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For many of us, the Labor Day holiday marked the unofficial end to summer. It was a final farewell to warm weather and to all of the leisurely fun that came with the season.

But the real reason for the holiday was to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of the American worker. It was a tip of the hat to the sacrifices made during the labor movement of the late 1800s that led to better working conditions and improved wages.

As we gathered for our picnics and our backyard barbeques, I doubt the sacrifices of our ancestors were at the forefront of our thoughts. I know they weren’t for me.

Yet, those sacrifices are precisely what made our celebrations possible—and they still are.

Not everyone was blessed with a day off work on Labor Day. Think of all of the people in the service industry who made it possible for us to go shopping, eat at a restaurant, or enjoy an amusement park with our friends and family.

Think about the policemen, firemen, paramedics, doctors, and nurses who were on call.

How about all of the men and women in the military who stood watch while we celebrated?

I suspect nearly all of the aforementioned individuals would have preferred spending Labor Day with their loved ones instead of working.

Whether they realize it or not, their sacrifices were appreciated. And their sacrifices most certainly were “good teammate moves.”

When someone on a team gets ahead, it is always the result of a sacrifice made by someone else on that team. That’s the symbiotic nature of being on a team.

It’s the basketball player who passes up a shot, so her teammate can take a better shot. It’s the parent who foregoes wearing the latest fashion, so her son can have braces on his teeth. It’s the colleague who pulls a double shift, so his coworker can take the night off to celebrate her anniversary.

In an ideal world, all of those sacrifices would be recognized and rewarded. But that is not always how it works.

Good teammates routinely make those sort of sacrifices, and they don’t get discouraged when they are not recognized or rewarded.

If your motivation for making sacrifices for your team is the expectation of being thanked or praised, you will be disappointed an awful lot in life.

Make the sacrifices because they are what’s best for your team. Make them because they serve the needs of your team. Make them because they are the right thing to do.

Let your sacrifices be a labor of love.

Love leads to service. Service leads to purpose. Purpose leads to happiness.

Let your sacrifices be your way of sharing with your team.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is a leading authority on the good teammate mindset. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Good Teammate blog.

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