Miami University Head Coach, Carolyn Condit, and I often joke about the "honeymoon" period ending, the time when she and I will no longer enjoy working with each other. It is a running joke because we have such a great working relationship.
When we start a new job, we often put our best foot forward, act our best, and none of our bad habits or weaknesses are immediately exposed.
I have a friend of mine in the business world that jokes about dating. He tells me, "You realize when you date someone, you aren't actually dating the 'real' person, but you are dating their 'representative', who they want you to believe they are, not who they really are. It's not until a few months into the relationship when you have your emotions all tied into it, when the 'real' person reveals themselves. Then you're stuck!" Poor Carolyn seems to be stuck with me now...well at least until she's ready to get rid of me 🙂
Point being, through the hiring process, we have References to provide a basis of who we are, during the interview process we don't mean to show our "representative" side, but we do, and in the first couple months at a new job, we are intentionally, unintentionally on our best behavior.
It is always my goal to be the best, be consistent in my actions, and represent myself and the program with the utmost of professionalism. But I have started to notice within myself, little bad habits, weaknesses of mine, starting to show to myself. We all continually work on our weaknesses and certainly try to minimize them, just as we try to do with our teams on the court, but we can't hide them all the time.
For example, I don't think there is anyone in the world that enjoys completing an expense report. Collect your receipts, fill in the spreadsheet, cut and tape receipts to a pieces of paper (arts and crafts we called this at Winthrop), and do this within the month. Of course my first 12 expense reports (every recruiting trip needs an expense report), received an A+ on them. I turned them in way before time, a 'wide-eyed' thank you from the accountant, and a big self-pat-on-my back. I met my new goal to turn things before being prompted.
Then spring season sprung upon us. 20 hour weeks with the players started (practice, weights, video, meetings, etc.), spring tournaments every weekend and squeezing recruiting trips in between. I received the dreaded email notification that receipts are due by midnight on the 3rd of the month. That dreaded notification was a realization that my honeymoon phase may be over. How many more nights can I spend at the office past 10 pm? The night of the 3rd was no different.
The expense report issue gave me an opportunity of self-reflection and a good reminder of self-discipline. Discipline can be one of the most challenging parts of everyday life. As Mike Hebert wrote to his team in his Championship Manual, “Discipline is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.” If I cannot be disciplined on a little issue like this, how can I expect my players to be disciplined when we ask them to be? Lesson learned by me.
I still very much enjoy working at Miami and know how fortunate I am to not only be at a great school, but a program with a storied tradition and a legendary coach. I relish the stories she tells of fighting for court time with men's basketball when Title IX was just put in place. I told her she needs to write a book, but she said, "Who would want to hear my stories?" She doesn't realize, everyone would, but yet I'm the one telling bland stories of expense reports. Yawn. Maybe next month I'll have something more exciting to talk about, like a real honeymoon 😉