I think that there are a lot of things that I need to own up to and apologize for. In the last blog I wrote a lot of things out of pure frustration and pent up anger. Without any hesitation or time to breathe I submitted the blog. Needless to say, it was a massive mistake and a lesson learned: Do not act on emotion, write it down and sleep on it.
By no means is this an excuse, but I want to clarify certain things. In short, this past year has been very difficult for me. One misconception about our leadership is that I didn't have the option to take control. During the formation of our team, it was decided that 3 of us were candidates for leader: Me, TC and Wayto. Due to my insecurity over the previous year, I declined leadership. In the end, TC became our official drafter.
Over the next couple of months our team faced a decline after a patch that completely threw our team off balance. It was clear that something needed to be changed, but with Korea, MLG, and Dreamhack around the corner we decided to try our best under our circumstances. What occurred during those events was a 3-way contest for leadership. From one game to the next, our ideas clashed. Some games I would heavily influence the draft and others would feel undermined, and others I would be quiet and feel resentment. In the end, a lot of our drafts became a mediocre collective instead of the true idea. It cycled in this way for quite some time, until we realized that it wasn't the way to go.
No one had a problem with any changes we wanted to make and around New Years` time, we decided that we needed to do something different. Wayto reached out to me because he had noticed that I was feeling very apathetic, along with some other members of the team. He really seemed to honor my opinion and encouraged me to point out the things I liked and disliked about our team. Wayto asked me if I wanted to lead and I told him that I did deep down. I told him that I felt inescapably helpless to making our team succeed and that I had felt unappreciated. At that point he gave me the option to choose if I wanted to lead. I was extremely inspired and felt a massive surge of energy thinking about the direction I wanted to see our team go. However, it was the holiday season and 1 month had passed where we barely had any tournaments or time to practice. Once things started to kick into gear again, I had lost my fire and succumbed to my own fear. Things resumed in the same fashion in the coming days.
Every day, I felt an immense amount of pain in not taking a chance on myself. I consoled myself through talks with my friends and always came to the conclusion that I felt that I could do much good for our situation. After each practice I had the urge to assume responsibility and explain to my team where I wanted us to go. However I failed each and every time due to the fact that, all the while, we were trying new things ourselves and I believed we could succeed. We'd go on streaks where things felt good and everyone was happy with our results. On the other hand we'd lose several games in a row and lose confidence. This cycle repeated endlessly and left me extremely confused. In scrims we did extremely well, sometimes winning 10 to games consecutively.
We've had many many team talks since the very beginning discussing the nature of our team and what we thought we needed to adjust. The famous quote by Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I felt insane, by that definition, and didn't know what to do. Every time that I felt that we hit rock bottom and it was my responsibility to make a change, things went well shortly thereafter. I grew restless at some point and had decided that we were in need of a dire situation, where our backs were against the wall. I had hoped that in that moment I would've been able to gather myself and lead us to victory. These types of situations came, in abundance, yet I just couldn't. This, ultimately lead to the creation of the last blog where I completely exploded.
It's been interpreted by a lot of readers that I had purposefully sabotaged or underperformed on purpose during all of those events. I want to make it very clear that I put my heart and soul into everything we do. I can't even fathom the idea of not trying my best with my team. I believe in our team and our teams potential so much. I never wanted it to come to this. I'm so sorry that it turned out this way and that I belittled our teams struggles.
I want to also clarify what I meant by feeling disrespected. I want to make it clear that I never felt disrespected by my teammates. Every member of the team always supported each other and very rarely shut anyone's opinion out. Wayto, especially, played a crucial role in sorting out everyone's concerns and being understanding. He made it his goal to make everyone happy and ready to fight. Qojqva never raised his voice or expressed disbelief in our team. He's always been ready to do whatever it takes to succeed and has been an absolute joy to play alongside with. TC has always been willing to be flexible and receptive to everyone's ideas as the leader and has never shown any weakness in his consistency. TC has been such a strong person to be able to withstand the brunt of the pressures and never falter. Bulba has grown so much from experience and had learned to be more vocal and accepting of our failures. He was, perhaps, affected the most by our results but never lost his baseline ability to be a beacon of resolve. Finally, Team Liquid and its staff have been extremely supportive of us and never put any sort of pressure on our team for our results. Everyone at Team Liquid offered their sincerest advice and services, if we ever asked.
The times that I've felt disrespected have come from the times that I, in my head, had not gotten my childish way. The opinions I've expressed and the thoughts I've had had often been radical and extremely arrogant. I had felt urges to defend my beliefs and got overly defensive when they came under assault. I undermined the work of my teammates by commanding authority when it wasn't my place to accept responsibility. I had not completely understood the fact that I do not have the right to force my ideas onto our leadership in my position. I pushed and pushed and pushed and let our team tank results as a result of a mix of too many ideas. I accept all of the responsibility for whatever disrespect I felt and I hope that it's clarified that no one made me feel that way except myself.
In my anger, I oversimplified the relationships I have with the people on my team. I threw them under a bus and disrespected their achievements. For all the hardships we've endured and all the achievements we've shared, there is so much more to Team Liquid. I honestly admire so many things about each of my teammates.
The last question I want to address is, "What happens now?"
It feels as if I'm awake for the first time in a year and a half. I've a rejuvenated passion for the game I love. I feel stronger, smarter and more efficient. The energy I've had in the past couple of days has been uncontested. I'm currently working on revamping the current model we've been using. There's always a possibility that my team evaluates my succession a failure and that I won't be a part of the team any longer. I should say now, that I sincerely accept that fact and hold no ill will for any outcome.
I aim to create a network of people who help our team grow in several different aspects. I've been in contact with several individuals who have given me extremely useful tools, techniques and strategies to creating the strongest version of our team possible. I'm working on creating stronger bridges of communication between myself and every individual on our team. I'm listening to several audiobooks that promote and strengthen team dynamics. I'm working on every aspect of improving and becoming the strongest version of myself, mind and body. I hope to encourage and inspire the people around me through action.
The leader I was back then would've done everything on his own and would've gotten frustrated by failure. The leader I aim to be, today, is someone who works with anything and everything at my disposal. I feel that a leader is someone who isn't necessarily the strongest individual or the most commanding of a team, but the person who is able to provide all the necessary successful strategies to the team. I feel that it is a symbol more than an identity. I never once fooled myself into believing that I'd be a part of a dictatorship leading style again. I fully believe in my teams' insight and skill. I'd be a fool to ignore the fact that TC has amazing game understanding, Wayto has impeccable reads, Qojqva has unbelievable skill and Bulba possesses the indisputable resolve to succeed. I understand that each of them possesses something greater than I, and that I would be nothing without them.
I'm willing to put everything on the line to help everyone achieve their goals. Every sacrifice will be made to take our team to the next level. Please look out for Team Liquid and continue to support us. I expect to fail in the short term for the greater success of the long term. Everything we do will be in the hopes of reaching our dreams. I'm done being afraid.