We all want to get on the score sheet. Whether at work, with our friends/family or in the game, everyone wants to be noticed for their efforts.

That’s why no one auditions to be in a televised talent show because their dream ever since they were a child was to become a backing singer. It’s why nobody wants to become an athlete and strives always to get a bronze medal. It is the same reason why people in business are often hard-workers, dedicated and sometimes ruthless. Somebody once said, “Nobody remembers second place,” but I can’t remember who that was.

In this week’s blog, I will discuss how to get on the score sheet, get the glory, get noticed, and go from being just someone who is around to someone you want on your team. To become someone important and eventually to become someone you can’t win without.

In this blog, we are going to be talking about scoring. Not like that…

And I promise you, scoring is not as difficult as we’ve been led to believe. I feel like this will be one of the best blogs yet because I’m not planning to get second place!

Maybe I am showing my age, but I recently came across a phrase that I had never heard before, and I believe it is something the kids use the ‘Humblebrag’.

Now for any of you who don’t spend your time around young people, firstly, well done you, you must have lots of energy and time on your hands, and secondly, perhaps you have not heard of the Humblebrag. It is a term the youth of today, oh god, maybe I am getting old, use when someone masks their pride with a thin veil of self-depreciation.

For example, “Oh my gosh, I can’t go into bars anymore without being hit on”. Now I’d like to clarify to those of you who are listening and especially to my wife that this is a humorous example of Humblebrag. Because this is recorded alone in a studio, no one will tell if I am winking or not.

When I was made captain of the England in-line hockey team, I didn’t enjoy playing because there was so much pressure to score. This isn’t even an example of a humblebrag. After all, I wasn’t enjoying the game I had loved all my life because I wasn’t making a difference where it mattered, on the score sheet. I was missing chances I could usually score without thinking. I was making mistakes in front of the goal that I hadn’t made since childhood. I was in a position I had dreamed of for years, which turned into a nightmare because I was not scoring.

One day my coach took me to one side and asked me not to score in the next game. Looking back, maybe this was him, exhausted after shouting instructions to me and me hitting the puck well wide of the net, wanting to give me an order I could seemingly follow, but no. Here are the full instructions he gave me. And these instructions, this advice, has since changed my life.

My coach told me to not focus on scoring in the next game. Instead, I was tasked with giving the puck to my teammates and assisting. You will know that “assist” is both a noun and a verb for English Literature fans. This is important because it is more than just a specific thing. It is also to misquote Massive Attack’s 1998 banger Teardrop “assisting massively is a doing” word. You have to be active to make the assist. My coach was giving me an incredible gift here. He gave me instructions to help others to help myself. People have been doing this for millennia. And it was time I started doing it on the rink.

Here’s what happened the next time we played. I focussed entirely on assisting. As I approached the goal with the puck, I looked around for my teammates. I passed to them, got myself in a better position, and gave back and scored. Of course, this meant that I had disobeyed my coach’s one instruction, but I have a feeling it was all in his plan. My coach was not one of those people who shouts “THERE’S NO I IN TEAM” but one who gently reminded me that we won or lost the game together. No one can consistently score goals, but we can always try to assist.

When I was developing the the 4 Keys (Business, Body, Relationships and Mindset), I came to realise that everything I had learnt in my life, all the trials and errors, the heart ache, the late nights, all of them have given me the experience I have needed to get to where I am today.

You can’t only have the sweet taste of victory; you also have to know the bitter tang of defeat. It’s why we can’t eat ice cream for three meals a day. It loses its magic. Also, you have to consider cavities.

In all seriousness, though, if this piece of advice from my hockey coach resulted, as it did, with more goals for me personally and more goals for my teammates, I wondered if this wisdom could be applied to other areas of life?

Indeed if we spent less time being selfish, we would benefit our environment and our family. If I am working from home and need nourishment throughout the day, I have decided I won’t keep a load of dirty plates in my office to make it look like I’m building a barricade out of crockery. I will tidy up after myself and make sure the room is suitable for others to use too. If I aim to improve for those around me, I am naturally improving myself.

The same is true for my body. This might sound dramatic, but I want to be strong enough to carry my children if they need carrying. If I feel lazy and can’t be bothered to exercise, I want to use my children as a motivating factor. I want to be fit enough to be with them for a long time. I want to be able to assist them for as long as possible.

Consider thinking about who you want to be as a leader. What do you want to be remembered for?

Are you going to be the person who allows others to shine, even if it means not taking the spotlight? Are you going to be the leader responsible for hiring brilliant people and letting them do their thing? Are you going to be one of those leaders who are self-aware enough to know when there is someone in the room better suited to pitch, deliver a presentation, or represent your business in meetings?

Being a business leader is challenging work. Of course, it is, but we don’t need to make it harder on ourselves than we need to. We can assist others and call it a team victory.

Our best work can often come when we are our best selves. When we are looking out for and thinking of others, whether those people are our teammates, your colleagues, your community or your family, we are becoming better people. Leadership doesn’t mean doing everything. It means allowing everything to happen. It’s time we take the pressure off ourselves to share the victories.

This has been The Andrew Sillitoe Blog, and I’ve been Andrew Sillitoe asking you to assist me in scoring…Not like that.