I had searched for many years for the “Original” Cellphone from my youth. Traveling down Old Highway 82 right outside of Montgomery sat this once flourishing dinosaur. However, this magnificent device was not my beginning of tele-communication and brought back great memories. My era began inside the home with a telephone attached to the kitchen wall, with a long cord that wrapped around a doorway, and into the dining room for ultimate privacy from absolutely no one. These calls also included a time limit to prevent the blockage of any incoming phone calls. I was given 15 minutes a night and had to schedule a specific time with friends during the school day. The next incredible upgrade came with the invention of “call waiting”, where a simple beep signaled the option to click over for an incoming call. This ended the “time constraint” problem and I could talk forever if “selective hearing” was applied to the beeps interrupting my social life. The next game changer came with the introduction of the “Cordless” Phone. This new piece of equipment allowed one to alienate to any bedroom were the long antennae could pick up the receiver signal. This only led to more parental trouble by leaving the phone on a bed and not on the charger. The huge battery pack took hours to re-charge and could cause major tension amongst family members. Finally, the invention of the “Answering Machine” seemed to solve all of our youthful issues. This incredible device allowed us to send family calls to a little box, with red digital numbers, that could robotically announce “You Have Messages.”
However, outside the home the only way to communicate was the “Original” Cellphone, otherwise known as the “Pay Phone”. The “Pay Phone” was also equipped with a “Contact List” called the “Phone Book” or “Yellow Pages”. This modern day “Contact List” was protected by a metal covering and included all area phone numbers. The book also listed addresses for your GPS System, which back then stood for Guidance by People and Senses…. You could only pay for use with silver change and a general phone call cost 25 cents. My parents did not give me a curfew growing up, but was told “If you are going to be late then you better call and explain where you are located.” Late was a loose term and I knew to play it safe at all costs. I always had a quarter and knew it was my life line to maintain personal freedom. There were “No Excuses” and I better find a way to make that required phone call. If out of the area you had to call “Collect”, which meant a monetary charge had to be accepted to answer. A prayer was then needed for an accepted call unless a message was conveyed in the time allowed for stating one’s name. Again, “No Excuses”, if I did not call then someone was waiting in a chair when I walked into the dark living room. Needless to say I was in major trouble and was prepared to deal with the consequences. The nostalgia of all these great memories helps emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and communication in a technological generation where ideals are deteriorating. The “Original Cellphone” Era taught 2 Simple Life Truths in that “Standards & Priorities Match Ultimate Action” and “The Power Behind An Encouraging Voice”. We need to reinforce these truths as coaches, players, professionals, and in our personal relationships.
“Standards & Priorities Match Ultimate Action”…. Remember “No Excuses”, if I wanted personal freedom then I better find a way to meet the standard. Otherwise, I guess being confined to the house would not be a big deal. I had to be accountable to a family standard and my priorities became choices. Choices ultimately have a direct correlation to expectations and priorities. Today, we all set standards with our families, teams, businesses, and relationships. As a coach, I have learned that it is equally important to communicate standards as it is for players to make consistent choices. We cannot judge or hold others accountable unless they understand expectations. Clear standards give a picture of one’s priority list through their actions. People all have the same amount of time and will choose what is most important to them. Priorities are nothing more than the order in which choices meet personal expectations. The Consistency Of Meeting The Standard Sends The Message Of One’s Commitment.
“The Power Behind An Encouraging Voice”…. 15 Minutes, back then we cherished that scheduled timeframe, would be so excited, and would wait impatiently by the phone. Today we are spoiled with the amount of access we have to communicate with each other. Our current phones have become a virtual world of promoting individuality and seeking self acceptance through followers, likes, and comments. This can be a dangerous mindset that forces people to live in a virtual silo. A lack of communication will lead to negativity, hopelessness, and untrusting behavior. Although social media has many positives, it is not “Reality” and the “Real World” is based upon one on one relationships. Genuine communication gives a feeling of investment and life value. People ultimately crave positive human interaction over followers and likes. I love the saying, “Get out of yourself and get into the team.” We have people in our lives for a reason and it is time we do the same. People remember how you make them feel a lot longer than what they see you do. Reach out to someone close to you, be that phone call out of nowhere, be that unexpected visit, be that pat on the back, send an early morning text, or write that positive note on their desk. There Is No Better Way To Build Relationships Than The Investment Of Encouragement.
In close, I want to challenge you to “Make Encouragement A Life Standard & Priority“. I am thankful for growing up in a timeframe that enhanced personal responsibility and relationships. If you are struggling with priorities and choices, then it is time to redefine your standards. If you are living in a silo of discouragement then decide to be a blessing to someone else. You will be amazed at how good and valued you will feel. Being the giver of encouragement will bring more positive than being the receiver. Everyone in your life is facing hidden issues and problems. There is good in everyone of us and someone needs your voice. Each day think you have a “Quarter” for an important message, to spend on someone, and to not stay in your pocket. You may just be that “Lifeline” that someone so desperately needs. As said in a late 1987 AT&T Commercial “When the people you love speak loud and clear… Reach out and touch someone…”
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” -Proverbs 16:24