Basketball along with other group oriented activities have taught me many things but one of the most important lessons I have stumbled across thus far is understanding the word “valuable”. Valuable is a word that many use to describe objects of importance, but understanding how this word can apply to many different aspects of your life can be quite helpful.

Working in groups, similar to how you would work on sports teams, can be hard simply because there are roles that need to be filled at all times. Just like there can’t be too many superstars on the same team there can’t be too many leaders in a group; you need followers as well. With that being said, while every role is important every role is not created equal; they come with different levels of responsibility. These variations in responsibility can cause people to feel less or more valuable than the next person, and this is where the problem lies. When working in groups or on teams it is important to understand that no person is more valuable than the next. As my teammate once said, “To be valuable is to understand two things, that you are of value to the group and helping it achieve a common goal, as well as being ‘able’.”

Let me break this down.

Value: Just because you aren’t the leader of the group or the franchise player doesn’t mean you are less valuable then that person. While accolades may come their way more often, without you, achieving the common goal would be difficult. (i.e. Even Michael Jordan needed someone to inbound the ball for him; he couldn’t throw it to himself.) Often the accolades one receives seems synonomus to the value they bring to the group and how unfortunate that is? This perspective can be detrimental to its beholder, as well as the group because it can hinder one’s performance and more importantly their confidence.

Able: Speaking of confidence, knowing that you are able does exactly that; it makes you confident. “Confidence is key.” We’ve all heard this overused phrase before, but it has never been more correct. Knowing what you bring to the table allows you to showcase your abilities in the best ways possible.  Knowing that you are able is a personal realization; it is you believing in yourself, your preparation, and everything that has gotten you to the point you are today. Who better to believe in yourself than you? Who better to be confident in your abilities than you? Without confidence you are not able to reach your full potential whether that be taking care of your tasks or helping out with other tasks within the group as needed.

Knowing the meanings behind “value” and “able” are important to fully understanding the word valuable and how it can apply to your life. Being able is being confident, and being of value comes from knowing that you bring something special to the group.Though you might not have the most glamorous job, you will always be valuable. So next time you find yourself feeling less than remember that there is much more to being valuable than what meets the eye.