Michael Lotief

The Journey of “US” begins.


“I’d like to help people..Lafayette is a nice city …it has a lot of traditions and hospitality that make it a nice place to live.” Michael Lotief, 1980.

In deciding on a vocation, the right question is “What activity do I love so much that I’m going to keep getting better at it, year after year after year?”

“What do I love so much that it captures me – my whole heart and soul and mind?”

When people come together to build something, they make specific, verbal promises and they make implied, silent promises to one another. They care about each other. They promise to work things out, especially in tough times. They expect friction and resolve; they know how to confront and solve big problems even if things get messy. They promise to do their fair share or more of the work. They promise to follow through & stay committed to the mission of building something new and big and bold.

They dare to believe in and chase their DREAMS & inspire others to do the very same.

It’s a search not of your pocket book or the amount of our checking account or a who’s who of your rolodex — moreso, it is a search of your soul: a calling, & almost an obsession; it is the quality of your ideas and the pureness of your heart and the passion of your causes – mine is COACHING.

Picking a WHY that makes a difference & allows you an opportunity to share your time, talents & treasures.

“whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; & whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

“I cannot think of taking the speck of dust out of my neighbor’s eye unless I’m working on the log in my own.” Matthew 7:3-5.

TRUE community & real Institutions are places of love; and understand the meaning of “peace” — where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is despair, hope; where there is sadness, joy. It is in giving that we receive; & it is in pardoning that we are pardoned (Peace Prayer of St. Francis)– even through the pain & through disagreement. In fact, communities and institutions that are strong and really care about each other, encourage disagreement and open dialogue that can be expressed freely precisely because of this unconditional love & the feeling of safety.

The journey of “US” – of building community is done by daily acts of care, pitch by pitch, day after day.

It is done by those who understand who are our NEIGHBORS & who believe in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

A coach is not on a solitary journey, but is immersed in helping others and building ‘US”. He/she sees himself/herself as one who is shaped by the traditions of the sport of softball and feels indebted to make “the game” better & is happy to pay it forward.

His/her work and his/her family are not in different silos. They are interconnected pieces of his service to his/her community.

“US” – is a “village” that has the collective impact, where all parts cooperate and help and participate and invest in a “process” of growth and learning; where “US” takes on complex problems of fairness and together from a lot of vantage points, “US” let’s solutions emerge from purity & transparency.

Contribution: everybody gives. Collaboration: we’re all responsible.

Circle of safety: big ideas & knowledge are used as a “flashlight” to shine on inequities so we can learn/grow & find solutions and common ground instead of as a “hammer” to punish & cause pain.

A coach doesn’t wait for someone else to address the team or community’s problems. Most sustainable improvements occur when people show the moral courage to act.

Good people inconvenience themselves for the sake of their community.When someone is in need, the good neighbor says: hospitality first; especially in Cajun country.

“The secret of life is to have a task, something for you to devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of every day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do”, sculptor, Henry Moore.

Connection happens at the the nexus of truth/hope and love/empathy.

Truth without love & hope is harshness.

Love without truth & empathy & hope is just sympathy.

But if you can be completely honest with somebody in context of loving support, and hope and empathy, then you have the foundation of a trusting relationship.

TEAMS & community are woven through: Honesty. Truth. Intellectual integrity. Pure motives. Hope. Empathy.

Coaching is a vocation and a profession that awakens the heart and engages the soul.

Sport & competition, the pursuit of excellence, family & friendships, being around eternal learners, and paradoxically, being around injustice are all components of coaching.

Coaches live their lives every day with their desires awake and alive. They get out of boring offices and go to places and take on challenges where the real problems are. Coaching is a profession that truly requires you that you understand what serving others and caring deeply and striving valiantly is all about.

Championships are not the measure of champions.

Growth mindset is. Being an eternal learner. Facing challenges and adversity and struggle with perseverance. Perspective. Empathy. Trust. Confidence. Hope.

