Superbowl 47. Stellar performances. Great come backs. Manly squabbles on the field. And yes, even a “lights out” moment that changes the energy of play. During those 34 minutes, the coaches on both sides instructed their teams to do four things while they waited in half darkness. What the coaches told them applies you personally and if you’re leading a team.
- Accept that you’re not always control – The opposing coaches (who happen to be brothers) were frantically trying to get information about what was going on but knew that there was nothing they could do to change the situation. They accepted the reality that sometimes stuff happens but to keep their focus where it needs to be.
- Keep your mind straight – Much of life is mental. The coaches told their players to keep focused on what they were there to do – win the Big Game! Coach Jim Harbaugh was overheard going from player to player saying, “Keep your mind straight!” His players knew what that meant and they did whatever they needed to protect their thoughts from wandering off mission.
- Keep moving – Both sides of the field had players laying on the turf, stretching, squatting and jogging to keep limber. The worst thing for any team in the middle of darkness is to let laziness and status quo slip in.
- Stay together – They were in groups as they waiting. Talking. Processing. Looking over past plays. But each team stayed together as they huddled under a half lit dome. They kept encouraging each other by repeating the above three actions: Accept that you’re not always in control, Keep your mind straight, Keep moving.
That is what good coaching and leadership is about. That is what teams do. That is what makes for success in the midst of darkness.