Actually I was going to entitle this post dealing with idiots/jerks, but then reconsidered 😉
Yes I live in Monaco and it is beautiful here but it is a small place with limited land so archery training is tough. Last month, I lost my main training area in nearby Cap d’Ail due to politicking. Now the only possibilities are 75 minutes away in Antibes (via train and bus) or 3 weekly two hour blocks in the shared shooting area with the cops and Prince’s guards. Those guys are cool but there are other people around who just don’t understand what is really necessary for Olympic preparation. I know that this puts me on edge too so before reacting to anything – I take 3 deep breaths. And more importantly, I have also stopped trying to help some people understand what I am about after realising that they cannot comprehend anything beyond the status quo. This week, I had a triple whammy of training disruptions, so in hopes of you guys getting through your crap, I have put together a 1-2-3 approach.
If something happens or someone does something to ruffle your feathers… then take these 3 steps before engaging in a shouting match, allowing your feelings to be hurt or wasting your precious training time:
1) Identification – what is it about?
– is there really a point to whatever was said or is that jerk just trying to get attention? ==> learn to recognise that sometimes the only value to someone’s words is from the response generated
– what exactly is the issue? ==> do you have real knowledge of the issue or is it outside your current experience? If you do not know, then question if during the middle of your training session is the correct time to find out.
– do you really care at that moment? ==> some people cannot deal with silence so if you do not respond immediately, their thoughts turn inwards which can cause squirming within the biggest of challengers. Most things can be dealt with later.
2) Explanation – why it matters to you?
– does this issue even concern you? ==> you can choose to state your own opinion but only if you want to share it at that moment
– does the issue concern someone in your circle? ==> if you know their public opinion then OK, but don’t speak for someone who has never openly expressed their thoughts or feelings on the issue
– does the issue concern a stranger ==> then just shut up and do not engage the challenger because you have no right to guess, invent or speak any words for anyone else on this planet
3) Understanding – will you words help?
– who is your challenger? ==> if the other person holds no real power then do not waste your breath
– who is your audience? ==> a banded group of challengers is not the safest group in front of which to declare your brilliant insights
– who are you in relation to the whole group? ==> when your position as athlete or coach means you have a duty to lead and to be a role model, then speak knowing that every word matters, every action is watched and that your future role may be at stake
So how did my week go? Well…
Number 1 – challenger questioned my behaviour in a degrading manor within his old boys network ==> his opinion does not matter to me in the sense of his position or expertise BUT this was a cultural issue which I had explained previously and more importantly he said it in front of a bunch of young archers and fellow teammates. I represent Monaco but I am Canadian born, which meant that I calmly identified the issue, explained my trans-Atlantic behaviour and was very diplomatic in doing so. I did not care whether his neurons accepted the information, but I did help those kids understand that culture bashing was for idiots and that this warrior princess would not accept such weakness within my archery team.
Number 2 – another challenger complained regarding my energy ==> the death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo really touched me. This was my private matter and I was feeling low BUT I did not engage. I did not need to explain myself to the challenger so I just said it was personal and left it at that. Thankfully, I was not pushed to share BUT on other occasions there have been intrusions. Know that you can keep some things private… just find a safe outlet so it does not eat you up inside.
Number 3 – buddy of challenger number one attempted to show power on the first day for 5 new archers ==> challenger falsely spoke on behalf of another person thus instigating a loud bickering match with two other volunteers. As this type of conduct is the challenger’s normal operating mentality, I very quickly (under a minute) put a stop to it. Demanding silence from the idiot was the only solution. I was not the person who was suppose to be in-charge that day BUT I stepped up when I saw a situation that was not appropriate on the shooting line. Athletes deserve to be in a safe environment for training and competition. Do not ever allow athletes, parents, staff, fans, etc to continue heated exchanges – stop them immediately. Any politicking crap must be done behind closed doors with the concerned persons present and speaking their own words.
Ask yourself ==> what… why… will…?
After that, if any idiot/jerk choses to bicker out of boredom, inflated ego or just plain stupidity, s/he should simply be told to shut up – and get back to training…diplomatically of course 😉