When recording an interview in a football stadium with his family, things did not go according to plan for Care for the Family CEO Robin Vincent.
A piece of wall art recently caught my eye. It was a long piece of driftwood, painted with whitewash and stencilled with the maxim:
It is a powerful sentiment. However, my struggle since seeing this has not been with the call to inspire, but my ability to achieve a level anywhere close to being counted as good, never mind great.
I love sport. I have won trophies and captained my school football team. But was I good? I mean, really good? I suspect that even in my best sport, I have never consistently performed at a standard beyond average. If this sober assessment of my ability is hung alongside that artwork, I am inevitably left with the question of whether I can truly inspire others. This matters even more if I would like to inspire others in my family, rather than just sport. Is my success tied unquestionably to performance? If so, how discouraged should I be when my performance is not just lacking, but downright abysmal?
Recently, I was asked to create a video post for our social media so that people could get to know me. You know the kind of thing: what I like to do with my family, etc. It felt straightforward, an assignment where I could confidently do a good job (OK, average). I decided I would record it in a stadium after watching a football match. It seemed a creative backdrop that would also showcase an activity we like to share as a family.
Filming day came. A silver lining was that my team performed so poorly the crowd vacated the stands quickly on the final whistle. The set was ready. My son Jake was cast as interviewer and my wife Hannah was the camera operator. Naturally, I was the director, or so I thought. Oh, how wrong I was! With the camera rolling, it became obvious that I wasn’t the only director. Hannah and Jake each had their own vision for the task too. Also, there were countless uninvited extras on set, dressed as stewards, zealously eager to evict us from the stadium.
You may wonder how I, the Chief Executive of Care for the Family, handled such a stressful situation? Well, in front of camera I was awful, and off camera my behaviour was worse than awful. One might say, it was not a good day at the office. My performance was not great, good, or even average. As a husband and father, I felt like I was the living breathing example of abysmal. Hannah and Jake certainly thought so.
Walking away from the stadium I felt utterly dejected. I had failed the team that I love the most, my family. I often feel that the roles of husband and father are the ones where I deliver my poorest performances. Yet I have discovered that these disappointments can still be redeemed into something inspiring because on those days, I can be great at admitting my failure and seeking forgiveness. I can acknowledge my weaknesses and appreciate the contribution of my family in pointing them out. I love them, and they love me, not because any of us are great or good, but because this is the only team we have been given.
In a post-match interview that night, one of the players said: ‘This game is done. We’re all disappointed with it, but we’ll have a good week training and go again next week.’ The Vincent family said something similar as we reached home.
About the author
Robin is Chief Executive at Care for the Family. Prior to taking up this role, he has held leadership positions in both the private and public sector. He is married to Hannah, and they have two adult children.
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