Managing Your Gift: Perfect Players, Right Players

You all have this memorized by now, but just as a reminder, this post is part of a series called “Managing Your Gift”. My premise is that your problem is not your giftedness (or lack of it!). Your problem is learning how to manage your gift.

I should be asleep right now.

I’m not.

I just got done watching the movie Miracle, which retells the story of Herb Brooks, the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, and their challenge against the formidable Russian team. One phrase arrested my attention. Herb Brooks, the coach, is defending his choice of players for his team, and he makes a powerful statement.

“I’m not looking for the best players. I’m looking for the right ones.”

The “best players” try to perform well by themselves. The “right players” empower each other to do the things they’re genuinely good at. Herb’s great challenge was breaking down each player’s independence and getting them to function as a team. Each player had to learn to rely on the other players, and as he did, he entered a force that was much greater than he himself could ever have been.

The “perfect player” is the one with superhuman strength. The “right player” is someone to whom you can say, “Your strength is my weakness. My weakness is your strength.”

This perspective carries both hope and admonition.

The hope is that you don’t have to be perfect. You simply have to be the right person for the job. Some of the most gifted people have some of the most glaring weaknesses, but the successful people surround themselves with people who can offset their weaknesses.

The admonition is that you dare not try to be the perfect player, and you dare not try to fill your team with perfect player. Rather, you must look for the right players. To find a “right player”, you need to put him in the right spot.

Let me explain.

I have strong characteristics of a dreamer, a visionary, and a big-picture person. My mind is often rolling faster than it can full process its stimuli, and I often find myself racing the clock, causing me to forget important details. Although I manage to slow myself down at times, if I were to allow myself to run my natural course, this is who I would be. If I would describe myself as a painter, I would be one who paints with big splashes of color and broad brush strokes. I paint the outline of a face and leave out the eyes and nose.

My weakness is that I struggle with details and my short-term memory (not funny!). I have developed systems to help me deal with that, including reminders, e-mails to myself, and papers on the wall. However, I deeply respect the people who are able to take the big picture and break it down into small pieces without losing track of any of the pieces. If I would describe them as painters, they would be the one who picks up the finer brushes and draws the eyes and nose. They add the intricate designs between all my splashes and bold outlines. While I give the overall picture, they are the ones who complete the picture and make it something meaningful.

The trouble is that many times, I am drawn to people who have similar giftings and a similar personality and drive. To make matters worse, sometimes people who are opposite can really get on my nerves! While I tend to be fast-paced, they tend to be slow-paced, which I find boring! While I will answer “yes” to any opportunity, they will hesitate and think things through and even refuse great opportunities, which I think is stubborn and stupid! However, these people have an eagle-eye for detail that offsets my recklessness, and their hesitation that settles my pace. Recognizing these weaknesses and compensating for them is what it means to have the “right people” on your team.

With your giftings, what are some of your blatant weaknesses? What kind of people do you need to surround yourself with to offset your weaknesses?

What does it mean if you take Herb’s words and apply it to yourself?

“I’m not looking for the best players. I’m looking for the right ones.”

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