Do You Choose Love or Fear?

My friend Caroline Watson is the founder and director of an organization called Hua Dan, which uses participatory theater to inspire the full potential in people.

Introduced by a mutual friend and collaborator, Caroline and I did business together, became fast friends, and regularly shared stories of struggles and successes of life in the entrepreneurial trenches. Over the years we’ve been able to share ideas and to push each other to be better in business and in life.

She was the first person who introduced me to the idea of choosing love, not fear. In an attempt to practice being vulnerable in a more public way, she started a blog with the same name.

She spoke beautifully about this to me during our conversations about it in person. And her writing is equally eloquent.

Quite early on in this process I realized that my 60-day writing challenge is as much a challenge to me to write on a daily basis, as it is to be vulnerable in a more public way.

With her permission, I asked if she wouldn’t mind my sharing this as I am with you today.

While there are some excellent posts all over love-not-fear.org (as well as the place where she now blogs more regularly here) I thought it would be appropriate to start from the first page. We can learn a lot from where we begin.

10 Reasons to Date an Entrepreneur was Caroline’s first post and gives such a beautiful account of that sense of possibility mixed with passion, persistence, and partnership.

And, of course, the practice of choosing love, not fear.

Thinking Big was her second post, which discusses the thought process behind the 10 Reasons post – do I keep it or delete it? In it she recognizes that fear still does exist and humanizes the process of battling our fears, reminding us that we are always confronted with the choice.

So this is all well and good. Caroline’s thoughtfully expressed ideas are very moving. They spoke to me then and still speak to me now.

But love is not an academic pursuit, it’s an experiential one.

And even if we know the theory, we don’t always get it right the first time we’re tested.

Think back to the last time you were confronted with an opportunity to choose love over fear.

What did you decide?

What happened?

How did you build on that experience?

What did it mean for the next time?

How are you continuing to build these days?

What will it mean for the next opportunity that comes up?

And while you should certainly start to practice choosing love over fear with the people you are closest with, don’t let it stop there.

What would it mean for your life if you chose love in each and every one of your interactions with yourself and with others?

—–

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and with a bit of extra love in the air, Caroline happened to chose love in a big way to close out 2014. This post is not only about this most important mode of thinking she shared with me, but also to congratulate her for getting married over Christmas.

No, love is not only about something special that exists between two people who tie the knot, but it is a nice way for me to celebrate her, celebrate Alex, and to give them my most sincere congratulations from a land far, far away as we celebrate this day and this month where we celebrate love.

Compassionate Strangers

One of my favorite questions to ask strangers is some form of, what do you love about life?

A week’ish ago I pulled out this question just a few minutes into a conversation with the woman behind me in line for the bus to Albany.

I love asking this same, simple question is because the answers are always varied and often surprising, in the best of ways.

Her answer? It came pretty quick and was quite clear:

People’s ability to care and to show compassion for other people even if they have no relationship with them.

The second reason I love asking this same, simple question is because the conversation then usually heads off into uncharted territory.

This uncharted territory is both for me (which, with a stranger, everything is pretty much uncharted), and – more importantly – for them.

She’s a new teacher in the NYC public school system and she told me about her challenging week.

One major question that confounds her:

How does one balance the need to control the classroom and garner respect from all students, while also knowing that some students who show disrespect to her or to others may know no other way to call out for help?

I don’t feel right sharing some of the details of this story, but one thing that I do feel comfortable sharing that truly blew me away was when she said this:

The worst thing about being a teacher is about encountering parents who don’t care. Parents who will save your number specifically so they won’t pick up when you call because they don’t want to hear about their child.

We talked a bit about experience we had abroad. When she learned I had spent quite some time living in China she immediately wondered aloud, I read something about how Chinese teachers spend a lot of time discussing strategies for classes, much more so than in America. Is this true?

Our conversation extended from the line, through the bus delay, and all the way to Albany. Teaching in New York, China, Cuba, Pakistan, relationships, love, Humans of New York, and more were the topics of the evening.

She told me at one point that she doesn’t usually talk to strangers.

What was it that lead to a stranger conversation that day?

Did she just need someone to talk to?

Was it a conversation that took an unfamiliar twist after a short warm-up of regular chit-chat?

Something else?

Maybe if the result was so excellent for everyone involved, the reason’s not all that important?

Do you think it’s possible to find compassion – and comfort – in an interaction with a stranger?

Maybe you’ve experienced it before?

When was the last time?

What was it like?

Fear is the Root of Your Problems

Have you considered the relationship between procrastination and fear lately?

These days, I’ve been giving “fear” a fair amount of thought. This post is the first that comes to mind from some of my recent writings.

Today I was introduced to Leo Babauta, who writes a great blog called Zen Habits. Click on Leo’s name above, you’ll see he does some other cool stuff too.

The title of this post comes directly from his post, Fear is the Root of Your Problems because I’m not sure it can be said any better.

I linked to Leo based on a conversation that started with the relationship between fear and procrastination. Though this is a connection I’ve made before.

The connection I hadn’t made before, and my larger takeaway from Leo’s post, is that fear isn’t something to be conquered, but to realize that it’s something within us.

In other words, it’s something for us to recognize, understand, and accept about ourselves.

The next time fear arises inside of you, what will you feel, think, do?

Instead of the need to go battle against your fear, what if you joined forces with your “enemy”?

Or what if you let your fear fuel you?

Instead of a need to conquer, how about you chose to coexist, even allow the fear to fuel you?

Where might this take you? Your work? Your relationships with others? And your relationship with yourself?

Leo’s got some terrific suggestions in his post that are worth a gander.

—–

This evening at dinner I was chatting with a friend about her friend who is going through a challenging time. Family member with cancer. Job down the tubes. No relationship in sight.

All complaining, all the time. No sunshine in sight. And my friend wasn’t exactly sure what she could do for her.

I wondered was causing her to feel and act this way? What was this friend of my friend most fearful of?

I shared with my friend my new learning about fear and my intention to write about it tonight.

She immediately mentioned the way Elizabeth Gilbert talks about fear as something you invite to come along on your journey, but don’t give voting rights to for any decision.

What a beautiful thought. Do you need to read that again?

My friend described her personal fears as this wounded part that needed extra care and attention.

I thought back to this friend of my friend who seems to be having a rough go at it.

It seemed like she was trying to convince my friend – and likely others – that she wasn’t going to make it.

But why?

Why does she prefer the status quo when the power is within her to change?

And if she’s having trouble, help is at her side. What keeps holding her back from moving beyond the pain and the fear?

No matter who we are or however well-adapted or well-equipped to deal with any and everything life throws at us, it seems to me that fear will never really leave us and will always be a part of us.

It’s like a person – one who is a mainstay in our lives. They may come and go, but they are always there. Maybe we like to interact with them, maybe not. But either way, we must. They are a part of our lives.

But how would you choose to interact with them?

And how do you choose to interact with your fear?

Do you try to conquer?

Do you just take away its voting rights?

Or maybe there’s another way?

What role does fear play in the story of your life?

Why choose fear when you can choose love?

No matter where you are or with whom you’re with.

How might a different way of interacting with fear influence your work? Your relationships with others? And your relationship with yourself?

Just Married!

I just got married recently.

It’s not the most conventional marriage. And you’re about to be pretty surprised when I tell you I married myself.

A couple months ago I realized that I had been struggling with depression (see Moustaches and Mental Illness).

Tracy McMillan has a TEDx talk worth listening to where she describes her personal relationship with marriage and her evolving relationship with herself.

<see below>

Tracy and I don’t quite have the same story, but she shared an idea about how important it is to build a relationship with yourself so that you’re whole that I really connected with.

It makes perfect sense, right? Totally intuitive, yah?

Well, there was a period of time where I lost myself. I struggled with my identity – who I was and what exactly was I doing. And I was operating with much less than my whole self.

Tracy has a line in this talk that really speaks to the reason why I’m talking about this difficult stuff in such a public way, “The places where you have your biggest challenges in you life are the places where you have the most to give, if you do your inner work.”

Regular, focused, writing was such an important tool to help me do my inner work and it made such a difference in helping me to find the road back to myself. I was reminded what a powerful compass writing can be.

And that’s why I share as I have most recently on Finding My Voice Here. Maybe this helps you think about the relationship you’re having with another or the relationship you’re having with yourself?

Tracy touches on several vows in her talk. And I’ll let you watch the video to hear what she has to say on that, but the big takeaway for me about marrying yourself is that you become able to love in this whole new way. Loving people right where they are, for who they are, just the same way you are loving yourself.

And that’s how I feel today. It’s an incredible feeling to love myself in this way, again. And to be able to share this same love with others. These days, I am sharing the love, as much as I can, wherever and with whomever I am.

