Leading Edge: Carrying the Team

Leading Edge: Carrying the Team

Have you ever felt tired?  Heavy? Like you’re carrying the entire load, and if you stopped for one second to put down your load to roll your neck and shrug your shoulders, the load would collapse?

I’d be willing to bet, somewhere, you’re dragging a team.

“David Beckham doesn’t kick the ball, and then drag the team…”

The First Time

The first time I heard John Maxwell say this was at the International Maxwell Certification event in August 2016.  Leading up to the event, I had spent weeks in desperation. Something wasn’t clicking. In fact, nothing was working.  But I sure was!  I woke up every morning, put on my red lipstick so people could focus on my bright smile and not the bags under my eyes, and I went to work until I allowed the exhaustion to overtake me and allow me a few hours of sweet, blissful unconsciousness before starting over again.  What kept me moving was my 15 hours of scheduled appointments, conference calls, meetings, and people depending on me to perform.  Depending on me to show up.  Depending on me to bring the energy, the new ideas, the SPARKLE.

The Accident

About a month before the August event, I was in a car accident.  An ambulance was called to the scene and when the EMT took my blood pressure it was 180/110. I turned to the person in the backseat of the truck with me (who happened to be a cardiac nurse by profession) and asked if I needed to go to the hospital.

“No, I don’t think so.  You’re just stressed. We should just go to dinner, get you some food and a beer, you’ll calm down.”  Trusting the professional and personal opinion of someone close to me, I signed the waiver for release and went to dinner.

A few days later, I found myself in my doctor’s office for a follow-up.  The nurse put the cuff on my arm. “I think this sleeve needs recalibrating, this seems wrong…your blood pressure can’t be 180/110.”  Moments later, it was a flurry of my doctor, nurses, wires, machines, blood draws and questions. My doctor reassured me – “Angi, you’re lucky to have not had a stroke in the last 3 days.  You’re only leaving this office one of two ways – in an ambulance to the hospital, or with your blood pressure low enough to be hypertensive.”

How Stress Can Cause Destruction

The following weeks began a journey of discovering why an otherwise healthy late 20-something suddenly spiked a blood pressure worthy of a Chicago O’Hare air traffic controller.  Expecting some crazy, otherwise undiagnosed medical reason to come back from the tests, I was shocked to hear my doctor say everything came back below or at average.  My doctor’s final advice – “Lose 10 lbs, start moving more often, and figure out what’s stressing you out.”  Up until that point, what was stressing me out was all the doctor’s appointments putting me behind my already packed 15-hour work day.

The Inspiration

And that’s where I was when I sat in one of John Maxwell’s sessions in August.  “David Beckham doesn’t kick the ball, and then wait for the team to catch up to him.  His players are there waiting to make the next play.” It hit me like a stone between the eyes.

Great leadership doesn’t just mean having a lot of people around you.  It didn’t take much for me to fill my 15-hour day with people, because people were relying on me to get things done – and I was happy to make it happen!  But who was there for me to kick the ball to?  When I “kicked the ball” to the person in the back of an ambulance, was the next play made for the benefit of the team, or for the benefit of the player?  And at what risk? Is it really any wonder I ended up in my doctor’s office in the state I did? This resulted in some deep pruning of the people I was spending my time with.

John says “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”  I had always applied that to tasks. After this lesson, I started applying it to people and relationships as well.

What About You?

Who do you kick the ball to in your life?  In your family, in your business, in your personal relationships.  Are they waiting for you to pass the ball so they can carry the ball forward and score for the team?  Or are they waiting for you to kick the ball and run forward to meet it and score the goal, and then claim the victory for the “team score”?  A reflection on this might just be what you need to do to lift the weight from your shoulders, and share it with your team.


Angi San Souci is a lifelong student and practitioner of leadership and personal development.  She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BS in Political Science, concentrating on American Legal Systems.  Upon graduation she was hired to create the Internet Sales Department for a car dealership. Within her first year with the company, she also created and managed the Business Development Center which increased customer satisfaction across all departments.

Eventually, she pursued a career as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant.  She was bequeathed the Miss Go Give award twice for her spirit and service. She served BNI for 5 years – as an Ambassador, Director and Area Director.  

She is an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team.  She owns a leadership development practice that focuses on helping companies develop united teams and collaborative cultures that drive results and produce success.  She also serves as the COO of Body Therapy Massage & Spa in downtown Rochester, MI.

In Angi’s “spare time” she loves taking her dog, Sphinxy, on walks with her partner Matt and spending time at the ballet barre.  She enjoys reading, traveling and horseback riding. Above all, Angi believes a day without laughing is a day wasted.