This week’s Monday Matters is inspired by Super Bowl XLIX.
With 4 older brothers, a very athletic (and competitive) mom and older sister, I think sports are in my genes. And although I’m not as into sports as I used to be, I still love a good football or basketball game. Today I want to share with you a few lessons I learned from watching this year’s Super Bowl game that relate to both business and life.
Lesson #1: Life Will Try To Distract You, Learn To Be a Noise Blocker
About a week before the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots had been under-inflating the footballs used in their home games by 2 pounds per square inch below what’s required by NFL regulations. The team is still under investigation, yet with all the noise surrounding this incident, the Patriots were able to stay block out all the media and chatter and prepare for the biggest game of the season. On game day, they were focused, kept their head in the game, and in the end, they did their job and won the Super Bowl.
In life and business, you will face noisy chatter. Whether it’s from people telling you what you “should” or “could” be doing better or perhaps a mistake you made came back to bite you in the tush – whatever is going on around you is not what’s important. What’s important is how you handle the noise. It’s not about what’s being said, it’s how you respond to it that will determine your ability to block out the noise, stay focused and keep moving forward.
Lesson #2: How You Start Is Key To How You Finish
I have to give it to the Patriots – they scored the first touch down and were able to keep the Seahawks off the board until the end of the first half. That’s a result of both great offense and great defense. It’s also the way to set the stage for the rest of the game. When it comes to achieving success in the biggest opportunity of your career, jump in and start strong. Set the pace of how you will perform, and don’t let up until you reach your goal.
Lesson #3: Don’t Underestimate The Rookies
I know Tom Brady got the credit for MVP and Coach Bill Belichick was also given high praise for his leadership of the team. And it’s true – the quarterback and the coach worked all season long to lead their team to the Super Bowl, and it paid off. But if we look at how the Patriots were able to keep the Seahawks from scoring that last touch down, we can’t ignore the game-winning interception by Malcolm Butler, a free agent, rookie on the Patriots’ team. Look around you, are there people who you think because they’re just starting out or maybe they haven’t been with your company or business that long, they can’t possibly help you or assist you in any way? Don’t. do. that.
I’ll tell you in my line of business, I’ve had to grow some very thick skin around people who are older because they simply don’t like being told what do by someone half (or more) of their age. But such is the nature of technology and the use of social media. It simply has forced many to change in a way that is unprecedented and the truth is, it’s not a matter of being “new at this” – it’s a matter of being willing to take on a new experience and do what it takes to be available to offer value, assistance, new insight, or a different perspective where needed. And the people who welcome new ideas even from the “rookie” will have a much better chance at winning than those who ignore them.
Lesson #4: Stick To the Basics When The Goal Is Right In Front of You
And speaking of how the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl on that last play – Wow!
In case you didn’t see the game, here’s what happened: The Seahawks were down 24 to 28, but in true Seahawks fashion, they got possession of the ball and even in the last seconds of the game, they were able to get within 2 yards of the goal line to score a touchdown the last 40 seconds of the game. Except, rather than scoring – with plenty of time on the clock – they threw the ball and it was intercepted by the Patriots – and the pass was intercepted by a rookie no less (see point #3).
I can’t say that I agree with the call to throw a pass when they were that close to the goal line. Even the announcers were baffled by the call the throw the ball rather than run it.
So let’s look at how this situation could easily happen IRL: “in real life.” Many times when you work towards a goal, it takes longer to accomplish it than you think. Lots of long hours, hard work, dedication and commitment are put in to achieve what you set out to do. During the process, you may learn a new technique or time-saving tool or find another way to do things that you incorporate into your own system of getting things done.
Much like the Seahawks, who relied on Marshawn Lynch to get the ball across the goal line – something he is very good at. Yet, when you get to the point where your goal is in reach and you see the finish line right in front of you, rather than relying on what has carried you through up to this point, you pull out one of the new strategies or techniques, and before you know it, you forget the systematic process and opt for the “quick” way. But to your surprise and utter disappointment, that quick and easy move, could cost you several hours, weeks, or even years of work because it was simply the wrong action to take at that particular time.
If you didn’t watch the game and are even remotely interested in seeing that last play, I pulled a clip from the Sports Grid channel on YouTube, so you can see what I mean.
Lesson #5: Taking The Blame Is Just As Important As Taking The Credit
Even though the Seahawks didn’t win the Super Bowl game, they are still winners in my book. Why? Because of their coach’s response after the game. When asked why the call was made to throw instead of run the ball Seahawks Coach, Pete Carroll, said “It was my fault…”we” made the call…” Now that’s true leadership. He could easily have passed the blame to the offensive coordinator (Darrell Bevel) or to the quarterback (Russell Wilson) or anyone else who may have been involved in making that call.
But he didn’t do that. Instead of blaming everyone else, he took responsibility and owned the mistake. And that’s the lesson here: You will make mistakes in life and in business – you’ll make a bad call or have a lapse in judgment. The way to get on top of your mistakes so you can move forward is to own them, and most importantly, learn from them. I’m pretty sure the Seahawks have learned a valuable lesson from the mistake that very well cost them the biggest game of the season. And that’s the good thing about mistakes – they can teach us valuable life lessons if we let them.