I’d like to think that I was married before, but went through a tough spot. For better or for worse, in sickness or in health, I was given another chance. And I came back, a better lover than ever before, eager and excited to share more love with you.

The person you really need to marry | Tracy McMillan | TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen

Moustaches and Mental Illness

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I felt pretty down and out. For awhile.

I didn’t know exactly what it was. I thought I had identified the problem(s) as well as a number of solutions.

But I didn’t realize that the problem(s) and solution(s) ultimately resided in myself.

I knew I needed a change. I first started to “see someone” in June.

Yes, I was in a relationship at the time.

But this new relationship was not to run from my relationship with my love, but to find my way back to her. I was having trouble finding my way on my own.

So after battling with myself for much longer than I realized (something I came to understand only over time), June was when I first started to see a therapist.

Though I knew this before, I never fully appreciated how many of the challenges in our relationships with others are often rooted in the challenges we have with – and within – ourselves.

See, it’s easy to tell stories. Stories that we believe ourselves and tell to others. But sometimes those stories we tell others are the path by which we run away. Our energy is driven by fear, not love. And even those closest to us have a tough time seeing that. They only want the best for us – they listen to us, comfort us, console us, and hope that we will feel better.

But how many of them realize when there is something deeper lurking underneath?

And even when they do, can they be impartial to help us sort things out?

We all have our own stuff we’re sorting out. We have our own histories and experiences, even if we have grown up in the same home(s), gone to the same school(s), worked at the same job(s), or have spent social time together. Each of us are unique, our own selves. We don’t always come in pretty packages. We carry around various amounts of baggage in various forms.

It’s not until we’re able to spend a focused amount of time, over an extended period of time, with someone who is trained to be impartial, that we have a chance of finding someone to talk to that will not project their own feelings and biases on us and our situation.

What I didn’t realize about therapy is that it isn’t about anything or anyone else as much as it is about ourselves.

Did you know there are therapists who won’t keep photos of any kind in their office?

Even things like photos can serve as distractions to those who come to the office already distracted by far too much input.

Because when we’re dealing with me, myself, and I, it can already be confusing enough.

We think or feel this way and that way.

Then we add in all the feedback from others.

This person’s opinion, that person’s opinion, and other peoples opinions.

And the thing is, they all have good intentions. But since there is so much noise. It can be confusing.

But what do we think – deep down inside? And how do we navigate through the noise and find these thoughts in places that can be so lovely, yet so dark, and deep?

Writing was my compass on my journey to find the light at the end of the tunnel. But, it was a process.

I didn’t fully realize I had been depressed until this past November. And I’d like to give some credit to the month of Movember. The moustache truly is an incredible catalyst to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to learn and talk about their health and take action when needed.

We can trace early efforts to improve myself as far back as Fall 2013. That said, my intellectual promiscuity was also close to its peak. That was a phase. And in its wake, change was slow-going. I did make some progress in the winter and spring that followed. And this past summer changes were more significant. Though the real turning points didn’t start to emerge until I chose to “see someone.” Regularly.

Because you can recover from most things if you choose to focus on it, to face it, to work through it. I spent so much time talking and thinking about it, but was never truly focused. I created space, filled it up with other people and things and “projects” and neglected to focus on what was most important.

The way I went about it was just my form of running away. I had convinced myself I was working on it, but I was just waiting. And in the meantime, I couldn’t express myself, I couldn’t focus on anything else, get much of anything done, make decisions, see much of any future beyond what was in front of me, and I alternated between waking up way early or not being able to pull myself out of bed.

That had never happened to me before. I rationalized it all as me being able to see the problem(s). But the biggest problem was that I couldn’t see or prioritize the right problems.

These days, I realize that during that time I was blind. I’m so happy that I can see again. And this time, what I see is a present and a future that is brighter and full of more texture than ever before.

You see, depression is all about love, actually. It’s about forgetting – or neglecting – to love ourselves.

Many of us know from experience that love can be painful.

Not loving yourself can result in the greatest pain of all.

And loving yourself? Can result in the greatest love of all.

Some people who know me may just see great energy.

Some who know me better see elements of the old plus some new or improved elements in a better me today.

People have told me about things over these past few years that I did and said that I don’t remember or recognize. And there are quite a number of other things that I absolutely do remember and am not proud to admit.

