Posted by Jawaid

All Chasing the Same Ball ...

11 October 2014

Having a clear view of where you want to be and having great intentions sometimes ends up with problems and delays.

Having a clear view of where you want to be and having great intentions sometimes ends up with problems and delays.

The above may just not be enough, if you've ever watched (or as I have played in) a football match involving two teams of ten year olds - you'll see what I mean.

They all end up chasing the ball, wherever it goes - It can be quite funny, but extremely tiring when you are part of it.

You realise the most successful players are those that can run the fastest and are the most arrogant or pushy. Now this is not the tip that I'd like to share - but it does have its place (I leave this for another blog/slice of service).

A long, long time ago during a counselling session, I don't mind sharing with you, I had the occasion early during my first marriage to visited Relate (formally named National Marriage Guidance Council) where a counsellor used an analogy involving a football match where individuals in the team were all chasing the ball. The ball indicated the issue that needed resolving at the time and the two teams collectively being two people in a relationship.

Obviously the session was useful but the relationship was irreparable and as I've learnt - If you not getting the right answers then change the conversation.

The point of mentioning this is that we naturally all chase 'the ball' - regardless of having a clear view of where we want to be or no matter the extent of how great our intentions are. 

The missing element is ensuring that we:

1. Identify the activities, steps and/or hurdles to get us where we want to be and prioritise them into a sequence with appropriate timescales, and 

2. Co-ordinate individuals, based on their strengths, into roles and responsibilities and then into a rota of the above activities.

Without a clear understanding of 'who does what' (roles) and 'who is accountable for doing what' (responsibilities) we all end up chasing the ball.

Back to the story with the session with the counsellor, she then increased the intensity of her analogy and introduced several more balls into the game. 

What a great analogy, although I didn't think that at the time - but on reflection several years later - what a great one.

Most issues and problems usually come in pairs or more and as you can imagine  - what happens on a football pitch with two teams of ten year olds all chasing one ball, as soon as you introduce five more - you end up with six groups of tens year olds chasing separate balls, occasionally running into each other while observing individuals swapping elegancies from one ball to another. 

What remains constant is the increase in speed, noise and loud declarations from individuals that this ball they are chasing is the correct ball to chase.

This is not only common on the football pitch but also in life and at work, where only the bystanders can see what is happening. 

A heartfelt note needs to go out to the two opposing goalkeepers, who really don't know what is happening! What intensifies this is the confusion in which ball to save and which is the real ball?

Finally, like most things in life - you may not be successful at your first attempt and most things come to you on your second attempt - as has played out for me in marriage.

Photo credit: makelessnoise / Foter / CC BY

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