I recently listened to an interview with comedian actor Will Ferrell on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m a fan of this podcast.
Will Ferrell talked about how he grew up in a divorced household. His parents split up when he was eight. Will was quite the athlete as a young person. He played basketball, baseball, soccer and was the kicker for the football team. He was also a good student. He says the discipline of attending practices, showing up on time and doing the playbook, shaped him. He did not and does not have the dark, messy, addiction addled background many comedians have.
Team dynamics shape us
I loved hearing how Will went to college, graduated and started working in The Groundlings program in California. The Groundlings is an improv group that has produced such notable talent as Conan O’Brien, Tyra Banks, Kristen Wiig, Lisa Kudrow, etc. Within the Groundlings, Will once again fell into the structure, collaboration and support of a team. He thrived. He later took these skills and experiences to another large ensemble cast on Saturday Night Live.
Will credits his many team experiences for at least some of his success and ‘good guy’ reputation.
Will Ferrell’s secure nature and history of team culture, made me think about my own nature, childhood and team experiences. I have struggled to maintain a secure nature as an adult, but I mostly have fond, solid memories from childhood.
What teams do for us
There are two reasons I was primarily emotionally stable as kid: teams and predictability.
In my case, I was on literal teams and I had a team of friends. I was in the marching band. I was a flag girl (flag corps member today). I was a pom pom girl. I had practices most days after school. I went to specialized camps with friends. We learned routines and performed weekly.
Most days after school or on weekends, I hung out with friends. I had a core group of about six girlfriends. We regularly hung around with a group of boys, who were for the most part, our friends, not boyfriends. There was always someone to visit or talk to. I did not have to worry about finding a date for the big dances. If I was not seeing anyone steadily, I could go with a friend. My friends were loyal and consistent. I am still friends with a large number of them.
I believe my teams and friends made my slightly less stable home life (divorced parents, stepparents, money shortages, sibling rivalry) more tolerable. The discipline of being a team member and the predictability of my friends buoyed my security.
Will Ferrell also brought up how excited he used to get to watch Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley on Tuesday nights. He knew he could look forward to them every week. He dutifully got his homework done before hand. I was right there with you Will. I fondly remember those back-to-back sitcoms on Tuesday nights. There is comfort in the known.
No real team
As an adult, the teams and predictability have been less available. I thought I would create a team with my husband and family but that did not happen. It got skewed to everyone for themselves for a while. I played a part in that. This downgraded our level of relationship security.
I did not work outside the home for almost fifteen years, therefore I did not have a work team. I had no family living nearby for most of the childrearing years. No extended team members.
After the divorce, money, time with the kids and my romantic relationships all lost predictability. My balance and security dwindled. There were many times I did not feel part of any team.
Creating predictability through discipline
I’ve made my own discipline by having a regular fitness practice. For about eight years, I worked out with a group. They did serve as a team. I also, as you probably know, write weekly for brendaknowles.com. The discipline of fitness and writing keeps me grounded. Today I do both but mostly on my own. I miss the team aspect.
Bring on the security
Over the last few years, I have felt a closeness and appreciation for collaboration with my two younger children. I have added new members to my family. I feel my husband and I make a good team. We are learning the playbook now. We are dividing up the household work load and supporting each other in parenting our children. We have shows we look forward to and watch together regularly. Shades of Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley predictability.
My church and my new full time job at the high school offer opportunities for team atmospheres. I definitely feel more secure as team dynamics play a bigger role in my life.
Do you have a team that supports you and keeps you disciplined? What helps you stay disciplined? What is a daily practice?
If you’d like help getting to the predictable point in your relationship, contact me for personal coaching. If you’d rather learn on your own time, check out my online courses in connection and insecure attachment at brendaknowles.teachable.com or click on the image below.