Dana's My Coach

Find your game… play… repeat.

What have you done to Play lately?

“Congratulations. You have found the project that expands your spirit!” These were the words of Sylvester Becker when I described to him how what started as a tentative idea took hold and developed into a full-blown project (maybe even a second business??) that is bringing my family and hopefully a number of other families a lot of joy, the Casey Elementary Fittest Family Contest.


Let me back up a step…earlier this year when I decided not to move out of Austin, I started looking for a community that would bridge my personal and professional life and serve as a sort of extended family for me and my boys. I thought a church would offer such a community. After checking out countless church services and Sunday schools I got discouraged (at one, Johannes was punched in the face by another boy and then told to ask Jesus for forgiveness!)


Around this time one of my sons told me, “Mom, I like Jesus, but I don’t want to talk about him anymore.” I got the point. My quest to find a spiritual community was not working out very well!


Soon after, the boys came home one day and said they wanted me to join the PTA at their school. I thought that was a terrible idea but agreed to it because they were so insistent! At the first meeting I realized this was the community I had been searching for. I was surrounded by other professional, warm-hearted and positive men and women who were parents (like me) and passionate about working together to do the right thing for our kids and teachers (like me).


Being a go-getter, I was immediately recruited to the Executive Board and put in charge of Healthy Lifestyles. When I asked what I was supposed to do, the President, Lisa Garcia, said, “Whatever you want. I know you have ideas…I have faith in you.” So I told her my idea was to make a game for families to play that would get them to engage with each other in fun, health-oriented activities. As a coach my job is not to criticize or change people, but find what inspires them and then help them find a way to fulfill it. In other words create a game!…and then reward them for playing with prizes (because rewards are important…whether you win or lose, you should always get a reward just for playing full out!)


Once I spoke it out loud, Lisa and the rest of the Board, the school Principal, and the PE teacher were excited and supportive and started taking action. A team formed, things started getting done! Each step they took gave me energy to keep going with the project so I started contacting sponsors about prizes. Soon great companies and organizations were on board like RunTex and Mellow Johnny’s and Texas River School. Almost by magic, a website was created (see above), flyers were made and ‘FitBucks’ were printed out to be distributed to participants which could be cashed in later for the prizes.


Now the project is well underway, nearly 40 families have officially registered to participate, many of them also joined the PTA (which is good for kids, parents and teachers) and our kickoff event is scheduled for this Saturday.


When Sylvester said this was the project that expands my spirit, he was referring to the fact that everyone who wants to be in high performance needs two projects: one that activates the mind (5% of our total force), or reaches a linear goal with a logical path, and one that activates the spirit, or the non-linear intelligence (80% of our force).


The Casey Fittest Family Contest is a project that I never would have thought of if I had been trying to reach my own agenda, or advance the goals of my company. It is successful simply because it has a life of its own, it activates the spirit. It gets me to play…and playing with others is not only good for the spirit, it’s good for business!


What project do you have that makes you play?

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