Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hidden Gems

I just finished reading Tony Ingle's book, I Don't Mind Hitting Bottom, I Just Hate Dragging. Amy bought it for me for Christmas this past year. She has worked at Kennesaw State University for nearly 11 years now, and knows just about everyone who is on staff there - including Men's Head Basketball Coach Tony Ingle.

I truly picked up the book off my shelf last week for entertainment purposes. I have always heard that Coach Ingle is a witty guy, and I was in the need of a good laugh. Little did I know that I would learn some valuable lessons along the way.

Coach's story is among the most inspirational I have ever read. Of all the "comeback" and "down and out" stories that exist, his may be the most compelling - for a lot of reasons. You'll have to read to find out why I say that. And, while there are thousands of potential take-aways from the book, I found three in particular that will remain with me:

1. You can't be tired when it comes to your kids. Let me put this a different way: You can be tired, even feel like you are about to keel over. But, you can't say that to your kids. When you have worked all day, and walk through the front door at 6 or 7 p.m., you are ready to take a load off. Relax. Chill. But, your kids haven't seen you all day. They are excited you are home! If you want to do the right thing, you'll fight through it and play with your kids. Read to them, wrestle with them, shoot hoops with them, play cars in the floor with them. They don't deserve the get the "leftovers" from your day. Re-energize with a cup of coffee or Powerade...and spend that time with your little ones!

2. Tony Ingle says, "You are your habits." So, if you have a habit of starting things and never finishing them, you are a quitter. If you have a habit of not telling the truth, you are a liar. If you have a habit of not giving your best effort, you are an underachiever. You could fill in a million blanks here, but if we make negative behaviors into habits, then we become defined my those actions. On the flip side, if I make a habit of pouring my heart and soul into kids' lives, then that is who I will become. If I make a habit of tithing, then I will be a giver. It works both ways. Good habits make a great witness.

3. Relationships are critical. No matter how bad things got for Tony Ingle, he had a support system to help carry him through the darkest times in his life. It began in the home. Because he didn't compromise his family for his "dream" of winning a National Championship, they were there with him through thick and thin. Further, Tony was a master at networking and developing lifelong friendships with people wherever he went. Because Tony was a good friend to these people, they went to bat for him constantly. Further, he tirelessly volunteered at camps and clinics, where he met some of the most influential coaches and personalities in collegiate sports. Building relationships takes a lot of time and energy. People don't exist to serve you. You exist to serve others. And, when you do, people know you care, and they begin to care about you in return.

Pick up the book at the Kennesaw State University bookstore. You'll laugh a lot, and you may even shed a tear. But, you'll be better for reading Tony Ingle's story. And, if you're smart, you'll follow his lead by being fully present with your kids, embracing good habits, and investing in others' lives along the way.

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