Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly Wednesday blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of spirituality and sport.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge but whoever hates correction is stupid.”-Proverbs 12:1
Once again, the name Gareth appears in one of my recent blog posts. Last time around, we congratulated Gareth Bale on the role he played in helping Wales qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Today, we applaud Gareth Southgate, England’s senior men’s football team manager.
Football fans may be aware that, recently, England was thrashed 4-0 by Hungary in the Nations League. So why I am giving kudos to a leader whose team was just embarrassed on the field? It’s his response that caught my eye.
BBC Sport reported earlier this week that the English Football Association would continue to give Southgate their support notwithstanding the poor results in England’s last few games. The report noted the words of Chairwoman Debbie Hewitt as she recounted her talk with Southgate: “Gareth’s reaction…was that it is his accountability, that there’s always something to learn. That’s why it’s refreshing working with somebody like that because that openness to learn is quite remarkable and quite unusual in any sphere.”
Hewitt marveled at Southgate’s humility and the eagerness with which he embraced accountability. She considered it to be a rare trait in modern-day leadership. It leads us to ask, then: should humility be that scarce among today’s influencers? Should it come as a surprise when someone is corrected and responds with gratitude and grace, rather than defensiveness?
Proverbs 12 above considers it spiritual stupidity to hate correction. I’ve been there far too many times in my life both before and after choosing to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I want to embrace the discipline that refines my character and, ultimately, leads to wholeness, maturity and integrity.
I invite you to join the journey and if you are already on that accountability pathway, to remain on it steadfastly.
The next time you are corrected, remain unflinching in your resolve to embrace it humbly and gratefully.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.