This past week I had the chance to attend a fund raiser for The Christmas Box House, a great charity started by Richard Paul Evans—the New York Times Bestselling author of 16 titles including his first “The Christmas Box.”
After the event, He took some time to give me some great advice on my upcoming book, and it reminded me of a lesson I learned in my early days of little league football.
Throughout my entire Little League career, I was known as the kid who asked a question about nearly everything. I wanted to make sure I understood every aspect of everything I was a part of—and everything I wasn’t a part of.
This was something the coaches were able to deal with, because they could always send me out onto the field.
Then, amidst my third year, I had an injury to my leg, and was sidelined. I knew that I was still part of the team and therefore, continued to show up to practice. But, unable to do anything but fill up the equipment bag, I stood by my coaches from the beginning of practice to its end.
With nowhere for me to go, my coaches were stuck and had to listen to me ask questions like, “Hey Coach, why do you have the safety line up there,” or, “Hey Coach, why don’t you fake the handoff then,” or, “Hey Coach, why do you only have three down linemen on that play,” and the like, all through practice.
Finally, unable to take another minute of my mini inquisition, my coach pulled the whole team in close and yelled out so everyone was clear, “If Hall asks one more question, EVERYBODY RUNS!”
My teammates looked at me to make sure I understood that none of them wanted extra laps, and practice continued.
Coach’s plan worked. My questions stopped and the Coach got the silence he was looking for. But, in the midst of his moratorium, I learned something I hadn’t considered myself. If I took a minute and thought things out for myself, I could figure out many of the answers I was looking for.
It was easier to ask the coach, for he always had the answer and it didn’t require any work on my part. After a few days of no questions, the coach allowed my inquiries as long as I had tried to figure the answer out for myself first.
Twenty-five plus years later, I’ve found the same principle applies. I have questions and doubts and I often look around for a person, article or book to spoon-feed me the answer. Those resources often play the role of helpmate, but I also find that if I just take the time to think things through, and trust in myself, I can find the right answer all on my own.
Trust yourself, trust your gut, you know more than you think. Believe in you. You have more to offer than you give yourself credit. Use your resources wisely, but go with what you think is right and quit asking the proverbial, “Hey Coach!”