076: New England Patriot Marquis Flowers: You learned leadership wrong
Which is more common—an athlete becoming a leading political figure, or a political figure becoming an athlete?
Talking to Marquis Flowers of the New England Patriots, reinforces that leadership lessons from sports stars are some are some of the best I hear. Many athletes become leaders in business, politics, and so on, but the reverse never happens. The difference tells me that sports teaches skills useful and essential to leadership.
Marquis’s conversation clearly shows the results. He shares about teamwork, commitment, and handling highs and lows of winning, losing, and struggling through long periods where you’re working as hard as you can and see no light at the end of tunnel.
I coach c-suite leaders of publicly traded companies and entrepreneurs who have founded and sold multiple businesses. This 26-year-old young man shows experience and wisdom in personal leadership that matches any of them.
How long could you work at the peak of your ability—working as hard as you can, physically and emotionally exhausting yourself to your limit as often as you can—without hope of recognition or reward?
Don’t think of the exhaustion. Exhaustion feels great. Think of starting when you’re tired. What motivates you internally when you have no external incentive? What do you have to learn about yourself? What can you create in your social and physical environment, your beliefs, and your behavior to push yourself harder than most people push themselves at all when your exhausted? How do you create the internal results of feeling glory, joy, or whatever rewarding when it’s dark out and nobody else you know is trying that hard?
Because that’s how you get to the Super Bowl.
Is it worth it?
It is if you care. There’s only one path to it, and it takes work.
Whether you play football or not, you have a Super Bowl—something you care about that you could devote your life to. Is it your kids’ success? Business success? Your marriage? Your sport? Your hobby?
What are you capable of that you don’t know yet?
As Marquis puts it, what will get you through when that 30 minute task suddenly takes 3 hours? Marquis was a Super Bowl star-to-be who struggled for years in the doldrums of a losing team. Are you in doldrums? What can you do to reach your Super Bowl?
If your leadership training or life experience doesn’t include serious competition, where winning and losing meant something big to you and drove you to discover more about yourself, results like Marquis’s tells me you could benefit from it.
Does that sound like skills, experiences, and beliefs useful for environmental work?