Ahhhh, the NFL Playoffs last weekend delivered as usual: thrills and chills, dramatic plays, even touching moments. Three lessons for US in the real work world stand out to me:
1. Turnovers were the story. Remember I’m always preaching “interception” in your own life. I interpret the concept of “interception” as looking for an opportunity in a non-traditional place. Defensive players are not known for their ability to receive the catch. However, if you can intercept a pass from the opponent quarterback, you can turn around a game and the momentum. That’s what Baltimore Raven Ed Reed (his nickname is Mr. Opportunity) did with 2 minutes left in the game. He intercepted Houston’s go-ahead pass at their GOAL LINE! Talk about dramatic plays! So, when things aren’t working like they “used to,” change them up! Don’t be afraid to try a completely different networking group, or give something away to a potential client you have never given before, perhaps some research they can use even without you there. You must be Mr./Ms. Opportunity!
2. On the other hand, shame on Houston. Their lesson is hold onto the ball; ours is hold onto our “inventory,” whether it’s a garage full of widgets, or, for us service people, your TIME and your ENERGY. We all have 24 hours in a day—it’s fair, it really is—but we need to be frugal and protective of our time and energy. Don’t fritter it away on other people’s priorities. Take care of your “ball” or scoring device. The teams with the most turnovers—interceptions and fumbles—lost the big playoff game! Be tenacious, people, in order to win.
3. Home field advantage! As in other years, most of the playoff games (7 out of 8) were won by the team playing in its own stadium. Ray Lewis, 16-year veteran (and still with washboard abs, doncha know) of the Ravens said, “the hardest thing is to win on the road—when you make mistakes, it’s harder to come back.” Interesting that it goes beyond just the support noise of your fans in the stands. . .I say YOU need to get home field advantage, too—in your own HOME. Those people who love you are your home team. So when you’ve had a crummy day at the office, or on sales appointments, remember to express appreciation to everyone at home. Have at least a little time and energy left for your home team. You may have to write it in your calendar at first (I did) until it becomes habit. But it’s worth it—they can help you win in the tough spots.
Lastly, I have to mention the emotional moment that warms our women hearts. San Francisco Giant, Vernon Davis, played a magnificent game, and was key to their victory over the Saints. He came off the field at the end of the game, after making a fabulous catch for a touchdown, and he was unabashedly sobbing, and was enfolded into the arms of his Head Coach. His story is cool: he also cried when he was drafted, so he is an emotional person, and he did leave everything on the field on Saturday. This, after his last coach humiliated him a couple of seasons ago, by kicking him out of a game. The new coach, Jim Harbaugh is something else (see my blog of Nov. 7, 2011, on “what a difference a coach makes.” ) He convinced his team they were good enough to WIN, and they did. Are you motivating your team that way? We all should be. . .