Damned if You Do. Damned if You Don’t.


Damned if You Do. Damned if You Don’t.

Such is the catchphrase for the many hats and roles we play in business and in life.

Sometimes, none more so than for the volunteer coach or the business owner, who thinks they’re doing everything right in the pursuit of the bigger goal, only to find out this may not be true.

And luckily (or as I feel right now unluckily) for me, I wear both of these hats.

I coach junior netball and with skill, persistence and a bit of luck, I’ve been in a Grand Final 5 out of 6 years of coaching and won 4 including back to back.

So I do alright and I don’t share those stats to brag. I do it to share this story.

In every Grand Final including my most recent victory, I’ve had to make very tough coaching calls about who sits on the sidelines and how much game time each player receives.

Now I coach teams who decide at the beginning of the season that my job is to put players in the positions I think are the best to get a win each week and then again in finals. In most years, I’ve had either 8 or 9 players which means 1 to 2 players sit off each quarter.

I wish the math worked differently but it doesn’t which brings very stressful dilemmas and decisions to be made, in very short timeframes, whilst you’re also watching the action on court and encouraging the players.

I never want to upset anyone, let alone young children (11 and 12 year olds) but unfortunately that can be the end result of a team sport with reserves.

As the team gives me permission to make tough calls for the betterment of the team, my position is every player hits the court for a quarter, but beyond that, I have no guarantees.


Because even though I have a game plan in my head, I don’t know how each girl will play in the pressure of a final, whether my shooters will be on or not and what the opposition are going to do. I also emphasis that we are playing a team game, where it doesn’t matter how many times you touch the ball or how long you’re on court. If you do your job for the team, then we have done our best… together… as a team.

With this in mind, 2 players in my last final only played one quarter. Not because of their skills, but simply because once I made changes in the second quarter, the girls started to click, we got momentum and we got the lead.

In sport, as in business and in life, rather than maintaining momentum and ‘mojo’, sometimes the worst things you can do is disrupt the flow.

This was my fear in such a close game so I made the tough call and made no changes for the rest of the game.

Result:  Premiers but tears from a distressed player and now a complaint from a parent.

It’s times like this that I question why I volunteer to coach the game I love because in every grand final I’ve won, my decisions have been criticised.

Yet my girls are grinning and happy and all other parents are exceptionally proud because they WON = Job Done!

So how does this compare to business? When I coach my clients, often they use me as a sounding board to vent their frustrations about their staff, clients, finances and circumstances.

Then once that’s done (and downloading/venting is key to solving problems), we work through whether it’s best for the business to maintain momentum or to disrupt the flow to ensure the overall goals and priorities are achieved.

This can often be a hard and lonely place – but one that’s essential for business success.

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In life and in business, you can’t please everyone all the time so here’s my challenge to you:

What’s the one thing which needs to be disrupted or maintained in your business so you can work less and earn more (aka the Dream)?

Once you’ve made the decision and acted upon it, then please congratulate yourself because not everyone is willing, or sometimes able, to do this, often unfortunately, to the detriment of themselves and their business.

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