Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Help the Team Win

I am a sports enthusiast, but this is not about sports.  It is applicable to sports, but the focus finally is spiritual and not sports.  It could be about business and business teams, but it is not about business.  It is applicable to business, but the focus finally is spiritual and not business.  When you think about it, the term, “team,” is used in a number of contexts.  And I think that is wonderfully appropriate.

As unlikely as it seems, I am now connected in the Twitter world.  When I write that, I am amazed at myself.  But I also am intrigued with the way the world communicates.  And there is no doubt our contemporary world communicates in quite different forms than when I was a little Quaker boy on an Indiana farm!  If I have some good news and want to proclaim it, then using contemporary media seems appropriate.

The neat thing about “tweeting” (the verb for Twitter!) is the message can only be 140 characters.  A character is a single letter, a comma or, even a space.  It is impossible to be long-winded on Twitter!  That does not mean it will be profound; but it will be short.

I like to add something that may have some value to someone out there in the cyber-world.  There is enough junk; I don’t need to add to that.  If I can proclaim something that might have even the slightest spiritual boost to someone’s soul, then even better.  So it was with this in mind, that I decided to tweet something to do with teams.  I have had much experience with teams.  I have played on sports teams.  I have been on business teams and innovative teams.  Here is what I gleaned from that experience.

My tweet was simple.  I wrote: “Be kind, be positive, show some courage, minimize your ego, play fair and you will always have a place on the team.  Then help the team win.”  I am happy with that as a recipe for effective team involvement.  It won’t matter what kind of team it is, i.e. sports, business, innovation, etc.  Having put that on Twitter, I now would like to unpack it for its spiritual meaning.

“Be kind.”  I think this is always a wonderful approach.  It certainly works for our friends.  I suggest it even is a good approach for enemies.  Perhaps it is an effective strategy for peace-making.  I know some would contend that it is a plan for chickens, but I will momentarily add a word about courage.  So be kind.  We know what this means.  Check the anger.  Get over the cynicism. 

“Be positive.”  We all know how much fun negative Nellie can be!  Be positive and work toward goals and outcomes that are hopeful.  Contribute instead of complaining.  Be an asset and not a liability.  We all know what it is like to work and play alongside those who are positive.  They enhance the possibilities and inflame the potentiality of any team.

“Show some courage.”  We don’t have to be spiritual giants.  But everyone can show some courage.  Courage is a matter of heart.  Courage is the willingness to risk a little, to put yourself on the line.  Courage cancels the “chicken quality” behind which so many hide.  Too many feel like if they have no courage, then they cannot be held accountable for anything.  That is not true.  The chicken-hearted often are the most irresponsible because they are not accountable.

“Minimize your ego.”  For teams this is almost a magical effect.  Take the ego out of members of a team and you allow the power and potentiality of the entire group to grow and blossom.  No ego that says “I” can be as strong and effective of the group acting as a “we.”  “We” trumps “me” every time.  The teammates who place their egos in the service of the team make that team very focused, united and successful.

“Play fair.”  Cheaters can win, no doubt.  But ultimately, they will be defeated.  The Buddhists are correct.  There is some kind of karma in the universe.  Ultimately our deeds become our destiny.  The teams that play fair know that they will appreciate the wins that come their way. 

So what is spiritual about all this?  It is spiritual because these qualities are characteristic of the Divine Spirit Itself.  The Divine Spirit---God, if you prefer---desires a team just like this.  The Spirit plays fair.  There is no ego at stake.  The Spirit surely shows courage and is kind.  For sure, the Spirit is positive.  Ultimately, the Spirit is writing a comedy and not a tragedy.

I have enjoyed the sports teams with whom I have played.  I have learned much from various business teams that have had me participate.  I have been part of more than a few innovative teams.  But the most amazing and powerful team to be part of is a spiritual team.  It does not have to be a church or temple.  It does have to have women and men ready together to help the Kingdom come.  This is the team I want to help win.   

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