By the time this article hits the press, the Super Bowl will have been played, the trophy awarded, the hype over, billions of dollars will have exchanged hands, and some proud football player will announce he’s going to Disney World. For sports fans, it’s time to move onto Spring Training and non-sports fans will be happy their Sunday night shows will no longer be delayed. But wait, there’s more to take away from these 6 months of planning, practice, playing, entertaining and feeding the economy.
There are 32 teams in the NFL, in the end there is one team crowned as the best in the world, the champions. Yet, they are not the only champions, or the only successful team. Success is not about winning or losing. As Steve Prefontaine, the late international track star once said, “Success isn’t how far you go but the distance you traveled from where you started.”
Success is about having a vision and purpose for which you have passion. Knowing what resources you have and identifying those you need. Being focused and disciplined. Learning from each experience and being flexible and adaptable.
Tip #1 – Having a vision and purpose for which you have passion.
Studies have shown that in order to achieve the highest level of motivation, you must know what you need, perform tasks that suit your innate skills and talents, and use them toward a higher purpose for which you have passion. It’s pretty clear for football teams, their vision and purpose is to be the Super Bowl champs, and it is what drives them from training camp throughout the season. What’s your vision and purpose? Does it suit your natural skills and talents and do you have passion for it? If your answer is anything but yes, you would be wise to step back and examine what you’re doing, reassess and write a vision and purpose statement.
Tip #2 – Know what resources you need, identify the gap and acquire what’s missing.
Football teams hire professional scouts; they are constantly looking for the talent they need to win the Super Bowl. Without the right talent, there is it is much tougher, to achieve success. Who is your scout? Larger companies can afford to hire professional recruiters and have them on staff, smaller companies need other alternatives. Most importantly, they need a staffing plan. One that identifies the talent they need, the gaps they have, the skills they need to acquire, and their budget as well as hiring strategy so they can execute when needed. This ensures the right players are your team at the right time. Do you have the players you need? If you don’t have such a plan, it would wise to create one.
Tip #3 – Be focused and disciplined.
Coach Bellichick is a master at focus and discipline and because he is also a master of leadership, his is able to instill the importance of these traits to his players. This team may not have won the Super Bowl, but think about what they were able to achieve in a year when a player was arrested for murder, and had several key players experience season ending injuries, which had critics predicting a disastrous season. How can this happen? In Bill’s words, “These players, a lot of other people didn’t believe in them, but they believe in themselves. And that is all that matters.” When you can be very present, not care what others say, do or think about you, you will find that focus and discipline provide a great sense of accomplishment, which promotes motivation. You may want to take this opportunity to do some self assessment. How much do you believe in yourself? What stops you from being focused and disciplined? What do you want instead and what do you need to make it happen?
Tip #4 – Learn from every experience.
Rarely, if ever, will you hear Coach Bellichick, or any of his players, blame other players, coaches or competitors for their mistakes. His leadership has taught them to look at what worked, what didn’t and what they each can do to improve. There is no blaming, no whining, just opportunity to learn, change and be better. Blaming anyone or any circumstance keeps us where we are, causes us to feel badly about ourselves and greatly minimizes our chance to succeed. Are you a blamer or a learner? The choice is yours.
Tip #5 – Be flexible and adaptable.
If the Patriots taught us nothing else this year, they certainly taught us the importance of flexibility and adaptability as well as the importance of having depth and breadth of skill. What they were able to accomplish, losing so many key players, would make an incredible case study for any leadership program. What do you choose to take away from this? Where do you rank in this area? This is a critical question for both sole proprietors and business owners with employees. Remember, if you have employees, they take their lead from you.
So, the Patriots may not have gotten to the Super Bowl this year, but they certainly had a very successful year. My call to action for you is to answer the questions posed at the end of each tip. Determine what you want to change and ask for the help you need. This is not easy work and it’s essential to achieve success.