Five Attributes That We Can All Adopt
Sports are fascinating to watch. They teach us valuable lessons while also igniting our emotions, i.e., “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
The 2019 Heisman Trophy award candidates exemplify the incredible athletic prowess that inspires excellence in sport and in life.
I was especially intrigued by the top three candidates for the 2019 Heisman Trophy Award. All quarterbacks, each came to the realization that in order to achieve their full potential on the football field they needed to transfer to other programs: Joe Burrow left Ohio State for LSU; Justin Fields left Georgia for Ohio State; and Jalen Hurts left Alabama for Oklahoma.
Each had their own unique reasons for transferring, but it all came down to putting themselves into a new environment where they believed the starting quarterback position could be theirs. In doing so, each took a risk to fulfill their dreams.
None of these three Heisman candidates were promised the starting quarterback role on their new team upon transfer. They were only given the opportunity to compete for the role. First, they had to earn it. Through the process, each earned the respect of their new team.
In taking the bold step to transfer to a new college and team, each person exemplified five leadership attributes:
- Self-confidence. All three displayed a strong belief in themselves. This wasn’t about arrogance—at their previous schools, each candidate was either replaced as a starter or could not earn the starting position. They had to keep perspective and learn humility while at the same time keep the faith that there was something more and bigger in their future.
- Courage to act. Many people would have given up on their dreams and some might have silently complained or listened to others who claimed they were not being treated fairly. Instead, these top candidates acted on their dreams and made decisions to move forward despite the unknowns. They displayed courage and the self-confidence that they could achieve their dreams elsewhere when they couldn’t achieve them in their current environment. “You just never know what life brings,” Jalen Hurts said.
- Partner with someone who believes in you. Having a coach, boss or significant other that believes in you is of critical importance to your success. Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman trophy winner from LSU, became emotional in thanking his coach, Ed Orgeron, for “taking a chance on me not knowing if I could play or not,” after three seasons of sitting on the bench at Ohio State.
- Ability to adapt. It’s not enough to choose to leave your former group. You must also adapt to the new situation while using your talents to help the new team. You must give the people in your new world the opportunity to see your positive qualities while demonstrating that you appreciate what they do as well, “You know if you just go to the right place with the right fit what you can do on the field with that,” said Justin Fields.
- Teamwork. It’s not just about you. It’s about how you bring your best and work in concert to make your new team greater than they were without you. This is true in all aspects of life: sports, work, relationships, etc.
As I write this post, we still don’t know which team will win it all. My experience tells me that although one player can be the difference maker on any team, winning a championship takes a remarkable team effort. Incredibly, two undefeated teams are playing in this year’s National Championship game. May the best team win!
How can executive coaching help you take the leadership lessons above so you can thrive in your current environment or a new one?
Lance Hazzard, CPCC, ACC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations successfully achieve what’s next. He is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. Lance and Eric T. Hicks, Ph.D., co-authored the book, Accelerating Leadership, published in June 2019. More information can be found on the book, Lance and Oppnå® Coaching at the links below: