I spent last week vacationing at a remote log cabin in the Smoky Mountains with twenty members of my extended family. It was a wonderful experience, filled with many lasting memories.

But it was also an exercise in being a good teammate.

Anyone one who has ever gone on this type of large family vacation knows the challenges entailed. Organizing meals, planning activities, and coordinating travel that suits everyone is not easy. Just getting that many people out the door in a timely fashion can be harder than herding cats.

This type of vacation demands patience and sacrifice, which are two strengths of good teammates.

Throughout the week, I found myself thinking about the African proverb If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

The word far isn’t necessary tied to distance. In this context, it can also mean more or better or greater, as in more fun or better memories or greater success.

When you’re part of a team, the best way to acquire more fun, better memories, and greater success may be for you to be patient, accept the temporary inconvenience, embrace the necessary sacrifice, and understand that your doing so will inevitably be what takes you far.

Of all the excursions we did during the week, my favorite was the day we ventured out to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to visit Dollywood.

Known for its numerous rollercoasters, southern cuisine, and entertaining shows, Dolly Parton’s theme park did not disappoint.

My wife and daughter especially enjoyed the “Coat of Many Colors” show at the Imagination Playhouse. The show is based on Dolly Parton’s hit song “Coat of Many Colors“ and her children’s book of the same name.

The Dollywood app provides the following summary for the show: Winter is coming to Tennessee and there’s no money to buy a new coat, so a little girl’s mama sews one for her out of rags. The little girl wears it to school proudly, and when the other children laugh, she gives them a quick lesson about what it means to be rich.

The moral of the story is that the terms rich and poor are relative, determined only by one’s perspective. For the little girl, the patchwork coat made her rich because her mother made it for her out of love.

In an interview with The Tennessean, Parton said: “To me, it’s more than a song. It’s an attitude. It’s a philosophy. It speaks about family. It’s anti-bullying. It just covers so many things.”

Dolly Parton embodies plenty of the strengths that define a good teammate, including patience and sacrifice. Her philanthropic generosity is legendary.

She’s come a long way since her days of living “dirt poor” in a one-room Appalachian cabin with her eleven brothers and sisters. What has taken her far in life has undoubtedly been her attitude and willingness to share her good-teammate strengths with others.

The final verse of “Coat of Many Colors” holds particular relevance to the art of being a good teammate:

But they didn’t understand it
And I tried to make them see
That one is only poor
Only if they choose to be

When it comes to choosing what kind of teammate you want to be, no truer words have ever been written. Being a poor teammate, much like being a good teammate, is nothing more than a choice.

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

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory and the creator National Be a Good Teammate Day (July 22nd). He is a former sports coach turned bestselling author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

Would you like to receive the Teammate Tuesday blog on a regular basis? Do you know someone who would? Join our mailing list for bonus insight and inspiration. You’ll never miss another edition again! Sign up here.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This