Ajani O
4 min readOct 5, 2021

Quick 8…..

I’m “not well" and I don’t know if it’s feeling not well or being not well… what does this mean?

I’ve had some tough moments in the last 2 months including the worst working spell (for 2–3 weeks) of my career. The football team I coach is a bit of a nightmare at the moment too and I feel a lot of responsibility for that…. Even though it could likely have nothing to do with me performance wise since I’m not playing. I feel responsible for not being able to motivate the unit as necessary. I’m not able to “breakthrough” even when I’m coming up with different approaches. It reveals the whole aspect of working smart and not hard…. And granted everything I’ve done may have been necessary and what’s required for the group….. however, the results matter and they speak for themselves… we suck and we don’t look like we’ll be getting better anytime soon. I have to reconcile that and consider that there is some ego at play here…. Not in the sense of claiming responsibility for success but…. In the fact that I take pride in my work regardless of the results… So I have a level of bias… or a blindspot within my coaching approach which would be to assume that someone’s presence means they are present…. And having the same conversation with me when they are expressing themselves… it clearly appears not to be the case.

I’ve been very open with the kids to tell them to share what they think and to share everything they think regarding the system and the challenges they’re facing within it during practices and gamea…. One of those blind spots is probably to assume that these kids are confident enough to even do that. Considering I don’t know what they go through at home… and likely will use my own childhood as a reference… where I would speak up and be insanely happy to have a Coach giving me the opportunity to speak up… some of these kids must not be able to express themselves because they’re not encouraged to do so at home… thereby I’ve put them in an odd position… and in conflict in their own minds without realizing so… and it’s seeped into our results and performances on the field…. I have never seen heads drop so fast because a pass is caught or a tackle is missed… there’s no “next play" or “next man up" accountability in this squad… and I honestly cannot fathom why in many ways… because I was that player who could move on… it wasn’t always positive but I had the fear of not playing at the bare minimum for me to ensure j performed. I’m not motivated by fear now so maybe I’m supposed to be training them in that way to help paint the big picture? I’m not so sure….

Anyway this is to examine my abilities to communicate… these last 2 months have been tough on me and my lack of ability in that space… when in a new crowd or audience. I’ve had the worst moments of my life communication wise because of the lack of active listening within others…. However that’s simply too easy to say and I cannot accept that it’s “them and not me". It has to be me… it takes two to tango and I bear responsibility somewhere in this process… I may not bear accountability but I have to be responsible for all aspects of communication that comes from my mouth… people aren’t like me and won’t ask questions to scale discussions to their own understanding… I didn’t ever consider that to be a special or unique skill within myself…. Meaning I also assume this to be what everyone else is doing when they’re not.

It’s been difficult to be the “mirror" to myself. Having the level of self awareness I’ve acquired has made these moments very self isolating… it’s been very easy for me to trace back to certain moments and consider myself a failure.

One reason for that is I pride myself on continuous improvement… when looking for those improvement areas I end up rehashing events that have already passed… it’s not healthy for me since it can make me “unwell"… and I’ll end where I start…. Feeling or being unwell? That is the question I’ll be focused on answering as I go forward.

One positive of all of this is…. I haven’t been burying my head in the sand… I’ve been confident enough to let people around me to who are relying on me know that I am “failing"… that I’m at my capacity and I don’t have much left to give…. They’ve been so supporting and that’s pushed me onwards. Hopefully this is just a bump in the road to me being able to know when, where and how I am either well or unwell as I grow into whatever opportunities life may be providing for me.

So please, always, stay awesome if you’re reading this! Also, please know, if you’re someone I’ve been communicating with in the last month I really appreciate what you have to offer because it has been tough (out side of work and football…. all 2–4 ppl lol). I cannot deny that at all it continues to mean a lot.

Ajani O

U of T Grad... Project Management Career Seeking Extraordinary Human Being...