Three Super Bowl Life Lessons for All of Us
The greatest Super Bowl ever - that's what people are calling it. The most watched media spectacle in the world featured the dramatic come-from-behind victory from the NFL's oldest quarterback and smartest coach. They were behind by 25 points with 24 minutes to play. They were playing a faster team that dominated the game for three quarters. Then suddenly the New England Patriots became perfect and the impossible became possible.
I feel some angst for the Atlanta Falcons players and coaches. It is always hard to lose, but it is much more devastating to lose when you were so far ahead.
Although it could be debated, what I observed was not so much that the Falcons lost as much as the Patriots won.
Here's what I mean.
The Patriots upped their game when it counted. Games are won or lost in the fourth quarter. Statistically, Tom Brady played 50% better in the fourth quarter then he did in the previous three. His confidence and belief in his teammates created opportunities and raised the level of effort of every New England Patriot. It was palpable. You could see it and feel it until the victory became inevitable.
I fell asleep after the game marveling at what I just saw, and I woke up swimming in the early morning brain waves that had organized my thoughts into three powerful reminders that winning at the game of life is ultimately the sum of two scores . . . your happiness and your self-respect.
Victory at life rests on some core principles that the Super Bowl reminded me of:
Lift. Increase your effort when it matters. Everyone falls behind in life and there have been times in my life when I never thought I could be truly happy again. I have learned the art of "energetically" hanging in there. It's not about waiting for something good to happen but rather having the grit to keep learning and moving forward until external circumstances change in your favor.
Lead. Ask the people you work with, and the people you live with, and your friends to make and keep commitments that will benefit all of you. That's the core of leadership. Much of inspiring others to be their best and do their best comes from expecting them to. Everyone needs both support and feedback to improve. Discipline and nurturing are both essential to leadership, so lead.
Leap. There is nothing more thrilling to watch in a football game than a leaping catch. In any sport, from football to figure skating, when we see someone make a super human effort to achieve a goal we thought was impossible and actually do it our brain chemicals are triggered to give us a sense of elation. The question we face in life is when to leap. It's true that not all things are possible. Effort alone will not make up for a lack of skill or natural talent. Knowing when to leap requires deep self-knowledge. It requires knowing what you want and how to get the most out of your current ability and future potential. Great leapers are not reckless. Rather, they are fearless at critical moments they are prepared for. They practice leaping in low-risk circumstances so they are not overwhelmed by big challenges that require leaping for success. Successful leaping requires training. Train yourself to leap with confidence in exciting moments of possibility.
Remember you don't have to make every catch or land every jump just like you don't have to convince every doubter or land every job. As you look back on your life there will be only a few leaps that really matter. So never stop leaping.
P.S. If you're a woman that would like to apply the principles of lifting, leading and leaping to your career join me for a one day WE - Women Effect workshop on Feb 28 in LaJolla. You will leave with a clear career plan and three vital skills to increase your influence and your impact. To see the agenda or register, click here.