North & South Humility
I learned one of my most treasured lifelong lessons when I was 18 years old.
I traveled to Adelaide to join a cricket academy for the Australian summer.
I was housed with a family of the club where I was placed (which I’m now a life member of).
10,000 miles away from home, I was with a family that didn’t know me.
Father of the family, a former first class cricketer himself and, at the time, was the general manager of South Australian Cricket, an important role in the game.
On my second day, after training with my team, Harvey called me to the bar and bought me my first Australian beer.
I soon realised he was a treasure trove of knowledge and insight.
A calm man who thought deeply about his interactions.
He was the first person who taught me to be curious about people.
“I just love different personalities; it’s what makes us who we are.”
“Even if someone is being difficult, instead of getting angry that they are difficult, I’m always curious as to why they are the way they are.”
We chatted about my upbringing, his career as a cricketer, and his role at the time.
As we played this game of ‘story tennis.”
He served a story to me that is now embedded in my mind:
Harvey played for one of the most successful cricket clubs in South Australian history, which developed a crop of young players that ended up representing Australia.
He me about a player he had seen rise from being a junior to the national team.
When the Australians were playing at Adelaide Oval one summer, Harvey went to watch this player train along with the fans who got to watch their heroes.
When the player had finished his training, a man who had been a part of his formative years at their club met him as he emerged from the net.
The player blanked him. And walked past.
Witnessing this, Harvey approached the player, grabbed him by the collar, and told him the lesson that we all need.
“You meet the same people on the way down as you do on the way up…Go give that man your time”
The player then turned around and spent some time with the man.
What Harvey taught us is what I’ll call “North & South Humility.”
When things are “going north” (improving), it’s important to treat everyone with the same humility as when things could (undoubtably) “go south.”.
I took this lesson with me after that, and when I turned pro, I made it my duty to treat everyone with the same standard. From head coaches to gate staff.
It reminds me of one of Tim Minchin’s “9 Life Lessons” :
“I don’t care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room; I will judge you based on how you treat the least powerful… so there!”
So this week…
Look for someone in your past—someone who has helped you get where you are today.
Send them a message, a note, a call, or a card with appreciation for what they have taught you in your time together.
North & South Humility is built on showing that respect, no matter the direction you’re heading.
If things go south, you may end up encountering those that you needed to send you north so…
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