Our focus in the month of January for Community of Competitors Newsletter is to set up 2016 for success by focus on our response. As many of you that have heard me speak know, my first mantra of success is as follows: We have no control over what goes on around us, and we have total control over how we respond.
When the Seahawks took on the Panthers on Sunday, you saw a perfect example of responding. The first half of the game was plagued with errors and mistakes by the Seahawks that resulted in a half time score of 31-0. Many people stepped away from this game because they felt the game was over and the score was lopsided. I decided to continue to watch for one reason, to see how the Seahawks responded. You see, the Seattle Seahawks and Coach Pete Carroll are one of the most open organizations about their inner workings and approach to player and team sports psychology. In turn, they are one of the most studied organizations.
It is fascinating to boil down to the deepest levels of sports psychology that Pete Carroll is able to implement within his team. This past week, there was an article published by ESPN.com outlining the Seahawks “culture of grit.” (Culture of Grit Article.) Grit is a term coined and subsequently studied by professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Angela Duckworth. (You can see her TED Talk here The Key to Success? Grit .) Basically, “grit” is our ability to pursue long-term goals and is broken down into passion and perseverance.
The Seahawks select players that have passion, not just in the draft, but also in their undrafted free agent signings. At one point in the 2015-16 season, the Seahawks had more undrafted free agents on their roster (24) than any other team in the NFL. Sure, everyone wants to hear about Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman, but the Seahawks are engineered to have and develop passion and perseverance within their players and throughout their organization.
Here is a quote from Pete Carroll that outlines why they trend toward those players that were not as highly touted as others, “They know they’ve got something to prove. This game isn’t all about talent. So much of it is about your heart and how hard you’re willing to work and how you fight through all of it and the passion that your bring. Those guys, we really appreciate those kind of guys.”
For you, the members of the Community of Competitors, I feel the same way. You have something to prove. Your success in life is not always about the talent that you have in your chosen area, but how you choose to respond with perseverance and compete with passion. In this Community of Competitors, we have business people, teachers, athletes, and coaches and members of all ages and our execution of excellence will determine our success. The challenge for you is to live everyday with passion and perseverance. Passion and Perseverance are part of your RESPONSE to what is occurring around you. As a member of the Community of Competitors you are expected to RESPOND with the Heart of a Competitor. This is the reason you open this message on a weekly basis and the reason you are being challenged this week to share this message with five people. (Next week’s message will detail why we focus on five people.)
Let me finish by saying this, developing grit, RESPONDING with the Heart of a Competitor does not mean that you are guaranteed to “win” on the scoreboard. The Seahawks did not win their game yesterday and they did not win in the Super Bowl last year, however in the Seahawks world these experiences are all based on developing the perseverance and passion that will allow them to pursue improvement over a long-term. If you do not believe me, just check out how Russell Wilson handles his post-game press conference. (Russell Wilson post-game press conference on NFL.com.)
Live this week with the Heart of a Competitor.