Hello, my friends.
Today’s lesson about becoming the best possible version of you is entitled “Life Lessons from the Super Bowl.”
As you can see, I am wearing a replica jersey of the New England Patriots, one of the teams I grew up rooting for in Boston, and the team that won the 2017 Super Bowl. The number is the number of one of my favorite (former) players, Tedy Bruschi. He is a phenomenal guy and was a phenomenal player.
For most of us, sports were part of our childhood. Playing sports and going to sporting events with family members was a big part of my upbringing. I became a diehard fan of the teams that were in my area, and I didn’t like the teams from other areas.
For the two teams that were in the Super Bowl this year – the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons – I have big respect for them reaching the Super Bowl and playing an incredibly entertaining and very exciting game. It could have gone either way. It looked like it was going to go one way, and in the end, it turned out going the other way.
That said, I am not on either team. I don’t personally know anybody on either team. The result of the game, in reality, has no bearing or impact on my life whatsoever. I would be feeling the same way today about my life, family, faith, and business, regardless of the outcome. That is an enormously important point because, really, at the end of it all, sports are simply a form of entertainment.
Now for the owners, coaches, and players – particularly those in the professional ranks – sports are their lives. That’s what they do for a living. It’s their business. They’re invested emotionally, and they care very much; but we should never forget the fact that this is their work, and this is their job. The rest of us are paying to watch and buying their jerseys.
Sports are a source of entertainment, but they are also a source of great life lessons. And that’s really what this article is all about.
Here are a few notes I made while watching the game.
Adversity doesn’t build character. It reveals it.
I believe you have character in your youth, instilled by the way you were raised, the things you learned, and your God-given character – your sense of who you are and what your purpose is. It’s in there. Whether you are aware of it or not is another story, and during the challenging times that “test your metal”, your character reveals itself.
When you think about the obstacles in your life – the times of testing – be grateful, because they allow you to reveal to the world and (more importantly) yourself, your true character.
You must believe in yourself and ignore the haters.
You have goals you want to achieve. Know this: The closer you come to reaching those goals, the more people are going to pull you down. It’s just human nature…”haters gonna hate”, so to speak.
You have to be able to shut out the outside world, and focus on those things that are most important to you.
Athletes at the top levels of many sports very often reveal that they don’t read media, look at social media, or watch TV. They do everything possible to isolate themselves from negative energy.
You have to believe in yourself, and you have to shut out the hate.
Those who follow you take your cue.
This is true in our business and personal lives. Leadership is an enormous form of influence on other people. When you are a leader – whether you are a parent, business owner, peer, neighbor, or friend – you have the opportunity to lead others by the way you conduct yourself.
If you watch the leaders in a sporting event, you can see the fate of the team rise and fall with the composure, behavior, and attitude of the most visible players and coaches.
Always remember your opportunity and responsibility to lead people by example. Recognize that in some form or fashion, you are on stage. People are watching you, whether you realize it or not. They are taking their cues from the way you conduct yourself.
The Bible teaches us that we are not to fear or worry. In fact, I’ve been told there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible.
It is healthier for you to view challenging times, not as sources of anxiety, apprehension, or fear (where you cower and shrink), but as exciting, stimulating, challenging times where you get to do things that are outside your comfort zone.
Now by definition, being outside your comfort zone means you are not comfortable. But when you advance into that zone, you actually expand your comfort zone beyond its current limits. Even if you go there and fall short, you may not win…but you also do not lose. You have learned something valuable. Success is a journey punctuated by failure after failure after failure. You don’t lose unless you quit.
You can look at sports merely as entertainment. Or you can glean the lessons of the game. Or you can do both – enjoy the entertainment and learn (and apply) the lessons.
In this case, it was a truly entertaining event, and the lessons were powerful.