Get Up! Leading with Two Feet on the Ground

Brett Favre is one of my favorite NFL quarterbacks of all time because of the way that he played the game. Favre was known to start big games with nervous jitters, making huge mistakes and missing open receivers; however, he was always a different person after the first big hit he would take. While some quarterbacks avoided hits, Favre would look for opportunities to take that first big hit! It would energize and inspire him.

Are You Taking Hits?

If we are honest, leadership is a lot like playing quarterback in the NFL. We don't always have the luxury of having a clean jersey and unbruised body at the end of the day. What often defines good quarterbacks from great ones is the ability to recover from a hit. Some quarterbacks avoid hits, while others look for them.  Every leader needs criticism, disappointment, and adversity to grow, but the real question is, how do you handle the hits you WILL take?

Get Up or Stay Down?

In a recent leadership interview, I was reminded that effective leaders are unfazed by difficulty. Instead, they change their perspective and become solution-oriented. How often do we get hit by a circumstance and allow it to change our demeanor or define our day?

One of the biggest reasons why I liked Brett Favre was because of his tough nature and energy. I admired the way no matter how hard he was hit; he would spring back up and not give his opponent the satisfaction of seeing the hit might have hurt. In fact, the harder he was hit, the quicker he would get up and the more animated he would become. You could never count him out because he never let his circumstances dictate his performance.

Get Up!

How about you? Do you let your circumstances dictate your response? Here are a few suggestions for jumping back up and not allowing adversity to gain the satisfaction of hitting you:

  • Take the hit and get up! Once adversity hits you,  take a moment to observe the challenge, gather your bearings, and get up! Get up and move on as quickly as possible because the longer you stay on the ground, the easier it is to give up. Leaders do not have time to wallow in self-pity because others are depending on you. 
  • Hit the Reset Button. We often see adversity as something bad; however, it can be a great opportunity hit the reset button. Adversity can provide us with valuable feedback and the opportunity to take a new approach. If plan A is no longer a viable option, abandon it and begin seeking out solutions to serve others.  The Apostle Paul is an excellent example of a man who embraced adversity. When he fell blind, he opened up his ears and allowed God to change his heart. It was in isolation and through adversity that he became an icon of what it means to follow Christ. 
  • Next Play. In his book Toughness: Developing True Strength on and Off the Court, Jay Bilas discusses the mentality that athletes need to adopt. If they make a mistake, they need to let go and concentrate on the "next play." Get up and focus on the next play. Live in this moment and learn from the past. We can't change our circumstances, but we can ask ourselves "what is great about this situation?" 
  • Always Protect Yourself. In the movie Million Dollar Baby, Franky, the main character played by Clint Eastwood, told his beloved female fighter the first rule of fighting, "always protect yourself." Although we cannot always protect ourselves from adversity, we can be on guard. What do I mean? Temptation often comes during our most difficult times. We need to be on guard in areas where we know that we are weak, especially during stressful times.  

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