Depth and Breadth

by Ryan Krzykowski

I’m typing this on the Friday before the Super Bowl.  By the time this post shows on our site, the Chiefs will either be champions and have made a whole lot of people happy, or we’ll be disappointed and ready to look ahead to next season.  There’s not much more to say at this point, so I’m resisting the urge to write a Chiefs/Super Bowl LIV themed post.  You are welcome.

Hopefully this doesn’t sound whiny — I don’t want to be whiny, but 2019 was a tough year in many ways.  Don’t misunderstand me, there was a whole lot to celebrate, the good certainly outweighed the bad, and I want to be grateful for all of it.  At least I know I’m supposed to be grateful for all of it.  So there’s that.  And yet, last year brought a series of challenging situations, many of them self-inflicted, as I operated at a pace that was less than optimal and unsustainable.  As a result, I developed some bad habits.

One of those bad habits that blossomed in 2019 is that I was either too tired or too busy to read.  I barely read anything at all, and in thinking about ways to right the ship this year, prioritizing reading is near the top of the list.  Having the time and brain space to read means that not only am I putting good ideas in my head, but I also have the capacity to reflect and think about what I’m reading.  I have the energy to make changes, try new things, have time for people, and better handle whatever else God throws my way.

So I’m reading and am just about finished with a couple different books that I recommend.  Conscious Coaching by Brett Bartholomew has been outstanding.  The other I am currently wrapping up is Learning to Lead Like Jesus by Boyd Bailey.  Walking through eleven character traits (humility, love, accountability, relationships, teachability, discipline, gratitude, generosity, forgiveness, encouragement and faithfulness) and applying them to leadership roles has my wheels turning.  I’ve begun thinking on how to utilize these ideas with my family, in the classroom, and with the football team I’ll be coaching next fall.

It was with the final of these traits, faithfulness, where Bailey gave an illustration that really grabbed me.  Maybe it will mean something to you as well.  I don’t know about you, but I sometimes struggle with the whole idea of quantity vs. quality.  I want to do exceptional work.  I want to be the very best version of me.  I also want to make a difference in a way that has a broad impact.  To me both are probably equally important, depth and breadth.

So with my renewed commitment to reading, and in thinking about how to make 2020 a better experience for myself and others than 2019 was, I was greatly encouraged by Bailey’s example of Lake Tahoe, a favorite vacation spot of his and his wife’s.  He writes:

During one of our first visits to Tahoe, I discovered some amazing facts about this stunningly beautiful body of water.  It is positioned one mile high, with 72 miles of gorgeous shoreline and 39 trillion gallons of icy water, at an average depth of 990 feet.  The glacial runoff contributes to 99.9 percent water purity.  If you could pour the water in Lake Tahoe over the state of California, the entire land mass would be covered in 14.5 inches of water.

Suddenly, without warning, the Holy Spirit yanked on my heart with this thought: The depth of our character determines the breadth of our influence.

Man, did that hit me.  My focus ought to be on continuing to develop my character.  That its depth is the single most significant factor in the breadth of my life’s impact on others.  Bailey poses the question:

Are you focused on the depth of your character?  Or is it only on the surface — just saying the right things to get the most expedient results?  Are you committed to the long-term discipline of overcoming adversity at work, home and relationships so you truly push past immature thinking and develop a mature mind?

Those questions serve to contrast my 2019 with what I am hoping and planning on for 2020.  2019 was about living on the surface and seeking expedient results.  In 2020 and beyond, I’m looking to recommit to the long-term discipline of overcoming adversity and develop a mature mind.  There are bad habits to break, false ideas to reject/unlearn, and a need to slow down.  That’s what focusing on the depth of my character looks like.  What does it look like for you?

Let’s Coach With Purpose.