By Dr. Steve
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A Life of
Accommodation or Inspiration?
A musician must make music, an artist must
paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.
asked the question more out of frustration than anything else. The answer I got meant
little to me at the time, but it has stayed with me ever since, taking on deeper and
deeper meaning to me as the years have gone by.
was in ninth grade, returning on a bus with my teammates, having just played the last
basketball game of the season. We had lost the game, as usual. With my coach sitting next
to me, I was lost deep in my thoughts.
I said, I was more frustrated than anything else when I blurted out, How the hell
can you stand it?
what? my coached asked in a somewhat stunned voice.
losing. All the time. All we do is lose. And I dont see it getting any better in the
next couple of years. How do you keep going on? How do you maintain your enthusiasm for
your job, for the team, for what were doing? Why do you keep on coaching?
I guess, I guess I just dont see things quite the way you do.
caught my curiosity with that response. What do you mean by that? I wondered
when I think about coaching the team I dont measure everything we do by our wins and
dont. What the hell else matters? I shot back, feeling somewhat unnerved by
his cavalier attitude.
are plenty of reasons I coach you guys, the least of which is whether we win or lose
basketball games, my coach responded in his usual matter-of-fact manner.
voice became shrill as I asked, What are you trying to do, mess with my head? Like
what? Why else would you put all the time and effort into this if you werent
interested in winning basketball games?
one thing I love is working with young kids. It means a lot to me that I can help shape
who all of you are becoming.
I love sports. Always have, always will. This gives me an opportunity to stay active in a
part of my life that has meant so much to me throughout the years.
were beginning to get a bit thick for me so I thought I would try and inject a note of
reality into the discussion. Yea coach, thats all well and good, but the truth
of the matter is, we suck!
I understand how you may feel the way you do, but being a coach means more to me than just
xs and os. It means that I get to be myself for three hours a day for six days
of the week.
a time when I can get away from all the politics of being a teacher, get away from the
demands of being a father and a husband, its a time each day when I feel like I am
doing what I was placed on this earth to do.
and screaming, making us run laps? Thats your lifes calling? I was
beginning to regret ever starting this conversation.
but giving to others, making a difference in somebody elses life, teaching you guys
that theres more to life than sports and girls. Having a part of my life thats
play, being part of the camaraderie that you
have with any sports team, thats all very important to me. I find it all very
dont know, when youre yelling at us all the time, I never get the sense that
youre feeling all that rewarded.
my point exactly. Coaching sports is rewarding because it lets me live my life in a way
that matters to me. Just because I get frustrated, doesnt mean I feel like coaching
isnt rewarding. In fact, figuring out how to overcome the things that are
frustrating me is a part of why coaching is so rewarding.
why I see winning and losing as a small part of all of this. When I think about us as a
team, I think about our squad over the long haul. The outcome of each game is just a
marker of where we are and what we have to do next to wind up where we eventually want to
true to that is more important to me than our won-lost record. I guess Im trying to
say a couple of different things to you. Number one, I keep doing this because of the
personal satisfaction I get from doing it. I dont know how else to explain that to
you. Its just something that I believe I was meant to do with my life. Im
happiest when Im doing things in my life that I was meant to be doing.
two, I keep coaching because coaching allows me to keep growing.
ask me how it is I continue. Its simple. What else would I do? Where else would I
go? I dont make my choices based upon what would alleviate my frustration or
how best to avoid frustrating situations.
take whoever I am with me wherever I go. If Im not true to who I am, I will never be
able to escape that frustration. So I make my life choices based upon what situation is
the best arena for me to use my innate talents and interests, not what would be the least
frustrating for me.
the losses dont discourage me from continuing, because you see, coaching is what I
do, but it isnt who I am. Coaching is the vehicle that enables me to be who I
wasnt able to understand it at the time, but my coach was sharing with me his
formula for a life of well-being that was built upon his life-choices, life-choices that
were a reflection of who he was, his abilities, his interests, his passions, his desire to
contribute to other peoples well-being.
was teaching me about his value system, a value system different than the one I used
to evaluate myself and the events of my life. His message was a simple one, although I
didnt understand it at the time. He was encouraging me not to measure myself by such
things as whether you win or lose, make a lot of money or dont, have a prestigious
job or not.
he clearly understood something very important. He understood that there was a much more
important benchmark to use when we evaluate ourselves, the decisions we make about our
lives, how we live our lives, and the basis for the choices we make.
benchmark? Well I see it more clearly now than back then. Quite simply, our life-choices
are a reflection of our soul.
never had considered that there would be more to measuring my life. It would be very
dramatic to tell you that single conversation made a profound difference in my life, but
the truth is, that conversation wasnt an eye opener at that point in my life. As I
said earlier, looking back, I could see it was a beginning, a beginning that took years to
bear any fruit.
my coachs day, he would say, Im just doing what makes me happiest.
How I think about what my coach did was create his own path, a path by which he could
[re]connect to his lifes journey. And there are specific steps we all need to take
in order to [re]connect to our lifes journey.
first step to [re]connecting to our lifes journey, is what I refer to it as Awakening
the Soul. Let me first ask you, what exactly does that phrase means to you, Awakening
Awakening the deeply buried,
hidden parts of who we are?
Awakening the unused potential
that lives within each and everyone of us?
Awakening those parts of
ourselves longing to be given a voice?
Awakening the longings for a
life that reflects who we genuinely are?
Awakening the stirrings that
have been anesthetized by the judgments and expectations of others?
Awakening the courage that has
been cowered by our own high expectations?
Awakening the essence of who we
Does any of that fit for you? Perhaps you have your own ideas
about what Awakening the Soul means to you.
Why not write a short description of what Awakening the Soul means to you?
the Soul means to you, make no mistake
about this basic point. We will remain in limbo until we go through a process of
awakening. Awakening to who we are by integrating our disowned parts. Awakening to what is
important to us by creating a life that reflects our newly created whole self. Awakening
to the connection between our lifes journey and living a purposeful life.
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.