Again, let’s come back to the idea that in depression we can’t love ourselves – or others – fully.

On my road back to love, I have needed to own my feelings of inadequacy, to recognize all the running I was doing, and to reconcile and be willing to understand, consider, and face doubt. Doubt in both myself and the doubt that would come from others.

These are things that I needed to own, have taken steps to own, and own today in order to move beyond where I was to who I am.

Once you start to move beyond the depression, you start to embrace parts of yourself that you haven’t embraced before, or perhaps just a long time.

And things are different. Sometimes even the people that love you most can have the hardest time realizing and accepting that you’ve changed, even when that’s what they were always hoping for.

We find solutions to our problems when we seek to understand, choose to accept, and find the confidence to accommodate.

Embracing a solutions-oriented approach takes great courage. It is one of the highest form of love.

I write this post not so whomever reads it will feel sorry for me or what happened. This isn’t a sob story, but a story of hope.

It’s me being honest with myself as much as I’m being honest with you.

And the internet.

Mental illness has such a terrible stigma.

And you hear stuff like that all the time. There are a lot of things out there that are stigmatized.

But I can speak about this one from personal experience.

Though I can only speak about it like this now, with this kind of confidence, because I have been honest with myself and others about my depression. And I have chosen to embrace love over fear.

I used to be afraid of being judged. But now I realize those who judge me for the problems of my past may still be grappling with their own problems, which may not be past.

I hope we can continue to find kindness in our hearts and to be kind to each other.

But either way, for those who will judge me, I will forgive them.

And if that’s you, I forgive you too.

Please make no mistake. Depression can happen to any of us. Though not every problem is because of depression. And I’m not suggesting that we’re all depressed, we’re not.

But whatever is keeping us down, we can’t hide from it. We sometimes must open ourselves to the things that hurt us most, in order to move beyond.

And we must be honest with ourselves and with others.

There are things we may be dealing with that we and the others who care about us most are unable to see or are not equipped to be impartial. To listen to you, about you, only. Some people are trained for this. That’s why they have initials like MD or PhD at the end of their name.

The rest of us just think we’re experts. We have feelings, don’t we? Well we must be in a good position to give others advice on their complex thoughts and feelings given we’ve had plenty of complex thoughts and feelings ourselves.

It does take time and it does take work to move beyond where we are, wherever and whatever that may be. It takes time talking to others, but specifically talking with people who can be impartial. I didn’t have that in my life before. I felt I could only confide my most important challenges to a small circle of people.

And it’s important to note that the problems I had did not stop when I started seeing someone. The problems stopped when I started to stand up for myself and put in the necessary work on myself. Some parts of this journey have been a solo mission.

But, however you choose to deal with what might be holding you back, your challenges need not constrict you. Life is full of paradox. As humans we’re able to feel both love and fear simultaneously. But that doesn’t mean we can’t choose one over the other.

Which would you rather win out?

And who will play the role of impartial judge to keep you honest with yourself?

—–

Today’s photo comes from the good folks at Movember. And as far as Movember goes, I would encourage you to explore this quick rundown of 5 reasons for the poor state of men’s health. There’s a lot to do with prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and cancer in general. But the oft-forgotten, stigmatized, and misunderstood dynamics of mental health are real.

It’s a possibility that we may be dealing with it, just not able, or willing, to see it. Not everybody has a clinical condition.

And it could happen – or be happening – to someone you love. Or someday even you.

Be careful. And be kind to others – and yourself.

Are You Okay?

I met Charles Vogl a couple months ago. I’ve been to plenty of presentations that talk about sharing ideas. I typically attend multiple in-person talks each week. I’m a lover of TED. And I was extremely impressed with the workshop he delivered one Friday afternoon.

Charles spoke about connecting to your idea and sharing that story with others in a way that was so deeply personal, that I continue to think about it off and on now almost months removed.

Have you thought about how much what you do matters to you?

How you thought about the why’s behind why it really matters to you at the core? How about why it matters to others?

This may not be for everyone, but it certainly was for me.

After the workshop, one thing lead to another, and Charles and I agreed that we’d take an adventure down to New York City for the best Chinese food America has to offer.

He was was convinced of this long ago and was eager to go back. I was curious.

We got a car. And drove to Queens. And, well, … you’ll have to give it a try for yourself.

But if you need any help, or a vote of confidence that the food is fantastic, I’d sure be happy to join you for your next meal at the New World Mall food court.

