Up?



What are you willing to give up?

Have you ever had a nightmare that seemed real? During Nicolas’ youth sports we saw many nightmares come true when it came to watching fathers coach their sons’ team. Whether it was the other parents in the stands complaining of favoritism and unfair playing time, the coach getting upset at how his son was playing or the son acting out in defiance of the father; it seemed that for both the father and the son there was more pain associated to coaching and playing than pleasure.

So, there I was on the Board of Directors at the YMCA, my son on a basketball roster that had no coach, and the Director of the YMCA asking me if I had ever considered coaching.

Of course, I had considered it and promptly dismissed it. I had all of the freedom that I wanted being the “Best Fan” on the sidelines. All I had to do was show up, sit down and cheer for Nicolas from the bench and occasionally bring drinks. Bringing drinks was the best part because I could bring his favorite flavor Gatorade and be the hero without much effort.

As I heard myself say, “Sure, I can be an assistant coach for the team,” I was screaming inside of my head, “What did you just say?” And, as I showed up on the first day of practice, as the Head Coach for the team, I was way out of my comfort zone.

A funny thing happened as the weeks of practice and games progressed. I received some basketball training books, I checked out training DVD’s from the library, and continued to educate and discipline myself to show up with a plan for every practice. I agonized over every drill, every tip, hint and suggestion that I gave every young boy. I arm chair quarterbacked myself in my abilities after every practice and game. And, through personal discipline to always be a better coach, learned a lot.

One practice in particular, I took candy to reward players for some drills we did at the end of practice and as the boys eagerly grabbed and fought for their favorite flavor, one young boy on the team, Johnny declined. His dad explained to me that for Lent he had given up candy. Johnny was 9 at the time and I was seriously impressed at the character and discipline he was living. As I learned more about Johnny I found that he played on our team, his school team, and lived at the gym playing ball with the grownups 7 days a week. His mom would pick him up from his school practice, feed him in the car and bring him to our practice. Sometimes after our practice, if his schoolwork was completed, his dad would take him to the gym to play.

Many people in life want the Freedom and instant gratification that comes from having no discipline or rules. You have heard people say, “I want to be thin so that I can eat whatever I want” or “I wish I was rich so I could buy anything that I wanted and not worry about money ever again.” If you were thin, you would not eat anything you wanted and if you did, you would not be thin for long. Same with being rich, if you never focused and concerned about how you spent your money, you would find yourself broke.

True Freedom in life comes only through discipline. The word discipline comes from the root word disciple, which means, “a student, a learner.” Discipline also comes in two different forms. We can discipline ourselves to NOT have something. During Lent, it is traditionally represented as something that you “give up” for the 40 days. If you are older, you may remember that every Friday it was tradition to not eat red meat. Fasting is also associated with Lent in order to represent cleansing and purification. The ability to discipline ourselves also can be done to “have” something. I personally am giving up procrastination and am disciplining myself to “Have” more focus in my writing and business sales everyday.

We learn through gaining knowledge, taking action and self evaluation. The freedom of movement a thin person experiences only comes by being disciplined about what they put in their mouth and how they move their body to exercise. A rich person is rich because they have disciplined themselves on how to maximize their income and cut their expenses to an acceptable standard of living for themselves. Johnny will grow up and experience the joy and freedom of being on his high school team, college team, and I believe the NBA because he disciplines himself to create positive habits and behaviors that put him ahead. The freedom to REALLY develop a meaningful relationship with my son only came when I overcame my own fears and insecurities. I disciplined myself with gaining knowledge, planning, taking action, and self evaluating my performance to become the coach that I wanted to be for myself, my son, and his team mates.

If you want to travel more, buy that new car, improve your relationships, move towards that more meaningful job it will only come from disciplining yourself to do something new in order to grow. I would encourage you to find a place in life where you can set a higher standard of discipline for yourself. You will be amazed at the results you will receive from it in the long run. Nicolas will not remember that I used to bring Lemon-Lime Gatorade for his drinks once a season, but he will always remember me as his coach and “Best Fan.” You can the freedom to have all that you desire in life with a little more discipline. It is the essence of success and the cornerstone of character.

To your continued success,

James M Murphy

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