4,700 Feet of Hardwood: A Metaphor for Leadership

user Darren Gold
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At the time of this writing, the Golden State Warriors have just bested the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals in four very close and intense games. In the Eastern Conference Finals, two relative newcomers, the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors, are battling it out. I love watching elite performers in any craft do their thing. The players’ raw athleticism, combined with the excitement of the game itself, is breathtaking. I appreciate the craft of the coaching staff, as they observe the flow and energy of the game and make critical decisions that can affect the outcome. And it’s all happening on a 94 x 50 foot hardwood platform. As the players work to perform at an elite level, thousands of people in the stands and millions of fans at home are watching and cheering for their favorite team or player.

For me, the 4,700 square foot court is a perfect metaphor for life and leadership. Things get done when you’re on the court of life. And yet, if we’re honest and observant, we spend much of our lives in the stands. We blame others when things aren’t going the way we want, or complain when people aren’t the way we’d like them to be. We are like the irate fan sitting at home that is screaming at the players and coaches on the court, so sure that he or she would have made the right call or play. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for being in the stands. Letting go and enjoying life are essential. But results happen when we’re on the court: taking action, making mistakes, reflecting, learning.

In our newsletter this month, we feature writings on a wide range of leadership issues, including a study on the state of executive coaching. As you read them, I encourage you to think about where in your life you are on the court and where you are in the stands. Is there one more thing you could be doing to be in action, to be causal, to take responsibility for the outcomes in your life? This is a question I ask myself each day, and hope you do the same.

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