This is my fifth season coaching youth sports. When I get a new group of kids, I find that they break into two groups.

The first responds to every bit of coaching with “I know.” They can swing and miss at 30 straight pitches, but they already know everything there is to know about hitting.

Show them a drill to correct a problem with their swing, and they tell you that’s not how they want to do it or that it’s boring. If the drill is difficult, they quit early and look for an easier drill that showcases a strength.

This is the same group that comes to the game with a list of demands with what positions they should play. They complain about where they are hitting in the lineup. They sulk when it is their turn to play defense because they want to score goals.

The second group responds to coaching with “OK” or “Got it.” They are the kids that walk up to each coach after practice and say, “Thanks, coach.”

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They never complain about what position they are playing. “You need me at goalie today, coach? Cool. No one is scoring on us.”

When it is their turn to sit on the bench, they cheer for their teammates just as if they were in the game. They approach tough drills like a challenge they want to master.

I ran a blocking drill for catchers in a hot practice last week. Blocking drills are not for the faint of heart. With no glove and hands behind their back, kids drop to their knees 100 times while a coach hurls balls in the dirt that catchers must block with their body.

It is tiring without an obvious payoff. Success in the drill is stopping the ball and keeping it in front of you. Not exactly sexy, like hitting a home run or striking someone out.

Several catchers approached the drill like a challenge. How many could they block in a row without letting a ball get by them? When the drill was over, one catcher pulled his mask off with a huge grin on his dirty face. He looked like he just got done riding a roller coaster, “That was awesome!”

Look around your office. Most likely, the adults in your company fall into one of these two groups. Mindset starts forming at a young age and follows us into adulthood.

Every office is comprised of those who see challenges as opportunities to grow, and those who seek the path of least resistance.

Every office has great teammates, and those more interested in themselves.

  • Which group do you associate with?
  • Do you respond with “I know” every time someone tries to help you?
  • Are you more of a “Thanks, coach” type of teammate?
  • Does your company hire people with one mindset or the other?
  • As a parent, do you know if your kid says “I know” or “Thanks, coach?”

In youth sports and in business, my experience is that the latter group advances much faster than the former.

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