“If I were asked to give what I consider the most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you.  You cannot defeat me.’” – Ann Landers

In last week’s blog (The Winning Team – Blog 261), I explored what makes for a “Winning Team.”  My inspiration was that it was Super Bowl Sunday. Little did I know when I wrote it that Super Bowl LI would turn out to be a game for the Ages.  Moreover, how the New England Patriots pulled off their come from WAY behind win provided a textbook example of what a Winning Team is all about.

As you will recall, I suggested that, besides sports teams, there are many other teams in our lives — at the office, in the network marketing industry, schools, families,  volunteers, government, etc. – and  I identified five qualities that I believe a Winning Team must have:

  • A shared Purpose
  • Mutual respect
  • Clear, honest communication
  • A team-supported designated Leader
  • Good sportsmanship

I also invited my readers to let me know of any other winning qualities they could identify.  Two did.  And both of those qualities definitely were present for the Patriots to become the #1 Winning Team in American football:

6) Heart – The first reader quoted the Super Bowl sports commentators who said the biggest difference they saw in the winner was “heart.”  That’s an evocative word which, to me, means being so completely committed to your Big Goal that you never, ever consider giving up.  You keep going even when the odds are ridiculously stacked against you because you believe in yourself, your team and your dream.

The Patriots certainly had heart.  They persevered to narrow a 25 point deficit to just 8 points behind the Falcons with about 3 minutes left to go.  I have a confession to make.  I turned off the game at that point.  I know….It looked so impossible to me, that I thought it was over. Clearly, I didn’t BELIEVE in the Patriots the way they believed in themselves.

Fortunately, because the Patriots had heart, they never gave up. They managed to tie the game in the nick of time and went into the first overtime period in Super Bowl history.

How did they do it?  One. Play. At. A. Time.  If they had simply looked at the “big picture” like I was doing, they might have been tempted to let discouragement or desperation seep in and their plays would not have worked as well as they did.  I watched the replay of the fourth quarter and overtime the next day, and I could see it all over quarterback Tom Brady’s face:  100% COMMITMENT to his goal and 100% FOCUS on what the next step needed to be.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  The Patriots persevered, one play at a time, and they triumphed.  And as I have seen countless times for myself and my clients, because of  the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”), whenever you are ALL-IN, you seem to attract a “lucky” break exactly when you need it.  In this case, the Patriots won the coin toss at the start of overtime, allowing them to receive.  And they made the very most of that opportunity with some incredible plays, culminating in a just-barely-over–the-line touchdown to win the Super Bowl.

The second reader reminded me of another very important characteristic of a Winning Team that was also present in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory:

7) Acknowledgment — Every winning team needs both a focused leader AND committed members. Every single individual on the team contributes to the win, not just the few who stand out for their extraordinary accomplishments.  Even an immensely talented quarterback like Tom Brady can’t reach his Big Goal unless every single player on the team performs his job to the utmost of his ability.  That’s why EVERY member of the Winning Team gets a Super Bowl ring, symbolizing their own hard work, sacrifice and “heart” that contributed to the team’s victory.

Every one of us craves acknowledgment, and the leader and members of a Winning Team all make sure that each and every member feels appreciated.  Be it a sports team, a business team, or a marriage, no team member who feels taken for granted will stick around for long.  Recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of a trophy or money or tangible prize.  It can be as simple as the words “Thank you for your efforts” or – EVEN  better  – those words could be written in a personal note or posted publicly, so the recipient can treasure them forever.

I hope these seven qualities are something that you are actively working on incorporating into your own Winning Team, in whatever area of life it may be.  Remember, you don’t have to be perfect in order to win your game.  You just have to have heart and give it your BEST!

PLEASE NOTE:  In honor of President’s Day Weekend, the blog will take next Sunday off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday February 26.

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