Wednesday, February 13, 2013

False Modesty or self deprecating or I have issues

I was asked whether I planned to "coach soccer again in the Spring?" I laughed since my boys arent playing soccer in the Spring and I never considered coaching again because "I am a terrible coach." The parent looked at me and remarked "I wouldnt say that." Awkward.

Considering the parent's reaction, this article on five things you're accidently doing to make everyone hate you, and my own reaction when I am confronted with people who are limiting their own accomplishments, I am thinking about how I respond to my accomplishments. I worry about two perceptions, one am I being falsely modest or am I fishing for compliments when I minimize my accomplishments. I do not believe I am doing either.
Am I being falsely modest or pretending to have a low opinion of my achievements or abilities. I do not think I am falsely modest. I can see how a listener may conclude such a thing, if he/she were not feeling generous towards me. I do not think I am a good coach, but I dont know how to measure whether I am a good coach. I told the parent my basic premise was "do not harm," which may be a brilliant way to coach soccer to 4th graders, I just dont know.

Another way it may be annoying is that it may appear I am fishing for a compliment.  I am never fishing for a compliment, I assure you. I will proudly tell you to compliment me if I believe I deserve it. The parent responded to my comment by saying "I have seen terrible coaching, you were nowhere near terrible" or something like that. Unfortunately, I had made him awkward and he felt he had to respond. A casual adult conversation should not have that push and pull.

I do however speak in hyperbole (key point "not to be taken literally").  I use hyperbole to be amusing and self-deprecating, which is super cool now, right? (I am the expert on super cool as someone who graduated from high school more than two decades ago- see self deprecating).  The reality, however, is slightly more complex. By minimizing my power or accomplishments, I am not serving in the way I want to be.

I think it will take a little bit more than a blog post to make a change. In the meantime, you dont have to correct my statements or think badly of me if I minimize my accomplishments because I do not expect to be taken literally. When asked about coaching in the future,  I will say "I had a great time coaching, the boys had a great time and we won a few games, so overall it was a positive experience, but I will not be coaching in the Spring."

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