What Coaching Has to Do with the NFL Protests

Every one of us has undoubtedly felt compelled to be a different person depending on where we are, whether at work, at a party, on an airplane, at school, or simply walking alone down a sidewalk. Virtually everywhere we go we can feel the weight of how others expect us to act, which typically aligns with how others want us to act. And whether we want it to or not, the way that we respond to the weight of those expectations reveals the strength (or absence) of our integrity and either opens or closes the door to living genuinely.

Putting on a uniform, a power suit, or a special pair of shoes doesn't change the core of who you are. It doesn't erase the experiences that you've had, where you come from, or what you value. You don't stop being a real person just because you're at work, watching a football game, or sitting next to a stranger on a train. Anyone who asks you to suspend a part of yourself, to compartmentalize and turn your personal beliefs off, is asking you to forfeit your right to an authentic life. 

Coaching encourages us to stand strong underneath that pressure to compartmentalize, and it challenges us instead to pursue balance within ourselves. It is about the expression of the whole self, not the dominance of one part over another. This kind of self-integration is what the protesting NFL players are so effectively demonstrating; they are not suppressing their beliefs on behalf of their profession. They are peacefully acknowledging their own human experience.

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Checking your self at the door won't get you where you want to go, it's just a way of sidestepping what matters the most. You must be willing to be uncomfortable. Being your whole self in every moment, even when it's considered inconvenient, inappropriate, or even disrespectful, is what will grow you. And coaching is fundamentally about growth and making change for the better, living as your best self.

Bring every little piece of you with you always, wherever you go. Whatever you're doing, you're always on the clock.