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Lessons Learned at the Super Bowl

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of realizing one of my life goals—attending the Super Bowl. I’ve been to big sporting events before—the NBA Championship (Game 5 of the Pistons beating the Lakers in 2004), several Final Fours and the MLB All-Star Game in 2005. But none was a bigger spectacle than Super Bowl XL. My son, Andy, and I enjoyed the entire day walking around downtown Detroit, visiting Winter Blast, viewing the ESPN broadcast, and watching the thousands of people celebrating the Big Game.

So what does all this have to do with success, personal development, and the achievement of goals? Everything. Sports is a metaphor for life, and we can learn a lot about achieving success by watching professional athletes, and professional sports. Here are a few lessons that I learned at the Super Bowl:

  1. The Perseverance Lesson. Jerome Bettis finally is wearing a Super Bowl ring for the first time in his 13-year career. Coach Bill Cowher also received his first ring, after leading his team into the playoffs 10 times in the last 14 years. The Steelers are models of perseverance, as they continued for years to do what they knew they needed to do to be successful. And finally it paid off.
  2. The Determination Lesson. The Steelers battled back from a 7-5 start to the season. They almost didn’t get into the playoffs, then were seeded 6th (last). In order to get into the Super Bowl, they won three straight playoff games on the road against the top three teams in their division. This team was extremely determined.
  3. The Gut Check Lesson. After a mediocre start, the Steelers needed to win their last four games to make the playoffs. With their backs up against the wall, Coach Cowher told his players to look at themselves in the mirror, and ask themselves if they’re doing everything they can for the team.

There are other lessons, too. About working hard, and setting goals. Focusing on the outcome. Visualizing the successful achievement of goals. The Gut Check Lesson is the one that has really stuck with me, and the one that I most wanted to share with you.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, are you doing everything you can to reach your goals? If the answer is yes, then congratulations. You’re well on your way. But if there’s more you could be doing, then step it up a notch, beginning today.

The Steelers didn’t play their best game in the Super Bowl. But they did play well enough to win. Make sure that you’re playing well enough to win…in life!


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