Looking at the Opportunity

Today’s post comes from the world of sports and is specifically focused on the football program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  I hope that those of you that are either not sports fans or not fans of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will still continue to read because I feel the situation of focus has application to many areas of life. 

In late July, Everett Withers was named Interim Head Football Coach for UNC Chapel Hill.  Immediately prior to being promoted to this position, he had been the defensive coordinator and secondary coach for UNC.  Withers is entering his 24th year coaching football at the college and professional levels but this will be his first stint as a head football coach – a position he has always wanted.

But, as many of you know, the situation is not rosy.  Many might shy away from this type of job offer.  Here is a sampling of what Withers faces:

  •  The UNC football program has been under NCAA scrutiny for more than a year.
  • This NCAA investigation has resulted in nine allegations of potential major violations including academic fraud and impermissible benefits.  These allegations will probably lead to formal NCAA sanctions on the UNC football program.
  • Withers was offered the position after the former head coach was fired presumably due to the NCAA investigation and allegations. 
  • Withers was offered the interim position just over a week before football practice was set to begin in August and just over a month before the first game of the season.
  • It is a one year interim position with no guarantees after the current football season.

That is a lot to try to digest as you contemplate accepting a new job – right?

Well here is what Withers said when asked about accepting this position given all of the facts above.

“I guess I didn’t look at the situation; I looked at the opportunity.”

So Everett Withers saw an opportunity to go after something he had always wanted to do.  Something he had prepared for all of his life.  He recognized the challenges but also saw the opportunity, and he went for it!  He has a full season to show what he can do.  The best case scenario is that everything goes well and he is offered the head coaching job at UNC after this season is over.  The worst case scenario is that it does not work out at UNC.  If that happens at least he gave it his best.  He can take what he learned from the experience and grow from it.  I certainly admire him for trying.

This really is not that much different from the types of challenges the rest of us face regularly.  Okay, so Wither’s situation is pretty extreme and in public view, but  we all face challenges of some variety almost every day related to our jobs, our families, our outlook on life, etc.  If we can look at these challenges as opportunities we can grow from them.

To take this a step further, earlier this week I read a short post called “What Are You Bringing?” at the Circle Project blog.  You might want to read it as I think it offers great advice on how to handle many of life’s challenges.  In this post, Patti Digh recommends that when faced with a challenge, situation, obstacle, opportunity etc. that rather than asking “what can I get” from it we should instead ask ourselves “what can I bring” to it.  She explains that asking “what can I bring” puts us in a problem solving or creative state of mind rather than the more passive “what can I get” and therefore allows us to better face the challenge.  Maybe Coach Withers is looking at the UNC Interim Head Football Coach position from a “what can I bring” perspective.

What opportunities are you facing in your life?  What can you bring to those opportunities?  Please feel free to share by leaving a comment!

Steve Strother

Articles and blogs used as research for this post:

Raleigh News & Observer Article – “New Coach Gets High Marks – http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/07/30/1378559/new-coach-gets-high-marks.html

 Everett Withers Bio at TarHeelBlue.com – http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/withers_everett00.html

The Circle Project Blog – “What Are You Bringing?” – http://thecircleproject.com/what-are-you-bringing/

About Steve Strother

I am a husband/father/human being looking for ways to move past the status quo. I strive to find solutions; to find the positive; to celebrate the joyous, the just, and the inspirational. Living peacefully and compassionately in the present is my ultimate goal. I love to write! To learn more about me please visit my blog at stevesthinkingspace.wordpress.com.
This entry was posted in challenge, college football, inspiration, leadership, North Carolina, opportunity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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