A high school pitcher got the winning strikeout that sent his team to the state championship. He ran toward home plate, seemingly to celebrate with his catcher. As the catcher ran toward him, he waved him off and proceeded toward the opposing team’s batter — the one he just struck out. It turns out they had been friends for a lifetime. (Watch video clip here.)
He grabbed the batter and told him what a great season he’d had, how proud he was of him and how important their friendship was to him. While he lingers at the plate, encouraging and investing in his long-time friend, his team mates gather at the mound celebrating the win (without their pitcher). Ty Koehn knew the celebration could wait, the relationship was the priority.
In an interview following the game, Ty said the friendship was far more important than winning the game. Ty was aware that he would never get that exact moment back to comfort and inspire his friend. It’s not often that we see such a clear model of prioritizing people over accomplishments.
In a fast pace, high demand society, recognizing and understanding what the other person needs is a skill the majority are lacking. I sat at a lunch table of five upbeat, lively conversationalists, except for the one — one woman was uncharacteristically quiet. In a meeting of professionals making a handful of decisions, a colleague was berated. Parents corrected a child for simple, childlike behavior without understanding what drove the behavior and the child walked away dejected. No one seized the moment to prioritize the relationship. Instead, they focused only on the the accomplishments. Stepping into other’s shoes is not only for Hollywood actors. Prioritizing relationships accomplishes more than the task at hand.
What could you do today to place a higher priority on people than accomplishments?