I’m always amazed when I’m sitting somewhere alone minding my business and I have an epiphany about the significance of relationships. It’s true that not everyone you encounter along your journey will be there until the end, but do know that every person is playing a role in who you will become. My most recent aha moment related to a relationship came as I was traveling across the country on another work assignment. I find that God likes to speak to me on airplanes. He clearly knows I have nowhere to go except to the front or back of the aircraft to the closet-sized restroom. So, while He has me on the Boeing, our connection is flowing! *sometimes I rhyme, lol*
I decided to take advantage of the in-flight entertainment and came across an all-star interview with Kobe Bryant. Now, I’ve never been too much of a sports enthusiast, but basketball and all its details is the one sport that intrigues me and gets me off the couch yelling incessantly at the screen. Because they can hear me, right? Ahmad Rashad went through the interview with the Lakers superstar asking him questions about the highs and lows of his career, his love for the game, and how he leveraged the differences in his personality and his teammates to lead them to championships. Toward the end of the interview, Kobe explained that one of the things that helped him to be a good leader is to be okay with being uncomfortable about his teammates not seeing the best in themselves but still pushing them anyway. He further explained that if you’re not okay with being uncomfortable, then you’ll go up against a team with a leader who is, and you’ll lose. In that instant, it clicked. I think I rewinded that clip at least twice to hear him say that again.
I realized in that moment that was the one thing a close friend and once upon a time sweetheart had been trying to get through to me during all the time we shared life together. I can’t recall how many times I would mope, vent, and complain to him about how I felt like no one ever listened to me, how I felt alone, how it seemed like my friendships were fading, or how sometimes I just didn’t feel like being the one to initiate, organize, and push the envelope. And every time without fail he would give me a kind, witty, and stern response that would leave me feeling like it was okay to feel that way, but I’ve been entrusted with certain characteristics to go the extra mile and get out in front because I was born to lead. It almost seemed as though he was asking me if I was going to take the torch or let opportunities burn because the people I wanted to believe just weren’t getting it and/or what I had to say was the least of their concerns. Talk about frustrating.
A 10-second perspective in this 48-minute video connected all the dots for me about this part of our relationship and further made me realize how God can use people to teach us about our individual characteristics. I’m sure he wouldn’t be excited to know that there were times when he was engrossed in one of his tough talks with me, that I let it go in one ear and out the other. Sorry! But, I get it. And I’m grateful for the confirmation not only about the intricacies of leadership and what it means for those who God will place in my care to be there for me in that capacity, but more importantly who He places in my path to embrace who I am, what I have to offer, and how I’m meant to change the game just as the seasoned and developing basketball superstars have done one play at a time.