What does it take to be a top utility player in life when it comes to your position as a family member?

It takes engagement, it takes connection and it takes gratitude.

When I played softball at UCLA, our team success had a lot to do with our focus and engagement on a unified mission (to win a national championship), our connection with one another, and showing each other appreciation and gratitude.  Being fully engaged means you are present and involved in the pursuit of a common goal. When you are engaged in someone or something, it has your attention, support and concern. You truly care about that person or thing. When you are engaged in something you show up, you're willing to take risks, and your support is unconditional and not dependent on what you get in return. It’s authentic.

When it comes to family, a utility player is engaged and involved and has the desire to be an intricate member of the family. On our team at UCLA, we knew what each other’s goals were on and off of the field. We were involved in each other’s lives and supported each other, because that’s what family does. We would often share our goals before practice and what areas we were looking to grow in on that particular day, then hold each other accountable and help each other reach those goals.

Connection was also key in our family. Just like in sports teams, you can be connected to your family in life.  Connection is about finding common ground, building rapport, building relationship where you are linked and associated. If you are not connected, then it’s hard for the relationship to grow to be strong. A strong family is connected beyond blood relations, but also through kinship and your relation to each other’s roles, responsibilities, and obligations.  I understand that it’s not always an easy connection to grow; there can be difficulties and challenges like lack of support, abuse, or neglect that can develop feelings of resentment and anger towards a family member. In those types of situations, it’s important to find someone to talk to for support. Be patient; building relationships with any family member shouldn’t be hurried.  It’s also important to try not to make judgments, or hold on to grudges.

Lastly, gratitude is important in any relationship. When it comes to family, showing your appreciation is a great way to build the relationship. Utility players in life are always thankful. They realize that anywhere they get, they didn’t get there alone. It takes the support and prayers around you to keep you covered and moving forward.  Everyone wants to be appreciated. It doesn’t matter how rich or famous you are, we all want to be valued and know we’re important in any relationship. Expressing gratitude and appreciation only takes a moment; it doesn’t have to be this long drawn out immaculate display. It doesn’t take a masters degree, a million dollars, or years of your time.  Sometimes, all it takes is a quick phone call, a short note, or one simple sentence to make someone’s day and show them your appreciation. Utility players understand that thoughts of gratitude, graciousness, thankfulness and appreciation can be free and don’t cost a lot of money.

Begin with your family. Make it a habit to express appreciation to your family often.  Sow words of love lavishly, consistently and to every person who is worthy. Developing a passion for gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation is a characteristic of extraordinary and uncommon people--utility players.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Blessings and love,

Marti Reed

Marti Reed