The Sunday we went down to Flushing, I was a bit late to pick up Charles. I don’t think he was psyched about it. But the first words out of his mouth were, “Are you okay?”

I had been a bit on edge, and there was more behind my being late than just being late. Though after he said that I immediately felt more at ease.

We ended up having a lovely discussion on the ride down to New York on life, love, and relationships.

Charles got me thinking how it can be the easiest thing in the world to get frustrated about something, especially with the people we love most. But, what else might be going on that we didn’t or don’t see?

In any situation, be it with someone you know or someone you don’t, you always have two choices – to be proactive or reactive.

Let me think aloud how I would describe these two choices –

To be reactive is to immediately react. That usually comes in the form of anger, criticism, or cutting commentary.

To be proactive is to seek to understand before judgement. It’s a much more empathetic approach, and a question like, “Are you okay?” is the natural starting point.

The next time you find yourself getting frustrated with someone for something, what would it take for you to choose,”Are you okay?” as the first thing you say to that person?

How might it change each of your feelings in that moment? Might it open you up to an important conversation about something that might lie a bit deeper? Or might it just make both of your days just a little bit better?

I Have Enough Love in My Life, Thanks

“I have enough love in my life.”

Have you ever said that to someone?

Has anyone ever said that to you?

Have you ever heard anyone say that to someone else?

My Dad and I were chatting about this the other day and I’m still thinking about it today.

Many of us seek out, are interested in, get hurt by, have a hard time expressing, perhaps find ourselves regularly thinking about… love.

So why do we so often dismiss it when people genuinely show us that love?

Do we even realize this about ourselves?

Sometimes it’s even done in the smallest of ways in our daily interactions.

Here’s a small example. I know he’s reading and hope he won’t mind since this already started with him anyway. (Update: I checked, he doesn’t.)

My Dad made this comment on my post, All-Timers with Alzheimer’s.

Initial reaction – Dad! Why do you have to write stuff like that on my blog?! There’s no content. No discussion. Nothing useful, interesting, insightful, or productive about your comment.

But what if he was just showing his love?

Now, I’m not saying this is an open-invitation for him to write stuff like that all the time. Because I personally think it’s distracting and could detract from any point I’d like to make in a public forum.

Yes, I’d much rather he share the love in an email to me, or text, or phone call, or next time we see each other in person.

But instead of responding to love with anything but, why not choose to match love with love?

Sure, I could just as easily argue that he should understand me, he should know this is how I feel, and I definitely think we’ve had this conversation before so he should remember!

But the intention was a love-ly one. He’s just trying to share the love and all I have is to share negative energy back?

Maybe he just needs a reminder about why this might not be the ideal way you receive love. Why not a gentle reminder instead of a harsh one?

Wouldn’t you like someone to be gentle with you, especially if you were trying to share your love with them and unknowingly coming up a bit short?

When is your next chance to love on someone else? No need to wait to show reactive love, why not a little proactive love?

Say hello to a stranger. Hug an acquaintance.  Compliment someone on a meaningful exchange – be it someone at work or another regular interaction or exchange.

What’s the worst that could happen?

“Oh, I’m sorry, I have enough love in my life, thanks.”

My bet? That probably won’t happen.

Love,

MCK

—–

P.S. In sharing this post with my Dad before posting, what we realized through our conversation was that he wasn’t trying to comment on the blog at all! He’s not exactly the king of technology, so what he meant to be an email response to me, ended up being an email response that went straight to the comments section of the blog. Whooops! Just another reminder for me that conversations like these beat jumping to conclusions any day.

No image today.

Improv for All-Timers and at All-Times

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Even before I realized Babci’s memories were leaving her for far off lands, I heard an incredible segment on an episode of This American Life (532: Magic Words) over the summer.

It was a story of a couple living with their mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s.

The story was wrought with challenge – it’s tough to see someone you love, the person who raised you, who you always looked up to, who always took care of you, not only no longer able to take care of themselves, but to forget you.

You who now are taking care of them.

When you’ve shared so many memories over the years – people and places, food and fun, ups and downs, and many more – how could they forget? They meant so much to both of you.

And sometimes the strangest things come out of their mouths. Something crazy if not just plain wrong!

Who wants to hear all the time how they can’t remember anything? How wrong they are? This isn’t the way to do that! Why can’t you …?

Though it must only get harder when the person who you are working so hard to be so patient with shows no recollection of, nor patience with, you.

