handle hard better

The Handle Hard Better Video Featuring Kara Lawson.

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From The Hard Court 🏀 To The Office 🏢

Kara Lawson's "Handle Hard Better" video has become a favorite of mine for its important message and application to change management and organizational leadership.

As the coach of the Duke basketball team, Kara impacts more than the level of basketball-specific skill of her players. She's influencing the mindset, self-worth, self-confidence, communication skill, and leadership abilities of the members of her team, the coaching staff, and support team members.

Through a stakeholder analysis lens, one could say her influence extends beyond her immediate sphere to Duke's students, staff, and administrators, to the family and friends of those she coaches and works with, and reaches a global audience.

Outdoor Basketball Hoop

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3 Ideas That Stand Out To Me.

Lightbulb Moments

There are 3 concepts in Kara's video that stand out to me as lightbulb moments and that resonate most:

  1. The tendency to wait for things to get easier
  2. The mental shift that is necessary
  3. The trap of comparison

1. Waiting For Easy.

I'm not a believer that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who show up consistently, who are persistent, and who take action.

To Kara's point that "the easy bus 🚌 never comes around," there couldn't be a statement more true. Every once in a while you might get lucky, yet only for a moment. It's not a predictable, repeatable, scalable strategy.

2. Mental Shifts.

The 🧠 is a powerful thing. It influences how 2 people can be presented with the same thing, yet respond in completely different ways. This is true in Kara's examples, and it can be true in the world of business, as well.

In the world of fitness, I found this to be true of situations in which personal trainers were responsible for acquiring their own clients. Many hadn't entered the profession because of an affinity for sales; they'd become personal trainers because they loved coaching, helping people to reach their goals, and to share their passions.

Negative perceptions had been built because of preconceived notions about sales or through the challenges and failures that may have occurred as they'd attempted something outside of their wheelhouse. In the quote below, you'll find John C. Maxwell's thoughts relating to failure.

Average vs. Achieving.


"The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure." ~ John C. Maxwell

In the instances where I'd seen this occur, it wasn't sales that was the enemy. It was the perception and response to the challenge and failure of trying something new, that wasn't easy, and required a commitment to initial discomfort during the process of learning in order to improve. Those personal trainers who were able to adjust their mindset were the ones who persisted and eventually succeeded. It still wasn't easy, but the mindset shift was a necessity.

3. The Trap Of Comparison.

In her video, Kara also mentions the possibility of times where you could feel discouraged.

Even at times when you've made huge breakthroughs and accomplished something that you've been working toward for weeks or months, comparison can lurk in the corners, waiting to devalue your achievement.

When we fall into the trap of comparison, we tend to think:

  • Why is this so easy for them?
  • I bet it didn't take them this long to master this skill.
  • Wouldn't it be nice to not have to struggle?
  • I'll never be at that level.
  • They have it all.

In giving into discouragement and comparison, we neglect to see the challenges that others have been through, we diminish the value of our own achievements, and we rob ourselves of the enjoyment of the process of growth.

"Comparison is the death of true self-contentment." ~ John Powell

Comparison

A Key Takeaway.

Handling hard better takes time. It doesn't matter if it's your first day at a new job, your first day on new team, or your first day attempting something new, you can take measure of your starting point and seek small, daily improvements.

If you're a manager of teams, take note of how your individual employees perceive and respond to challenge and failure. Remind yourself that despite similarity of tasks that the responses can be different. And, that where that's the case, how you communicate your message may need to be personalized for it to resonate and stick.

If you're leading change projects, consider the same of individual stakeholders and stakeholder groups. Get to know individuals and group fears, motivations, and communication preferences so that the value and success of the change is given the foundation from which it can grow.

For More From Kara Lawson.

We're fortunate that Kara shares videos like "Handle Hard Better" and her insight with the world so often. The Duke Women's Basketball channel on YouTube gives us a virtual, front row seat. You can also follow along via Kara's LinkedIn profile.

For More On Organizational Leadership.

This section of the site is an excellent foundation for developing leadership skills, understanding different types of leadership, and exploring leadership styles.

To continue your learning:

In health,
Boh

David Bohmiller

David Bohmiller, MBA, MS (he/him/his)
Founder, CEO and Consulting Executive
Inevitabl LLC
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