The Twelve Days of Christmas is among the holiday season’s most beloved carols. Its cumulative lyrics were first published in 1780 in an illustrated children’s book titled Mirth Without Mischief.

While numerous arrangements have been connected to the song over the years, the most popular comes from a 1909 folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin.

In 1986, Boston-area disc jockey Bob Rivers wrote a The Twelve Days of Christmas parody for his WAAF’s Bob & Zip Show that highlighted the holiday season’s most painful aspects. Rivers’ aptly titled song, The Twelve Pains of Christmas, has itself become a holiday hallmark.

Instead of French hens, turtle doves, and partridges in pear trees, Rivers’ song includes grievances relating to rigging up the lights, hangovers, and facing the in-laws.

As the parody eloquently, yet comedically, illustrates, the holiday season is filled with painful inconveniences. But in the end, the joy of the season makes enduring those “pains” worthwhile.

This is similarly true when it comes to being a good teammate.

Here are twelve pains that come with being a good teammate whose benefit makes them worth enduring:

1. Sharing. It’s easy to be selfish; it can be painful to be generous. But in the end, sharing your time, resources, and the credit is what’s best for your team.

2. Caring. It’s easy to be indifferent and apathetic; it can be painful to be enthusiastic and passionate. But in the end, caring about others and what’s happening on your team is what’s best for your team.

3. Serving. It’s easy to be served; it can be painful to serve. But in the end, faithfully serving the needs of your team with humility and purpose is what’s best for your team.

4. Collaborating. It’s easy and efficient to go it alone; it can be painful to have to work with others. But in the end, collaborating to achieve synergy is what’s best for your team. (*If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!)

5. Regulating Eeeee-moooooo-tions. (*think fiiiiivvvvve golden rings!) It’s easy to wear your emotions on our sleeve and be moody; it can be painful to keep your emotions in check. But in the end, projecting and becoming the emotion your team needs from you is what’s best for your team.

6. Confronting. It’s easy to keep silent or look the other way; it can be painful to confront toxic behaviors that threaten the team’s culture. But in the end, mustering the courage to confront toxicity is what’s best for your team.

7. Prioritizing. It’s easy to pursue and focus on your individual objectives; it can be painful to put the needs of your team ahead of your individual interests. But in the end, prioritizing your team’s needs over your individual interests is what’s best for your team.

8. Investing. It’s easy to remain on the periphery and not get involved; it can be painful to view your teammates’ problems as your problems. But in the end, being invested in your fellow teammates’ success is what’s best for your team.

9. Sacrificing. It’s easy to indulge in temporary pleasures and the familiarity of comfort; it can be painful to surrender individual interest for the greater good of the team. But in the end, sacrificing “me” for “we” is what’s best for the team.

10. Empathizing. It’s easy to focus on yourself; it can be painful to put yourself in others’ situations. But in the end, empathizing before criticizing is what’s best for your team.

11. Connecting. It’s easy to hang out with who you know; it can be painful to become close to those with whom you aren’t as familiar. But in the end, creating and strengthening connections with everyone on your team is what’s best for your team.

12. Accepting. It’s easy to question, complain, and blame; it can be painful to accept (e.g., feedback, help, responsibility, less-than-desired roles, etc.). But in the end, accepting unpleasantries like those listed in above is what’s best for your team.

Good teammates are defined by their willingness to choose what’s best for their team over what might be best for them as an individual. This is certainly true when comes to enduring the pain of inconvenience during the holidays—and every other day too!

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. 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.

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