It’s an afternoon on the weekend, and one of my children's basketball teams is playing.
There are a range of ages and skills within the team. The smallest and youngest player, “Jules” (pseudonym), attends every training session and comes to every game with enthusiasm.
They don't possess the ball much, but their commitment to placing themselves in defensive positions is outstanding - they’re quick to anticipate a pass, and interrupt with their agile, spider-like reflexes.
This child is the biggest underdog in a team of underdogs. I feel great admiration and some affinity with them (I was small as a child).
I love how multiple generations of their family warmly embrace me as I cheer their child on loudly – "You are my number ONE!".
During my career, I have led or been a part of teams of super-talented but difficult people. Some have become very isolated, but I’ve also seen those like Jules be embraced and progress due to their commitment to the team's cause and personal development.
So what makes people like Jules memorable and admired?
1. They knew their role within the team and the broader team's role. They developed themselves to be a part of the future.
2. They embraced and remained unwavering in the team's journey, knowing that things may not be perfect, but they were improving. They choose to be part of making things better rather than waiting for things to be better.
3. Jules always seeks the coach and me out after the game. Jules wants to know how many goals they stopped and what they could do better next time. They were open to measuring and learning.
4. They set an example to others, making them approachable, and people were comfortable sharing things with them. They applied this knowledge to increase their contribution. They may not have been the best at something, but they had the best attitude to everything.
5. They evolved; they didn't rationalise or make excuses for situations. They evolved their skills, knowledge and networks. They built the bridges they would cross tomorrow.
To anyone who can relate to Jules, you are not alone.
If you have a colleague like Jules, thank them.
Or if you judge situations too often, maybe try to be a little more like Jules.
This child is very much building the bridges today that they'll cross tomorrow.
How many of us are doing that within our careers?