Jerry Lynch, author of The Competitive Buddha, has written a new blog post where he shares an excerpt of one of the Buddhist Eightfold Path’s leadership values he discusses in his book.
RIGHT SPEECH FOR SERVANT LEADER
Here is a new excerpt on one of the Buddhist Eightfold Path’s leadership values. I will do a few more but not all. Here we go.
According to the mindful leader, right speech involves five conditions: speak at the right time, speak only the truth, speak gently without hardness, speak words that benefit others and speak with loving kindness, avoiding all maliciousness. The key factor in Right Speech is the creating of harmony and happiness among those you lead while at the same time avoiding harmful words to reduce suffering. All of this is relevant when speaking to oneself as well.
The basic rule of thumb for Right Speech is if it is helpful, true, factual, timely and pleasing, then you may say it. If something is not pleasing, yet helpful, true and factual, you may need to choose the right time to say it. All Right Speech needs to be pleasing. All Right Speech gives rise to peace, happiness and connection in oneself and others. If you as coach get off this path, that’s fine but know that with such awareness you can choose to get right back on track.
Sports leadership is a perfect venue to provide many opportunities to practice Right Speech. In the cultures I help coach teams we choose to compete and live by values that enhance how we relate and speak to one another. Respect, compassion, joy, selflessness, love, trust, mindfulness and positivity help to create environments where Right Speech can proliferate. There is no room for whining, drama or harsh behavior in places that wish to inspire mastery.
Right Speech is rooted in the fundamental belief that we truly care for one another. Masterful performance and mindful leadership in sports is all about such caring. Steve Kerr, head coach of the champion Golden State Warriors, told me recently that “I want to make sure that my guys feel valued, respected, important and relevant.” When they feel this way, magic happens and they compete at higher levels. But how does he do this? How do any of us make this happen?
How can we best demonstrate our caring for each other? It’s not about connecting my professional coaching head to your head. It’s about connecting my human heart to your human heart using Right Speech. The following can help you to better understand this factor in your coaching.
To connect my heart to yours, I imagine that I open the little door to my heart and become mindful of how I care for you. This “open door” policy reminds me to be caring, genuine, authentic, and vulnerable. I can then use Right Speech such as “I love being with you. There’s not another team (person) I’d rather be with than you right now.”
How does that make you feel? How do you think your athletes would feel if they heard this? Have you ever said this to an athlete? Why not? To not do this, there’s a chance you could lose them. To do it, you increase the chance of getting your team to go the distance, to work harder, to be loyal, and become mentally
tougher. Performance on and off the court is all about how the coach leads with Right Speech; how you feel is how you’ll perform. It’s really quite simple. When you care for your athletes like this, they reach their full potential. How you impact another, with regard to how they feel can be determined by what I call the RIVER effect.
Having kindness through Right Speech for all others is what the RIVER effect is truly about. The RIVER effect is a five-letter acronym that I use consistently as a reminder for me to be mindful and extend kindness to all my relationships. It helps me to connect and care more deeply. I do what I can to help others feel the RIVER and what it represents. In that regard, I want others to feel relevant, remarkable, important, inspired, valued, validated, empowered, excited, respected, and revered.
How do those you coach behave, act, play, work, and compete, when they feel the river consuming them? When you remember and adopt the acronym RIVER, you can easily create amazing opportunities to inspire, empower, validate, and respect others using Right Speech. It becomes a mindful touchstone that, when used, increases the chances that others will be loyal, go the distance, work harder, and be mentally strong.
The following are examples of Right Speech that you can use to coach the RIVER effect with others.
- You’re important to this team. We need your awesome efforts.
- I love your work ethic. It motivates all of us. (Remarkable)
- If you keep playing like that, you’ll be one of the best athletes I’veever coached. (Inspired)
- We value your presence on this team. You bring out the best ineveryone. (Valued)
- That last week of practice was one of your best thus far. (Validated)
- I want to give you permission to keep being a great leader. (Inspired)
- When you play and compete like that, you’re being a true champion.(Empowered)
- Without you, we wouldn’t be the great team we are. (Revered)
- I appreciate and love how much you give of yourself to yourteammates. (Important)Golden State Warrior head coach, Steve Kerr, uses the RIVER concept on a consistent basis and by so doing, gets the most from his players. Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks is always looking for an opportunity to demonstrate similar
caring strategies that help his athletes feel respected and important. I told him about the RIVER acronym, and he agreed how helpful that is in bringing out the best in others.
Cindy Timchal, winningest lacrosse coach ever, for men or women, has adopted and adapted the RIVER effect to her coaching style. When she’s mindful of using it, she notices that there is a major “buy-in” to her system. She bathes her athletes in the RIVER and then notices the tsunami, that is, how “the athletes are super willing to put it all out on the field.”
While I didn’t realize it at the time, my first and only meeting with the iconic men’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, Dean Smith, showed me that he was brilliant at using the RIVER effect, even though he hadn’t thought about it in this way. He was the kind of leader who used deep, genuine Right Speech. Following an intimate 45-minute meeting together, I felt so inspired, valued, and important that I committed myself to writing my book, Coaching with Heart.
The RIVER effect fulfills all of the components of Right Speech. It is helpful, true, factual and pleasing and the time is always perfect for such words. Make the RIVER your “go-to” acronym for effective leadership.
The Competitive Buddha
How to Up Your Game in Sports, Leadership and Life
Connect Spirituality to Sports. The Competitive Buddha is about mastery, leadership, and spirituality. Learn what you need to keep, what you need to discard, and what you need to add to your mental, emotional, and spiritual skill set as an athlete, coach, leader, parent, CEO, or any other performer in life. Understand how Buddhism can help you to be better prepared for sports and life, and how sports and life can teach you about Buddhism. Discover how people from all parts of the world have brought together the Buddha and athletics for greater fun, enjoyment, and pleasure during their performances. Dr. Jerry Lynch demonstrates how certain timeless core Buddha values inspire you to embrace and navigate unchartered waters, and understand the Buddha-mind and the Kobe Bryant Mamba Mentality.