by Sara Luther
with all due respect...

We all need a Ted

I don’t really watch TV.  Seriously.  The last series I was committee to was Game of Thornes.  Nothing before and nothing after…until Ted Lasso.

After too many friends whined about how I “NEEDED” to watch it, I relented.  There was something different in their plea compared to being told I “NEEDED” to watch Mad Man, or see the move Bad Boss, or play “Cards Against Humanity”.  As a human rights lawyer, my sense of joy and entertainment is a little different and often I felt like these enticements were more of a setup than a true recommendation.

Then comes Ted.  When I fall for things, I fall hard.  Especially when there is a cast of characters that takes our real world, magnifies all of what makes us “good and bad”, and then mirrors it back to us so brilliantly.  The tension and internal conflict within Ted, the tensions and conflicts between players, the connections between Ted and others, the connections between the players.  The emotions, the lack of emotions.  The routines and the rituals. Ted shows an inability to tolerate tea, but, can accept a person’s shortcomings by understanding their parentage.  In the end, I was drawn into the enormous commitment of the show to ensure relationships were center field with some soccer on the sideline.

We are, and we always be, in relationship.  When coaching (not soccer…people) I will have people draw a relationship sphere.  They place themselves in the middle and we draw rings around them.  I ask them to place names of people that they most regularly interact with first and then we move towards the outer circle.  Then we start some coding.  Who has most influence over them? Who has decision making powers? Who do they want to have more connection with? Who do they want to influence? This mapping can ignite valuable insights, shift perspectives, redirect efforts.  That’s what Ted does everyday.

He has limited time with some of the most important influencers and he makes that time count (yes, by making biscuits for his boss!).  For those he sees more regularly he ensures they feel his presence but also gives them space.  He knows when to step in, and when to step out.  He sees people for what they can become, not just who they are showing up as. All the time trying to navigate his relationship with himself, he is uncertain of many things, but certain about the importance of relationships.

Why am I writing about this show on my professional blog? Well…

Ted Lasso is at work.  It’s about his boss, his colleagues, his “employees” (aka players) and the ultimate beneficiaries – the fans.  He is not perfect and nor are we.  However, he’s certainly trying to be the best version of himself, as often as possible, for the sake of all of them.  Are we doing the same?