But what if you took whatever they had to say at face value?

What if you went with the flow and joined them where they were, with what they were doing? (How ’bout those monkeys!)

What if you believed what they were telling you, as much as they believed it themselves?

Sometimes we budget the least amount of patience to those closest to us, especially when we assume they should know something or do something or [______] something.

But it’s not just with our loved ones with Alzheimer’s that we do this with. Nor just our loved ones.

It’s easy to do this with the many we people know and many others we don’t.

Improv is about responding in the moment, not reacting.

It’s about going with the flow. It’s about laughing, a lot. It’s about not being afraid to make a mistake and not pointing a finger at others when they falter.

In fact, mistakes don’t exist. It’s all just a matter of circumstance.

What was just said? What was just done? How will we respond? What will we do next? How does the scene end up in the end?

We could just as easily put a negative bend on the above questions as we could a positive one.

But the spirit of improv is about opening our mind to possibilities. Testing out unknown waters. Believing you (and those with you) can. And always giving it another go.

What if we embraced improv in our daily lives? How might your life and the lives of others be enhanced with a slightly different mindset and approach?

What might it take for you to start to share the improv love at home*?

—–

Karen Stobbe (Karen from the 20 minute episode, which is definitely worth a listen) offers workshops on how to use the tools of improv with people who have dementia. She also has this interesting .pdf on the Parallels of Alzheimer’s and Improvisation.

*Karen also introduced me to this quote via her website in the moment:

“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.” – Mother Teresa

Today I Google’d “Alzheimer’s” and found the photo you see above.

The article is actually from MTV.com and encourages us to take action on Alzheimer’s. It even links to the 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s page that I saw on a commercial last night.

Coincidence?

Honest Liars and the Psychology of Self-Deception

We all know that honesty is the best policy. So when was the last time you were honest with yourself?

It’s a rare moment when I don’t feel like talking or engaging with anyone or anything.

Today was a bit too full-on. I came home thinking I was ready to call it a day.

And so, I thought I’d watch a short video as I headed towards dreamland.

Best mistake I made this week.

Honest Liars – the psychology of self-deception a TEDxUNLV talk by Dr. Cortney S. Warren was 13 minutes well spent, that really got me thinking for the better part of an hour.

Dr. Warren flawlessly delivers content that is not so easy to hear.

And if we’re willing to engage with what she has to say, rather than assume she’s talking about people other than ourselves, there are some powerful messages to consider and grapple with.

I might go back to list all the great lines at some point down the road, but in the interim, here are two good ones:

“Not changing when confronted with the truth is a choice.”

“When we admit who we really are, we have the opportunity to change.”

Don’t wait another moment. Watch this yourself.

And then, if time allows, I’d take a spin through Dr. Warren’s website choosehonesty.com.

Leading Role Players

In the conversation around leadership, it couldn’t be more timely than to include Kevin Ollie, head coach of the University of Connecticut (UConn) Huskies. What an 18-months, what a season, what a March, what a story. And when you take time to dig a little deeper, what a story of years of hard work, years of giving, years of teaching, and profound love.

Last night, before the big game, I wanted to see what Wikipedia had to say about Coach Ollie. This paragraph pretty much says it all:

NBA player Kevin Durant in an interview with Grantland said that Kevin Ollie (who played for Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-2010) “taught him the ropes”, and “changed the culture of Oklahoma City”. He also said, “Kevin Ollie, he was a game changer for us. I think he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City. Just his mind set, professionalism, every single day. And we all watched that, and we all wanted to be like that. It rubbed off on Russell Westbrook, myself, Jeff Green, James Harden. And then everybody who comes through now, it’s the standard that you’ve got to live up to as a Thunder player. And it all started with Kevin Ollie.”

I got to thinking about other Kevin-like players in the NBA who do not boast impressive stats, but add something far more valuable, something that cannot be added up in the box score.

Who are the Kevin Ollie characters in our lives or who could be in our lives? Who are the people around us who have something incredible to offer, who lead by example and inspire those they serve? What platform can we provide for them to shine even more brightly?

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If you have some time, read these three articles about Coach Ollie. I found the way the article Kevin Ollie: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know breaks down playing on 13 teams in 12 NBA seasons (team and salary) was especially interesting.

Last, it’s hard not to be inspired by Coach Ollie in this 18 minute talk that came from the 5 Fast Facts article above.