I told Jeremy I was going to just write those 2 posts on Pat Summitt and then that would be it. Because, really, I could write a million things about her and the way she lived life. There is just so much there.
But, I thought I should just stop at 2 posts. And then move on to other topics.
However, I changed my mind. Because I can't get this one picture out of my head. And every time I try to write something else, this picture just comes back to me. So I figured I needed to go with it ...
The picture in my head is Coach Pat Summitt alone in a dark laundry room, washing her teams uniforms.
The winningest coach in basketball history. An 8 time national champion. The woman who changed the face of womens athletics.
This woman. This Pat Summitt. The one that is known all over the world.
This woman ... for the first decade as the head basketball coach of the University of Tennessee ... she washed her teams uniforms.
Before she was known, she was content with being unknown. Before she was seen, she was content with being unseen. The path to her greatness started in a place of obscurity. Of hiddenness. Where she allowed her roots to be developed.
In those hours spent washing uniforms, I have a feeling she wasn't thinking about being one day known as the greatest coach in the world. I have a feeling notoriety and recognition were not her driving force. Neither was it what other people thought.
I have a feeling it wasn't about being THE best, it was about being HER best. It wasn't about adding value to herself, it was about adding value to others. She wasn't fighting to be known, because she knew who she was.
Because she understood her 'why', she understood her way. Even when it looked like a laundry room.
And in a social media obsessed, reality tv world, it seems like people are constantly fighting to be seen and known. And if they aren't getting recognition, or money, or attention, then they jump ship to something else. Or strive harder to get attention. Rather than being content with a season of hiddenness, they fight to be known.
Rather than letting roots take place, they try to prematurely bloom.
And you can't live a life of significance if you are desperate for a moment of success.
You have to be fully committed to whatever it is you are given. Committed and determined to be your best. Not the best, but your best. Not the greatest, but your greatest.
And when you focus on adding value to others, you will naturally add value to yourself. You don't have to strive to make it happen. The byproduct of bringing out the best of others, is that the best in you is brought out.
So, when I think about Pat, and I see how celebrated she is. How absolutely incredible her life was. How big of a mark she left in this world as both a person and a coach. When I see the numbers ... the wins ... the championships ... when I read the articles and hear people talk of how amazing she was, I have this picture etched in my mind of her, standing in a laundry room, alone, washing uniforms. And I am reminded that greatness isn't built in a moment. It's built over time in the commitment to doing the little stuff no one sees or cares about. It's built in the willingness to do the dirty work that gets no applause. It's built in the seasons of hiddenness.
So today I encourage you ... don't rush your process. Let your roots go deep. Focus on adding value to others. Be willing to be unseen. Be willing to be unknown. Be willing to embrace seasons of hiddenness. Even when and if it looks like a dark laundry room.