Winning big games in big moments is not what goes on the top of anybody’s confidence resume rather it’s the journey – it’s daily improvement – it’s the process of going from a plug who is selfish to a woman who understands the value of discipline and preparation and becoming selfLESS – it’s the story of the Wright brothers, failing over and over but learning and growing and getting better each time out.

It’s the connections and the relationships and the friends that you support and they support you. It’s growing the fan base by including everyone and showing gratitude. “US” is a village of a bunch of people who care and love and support and show up especially when you are struggling.

Self-discipline is a journey that sometimes takes awhile to figure out and involves second and third and fourth chances.

But hard work and big dreams and commitment are also freedom from laziness & entitlement; freedom from the demands of others; and freedom from weakness & fear & doubt.

The discipline is to put the task at the center. The pitcher’s personality is not at the center. Her talent & anxiety are not at the center.

The task is at the center.

And when you become a master at self-discipline then she has the ability to be cool about the things she feels most passionate about.

People can thrive in a learning environment that says, YES YOU CAN!

The healthiest environments are high in demand yet high in reinforcement.

High standards with immediate and accurate and precise and concise feedback. Answer and solutions to each player’s specific situation.

People “thrown away” can rebound and thrive in a learning environment that emphasizes growth mindset.

Success is the result of continuous and persistent effort.

99.9 % of the time, commitment really means NEVER GIVING UP.

It means continuing to say “YES” to the thing you’ve already said yes to before and then NEVER GIVING UP!

Winning is fun… Sure.
But winning is not the point.
Wanting to win is the point.
Not giving up is the point.
Never letting up is the point.
Never being satisfied with what
you’ve done is the point.

– Pat Summitt

Self-sacrifice made sense because of the assumption that if you served your organization, it would serve you back.

During tough times and struggles, if you “just keep going when it gets hard” (Holly Rowe/ESPN) the expectation is that your “connections” and your team & “US” will support you wholeheartedly.

But abuse of power happens within some institutions; if you give – they will take. If you sacrifice – they will take advantage. The reciprocity is non-existent.

And distrust breeds distrust. “What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?” George Eliot in Middlemarch.

AND, “Loneliness is the greatest sin of society”, Mother Teresa (1986-Cajundome, Lafayette, Louisiana).

Blaming, whining, taking on a ‘victim mentality is NOT the answer.

“What our human emotions seem to require is the sight of struggle going on. Sweat & effort, human nature strained to its uttermost, yet getting through it alive, & then turning its back on its success to pursue another challenge more rare and arduous still-this is the sort of thing the presence of which inspires us.” William James.

The solid meaning of life involves courage & endurance with some pains.

A commitment is a promise made from love; it’s being dedicated to not only an activity but also to a cause.

It’s the “no I in TEAM” slogan; people would rather be on a journey that involves struggles & failures & adversity together and figure out how to overcome & grow together, rather to live alone & risk free..

Moral courage – taking risks – being part of a team almost feels easy & necessary to make the deep commitment to a cause. A commitment changes who you are – being on a team and contributing and playing your role bonds into new relationships that last a lifetime.

Relationships….being a good teammate….being a part of sisterhood is about you and me coming together to form an “US”.

“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We need to think of ourselves as those who are being questioned by life – daily & hourly.

Life ultimately means taking responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which life constantly sets for each individual.” Victor Frankl

There is something in us all that seems to require difficulty and then finding a way to overcome those difficulties, especially with the love and support and prayers of others.

The way in which a person endures suffering – both physical suffering like cancer &/or personal suffering like a constant assault on one’s dignity – can reveal one’s soul.

Victor Frankl, “The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to his life”.

Frankl discovered that the soul grows by the measure of love it pours out: “…everything can be taken from a man but one thing- the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s on way.”

“I was never alone. Only relationships turn around lives. I never lost my family & good friends; in fact, I’ve made more good friends. I never lost my connection to the game, in fact, I found DEEPER MEANING in my life and in the game … specifically, doing more research, developing better strategies & protocols & working on the application of new technology/analytics/sophistications. My attitude is of hope, joy & excitement knowing that new connections await me based on truth and love. Softball & “US” –3.0”. Michael Lotief



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