There comes a time in your life when you are faced with a moral dilemma. In those moments, you might question your purpose; asking yourself “Why am I here? No really, why am I here?” Over my 26 years of working in, and on behalf of the sport sector, I have increasingly become more thoughtful as I question my own purpose and contribution to a sector we all feel passionate about. What has been revealed?
I am longing for a different way.
Perhaps it’s because I am having one of those big birthdays. Perhaps it’s because I have traveled this country of ours, hosting ‘conversations that matter’ with leaders who are increasingly becoming depleted. Perhaps it’s because I am tapping into my Integral Coaching(TM) roots more fully, feeling a longing to support, serve and inspire positive change.
At the Sport Law & Strategy Group, we are in the business of making problems go away … finding solutions to what keeps leaders up at night. There is however another side to our business. The side that serves to inspire, unite, and innovate. This side of our business is growing. While it’s not in full bloom yet, we are proud to share that after a few years of carefully nourishing the tender seedlings that were longing to break through the less than fertile soil, a growing number of sport leaders are seeking our services in the areas of emotional intelligence, presence, mindfulness and leadership growth. These seedlings are now taking root and this blog speaks to what I am longing to step more fully into.
And I am not alone.
In my journey, I have had numerous conversations with other leaders who are also speaking the language of possibility. Leaders who are hungry for a different ‘way of being’ … one that is inclusive, open and heart-filled and that drives performance; one that is modeled by our athletes on the field of play.
Recently two such athletes have joined our SLSG team. Listening to both Rosie Tomiuk and Adam Klevinas speak with conviction about why they have said yes to our invitation to serve is a humbling experience for both myself and my partner Steve Indig. The SLSG has grown from its humble beginnings; the little organization that could, has grown into one that has served sport organizations from every corner of our country, and at all levels. Our vision is simple, clear and true. Our vision is to help you realize yours.
How best to do so?
In the face of complexity, despair, anger, and shocking revelations … how best to integrate the best of what was into a new, emergent way of being. One that transcends and includes the best of what we have stood for. One that is not shackled by the enormity of the task at hand.
One that liberates.
Rosie and I sat down recently to map out what we wanted to bring more deliberately into the Canadian sport sector. As two Integral Coaches(TM), we are united in our belief that sport needs to be, and do, better. That means we need to be and do better alongside it. The complexities are significant … loss of trust in the face of horrific stories of abuse … dismay at the corruptive forces that lead to complacency and paralysis … feelings of being overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and pulled apart. Alongside these stories are the ones that inspire hope, possibility and world changing impact. As leaders of social profits (I prefer to speak of NSOs as social profits rather than not for profits), there is a deep desire to re-connect to what matters most. As Rosie and I imagined a future possibility, and our role in contributing to it, this Blog emerged as a way for us to speak our truth. Our compelling proposition was to ‘transform and elevate the consciousness of humanity … and to do so through sport.’ Can you feel the energy behind was has brought us together? Can you also imagine how we might feel a bit overwhelmed at the enormity of what lies ahead?
Then we asked ourselves: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
Here’s what we know to be true. Words have a way of shaping our worlds. And by sharing them here, with you, we are intentionally carving out our future contributions. We cannot do everything, but we will not fail to do the one thing we feel so moved to do. Thank you Helen Keller.
So what does this mean practically?
It means that alongside the known legal, governance, financial and crisis management services you have come to rely on at the Sport Law & Strategy Group, we are inviting sport leaders to connect with us on a more humanistic approach to enabling performance excellence. I know from experience that sport is ready for something more. In our humble opinion, this something more includes working with leaders on how to integrate their values more fully into their organization - the literature calls this management philosophy Management by Values and my own research and practical application since 2010 suggests that being true to our values gives us an opportunity to align our moral compass as we build out our strategies. This also includes working with leaders on increasing awareness of self through the use of psychometric tools (like the Nova Profile, EQ-I, Strength Finder to name but a few) alongside a coaching program that supports leaders as they move from one way of being towards what they are longing to become. As Integral Coaches(TM), we are committed to alleviating suffering and enabling hope, one coaching conversation at a time. From experience, sport leaders benefit from being supported in their leadership development, just as athletes are supported by coaches on their own pathway to excellence. This also includes the work we are doing with groups, through our collaboration with the CCES on the Sport Leaders Program and the COC with the Olympic CO-OP. Both initiatives are examples of methods to build community, help leaders solve real-time problems, and give them the inspiration to take the first step.
Both Rosie and I feel called to serve. We are inspired to boldly share our vision for how we can make a difference. We are humbled by the role we can play in companioning leaders as they navigate through the complexities of managing in the 21st Century.
Our high hope for sport leaders is that you will feel less alone, more inspired, and empowered to lean into the discomfort. Every journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. As you contemplate which road to travel, be reminded that it is the one less traveled that can unleash extraordinary and unimaginable possibilities. Indeed as Robert Frost reminds us this choice can make all the difference.