I remind myself frequently that creative solutions abound if you look closely under the problem hood. There is almost always a way to accomplish something if you are passionate about your mission.
Spending most of our time and energy looking for positive solutions when confronted with problems is the best use of time.
I had a mentor once who said something like this: "Spend just enough time on the problem, about ten percent of your time, to understand the root causes of the problem, then spend 90 percent of your time solving the issue with what you have on hand".
This simple concept has served many of us well over our lifetimes.
In this brief behind-the-scenes look at our program, I illustrate some simple positive solutions and steps we implemented in response to challenges in our running program.
Small Private Faith-Based School, Few Resources
Coaching at a small school with about 100 students in four grades is unique.
Resources are limited. There are no public funds for activities or services.
We have no weight room, onsite track, athletic trainer, exercise equipment, gym, or other sports facilities.
Parents primarily transport kids to practices and meets, although our school purchased one small bus this year. We are grateful.
The creativity meter, though, needs to rise in daily practices when you have no gym, onsite track, locker room, traditional school transportation system, or weight room.
Many days I joke about my car being the school gym. Daily, I load it with bands, small weights, rollers, and a slant board.
My car is affectionately known as the JPII gym (the acronym for the school I coach at).
We unload the equipment from my car daily, using the equipment from my car for our strength workouts.
We also do some Pilates or core on the outside ground and have core competitions like planks outside, rain, or shine.
During the season, I measure trail routes; our trails become a track.
We sometimes use a safe, sturdy tree limb as a pull-up bar.
There is a lot of truth to the phrase, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
When faced with a lack of resources problem, being creative and thinking outside the box to find solutions using what you have on hand is the goal.
When I get frustrated with resource issues, I think of a place like Kenya or Ethiopia, where facilities are almost nonexistent. Yet, some of the best athletes in the world come from those locations.
Coaching Kenyan athletes remotely opened my eyes even more about how the human spirit's desire is not held captive to just the material blessings of this world.
It's been a blessing and eye-opener to coach two pro runners in Kenya on many different levels while also coaching high school students.
You see what's possible without all of the traditional resources.
Creativity, innovation, and hard work are sometimes enhanced when other traditional resources are unavailable.
Less is sometimes more if people rally and focus on their blessings, not what they don't have in life.
When exploring solutions to resource issues, I've found that dreams can still come true by being grateful for what we have and creatively adjusting for the lack of material resources through a team effort.
What we have is much greater than any facility or state-of-the-art equipment.
There is a lot of love, care, creativity, encouraging parents, staff, and kids whose shared mission, goals, and connections in a small community are better than the best facilities in the world.
Many wonderful things happen when everyone in your community shares the same mission and vision of helping others reach their God-given potential.
Where there is a will, there is a way.