Are you playing for the offense or the defense?
As summer slowly eases into fall, the mornings are crisper, the leaves are starting to turn, and the kids are back to school. Also – it’s football time!
Sports analogies are rampant in our culture and there’s a reason why. A game is life played head on – football often literally! In a game, we see drama, excitement, hope and loss several times over. For most of us, our lives are not as dramatic minute to minute, but the same themes are there, playing out over a lifetime.
And, as with all good metaphors, we can use the themes of offense and defense to examine our own lives and where we’re headed.
Playing for the offense, you’ve clearly defined your goal and where you’re going. You might not know exactly how you’re going to get there, but you can see it. As you progress down the field, you see openings as well as blocks you couldn’t possibly have imagined. You take in all the information around you and make decisions based on what is happening RIGHT NOW.
Hopefully, you have a team of supporters around you, helping you course correct when you get a little too excited or too frustrated, keeping you on track for that touchdown. The more people you have on your team, the easier it is to stay focused, to stay true to your chief aim.
We’d like to think we’re all playing for the offense, keeping our eyes on the prize. But that’s often not the case. Many times, we’re on the defense – taking ourselves further away from what we want by getting involved in other people’s games.
On the defense, we try to keep others from getting to their goals. We get in their way. We think we know better than they do and “just want to help.”
Just as you have your goals, others have their own. They have passions and desires that you can’t possibly fully know and understand – even if it’s a partner in life.
So really examine yourself. Are you supportive or, in the spirit of just being helpful, letting them know how it’s not going to work, giving a multitude of reasons why they will fail or get hurt.
When you act in that role for someone else, you’re not only going to get it right back, you’re taking yourself out of your own game! You find yourself tangled in other people’s games , caught up in extensive drama (that’s not even your own) and exhausting yourself in the process.
If you find yourself playing defense, think about why you’re acting this way. Are you jealous? Insecure? So frustrated with life that you’re unsure of whether true happiness really exists? Do you feel protective and want to keep others from getting their feelings hurt?
Whatever the reason, it’s yours. It’s part of who you are and a result of your experience. It’s also easy to change. It’s only when we support each other, play on the same team – that we all win.
If you want to win, the easiest way is to help others. Sometimes it means being supportive. Sometimes it means simply butting out.