What We Can Learn From An NFL Commentator

Written by Jay McDonald on .

As the former head football coach of the Oakland Raiders, a multiple Super Bowl champion, and infamous NFL sports commentator, when John Madden speaks, people listen. He’s since retired, but John’s wisdom still permeates. After years of working with all kinds of personalities on field and off, Mr. Madden was fond of saying, “There are three kinds of people in the world: those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those who ask, ‘What happened?’” So what can we learn from an NFL commentator? In business, there are many things that contribute to who we are, yet like football, nothing is as important as a game plan, experience, decisiveness, and the ability to put forth the effort to make things happen. Game Plan It’s been said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path might get you there.” Folks who make things happen have a purpose and a plan. Their plan get modified based on the environment they are in and new information, just as good coaches make in-game adjustments. Set your direction toward your goals, and like the GPS in an automobile, adjust it as needed to achieve your desired results. Experience Counts Like most people, education likely played a role in forming your professional personality. Like myself and many of my colleagues, attending an outstanding university did more than refine an academic skill set, but gave me the experience of learning discipline, teamwork and attention to detail. A decent education and life experience that goes along with it is an enduring asset, providing a strong foundation for lifelong success and the know-how to get things done.  Decisiveness Life is about making decisions, and decisiveness is one trait that certainly gets things done. Sometimes, we think the decisions we make are life shattering, and that we always have to have the right answer: no exceptions. The truth is, there are few situations in life that are critical. If you make a bad decision, you always have the opportunity to make another one down the road. Decisions are like tree branches: if you grab the wrong one, simply reach for another and keep weaving your way towards the top. While you may not be right, at least you will have moved forward. Perfection Is Not The End Goal, Effort Is Someone pretty smart once said to me, “I would rather have an 80 percent decision today than a 100 percent decision that I never make, because I’m always seeking perfection.” Everything isn’t always going to work as planned. However, if you make enough positive decisions and put forth the effort, odds are you’ll do fine. Unfortunately, there are fewer people willing to work hard, than there are who are happy to sit on the sidelines. There’s no question: success builds self-confidence. But like John Madden reminds us, if you strive to be the type of person who gets things done, you have to work for it. Chances are, with a game plan, experience, a decisive nature, and effort, you’ll find that success is hard to avoid.

Jay McDonald

With a unique breadth of knowledge earned through decades of hands- on experience, Jay is recognized as a strategic visionary whose high energy, quick wit and straight talk combined with a passion for mentoring others allows him to help executives achieve greater results and enjoy more rewarding personal lives. Connect with Jay McDonald on Google+

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