Sunday, March 18, 2012

What's in a name? Towards a different Joseph.

The #StopJosephKony has hit the headlines. His name is famous for all the wrong reasons. But there is a story of another Joseph. The one who became famous for his vision, determination and drive towards success and leadership. Names matter. 

In their book, ‘In the Zone: How to achieve top performance in Sport and Life’, Michael Cooper and Tim Goodenough ask the question: ‘Are your aspirations limited by your identity, or empowered by it’. The question they ask: are you an ‘active identity-shaper’? Are you speaking of yourself in a way that empower you for higher achievement, not simply in winning over your competitors, but in achieving your maximum potential. 

Perhaps Peter de Villiers is correct when he states, ‘There’s no difference between winning a game and losing it, the only difference is, you feel better when winning it’. What does he mean: I think he means, that we should aim at achieving your maximum potential. Winning is when you grow towards being the best that you can be. 

That was the life of Joseph (not the Joseph Kony type!) The other famous Joseph saw and imagined himself to continue to grow. He saw himself as having potential, believing in God’s dreams for himself and to keep those alive (never stop dreaming. Michael Owen (English soccer player, Liverpool), said: ‘I want to be a top-flight football player, so I lead the life that enables me to be that type of player’ 

      What are then the key tasks that Cooper and Goodenough identified for active identity shapers:
1)They can verbalise their potential and integrate that into behavior. They reject negative identities; they aspirations and not shaped by others (family) and friends or limited by others or by excuses. They see their coaches, opponents and teammates as equals, as God given opportunities to grow and excel.
2)They have decided to become the top performer. It was said of Proteas al-rounder and captain, Shaun Pollock that even though he was born into a cricketing family, he still had to decide and align his decisions and behaviors with his dream. Yes the expectations was there, but he had to align his decisions and behavior to the expectations. This is called the 'Pygmalion Effect'. It refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, often children or students and employees, the better they perform.
3) Athletes often assume the identity long before the accolades, trophies and records. So they are working hard at their craft; they are internally referent and they display high levels of self-belief.

The new generation of Josephs are people who know who they are an surge ahead, on the basis of their strong sense of who they are.