Apart from the fact that sports is my business, I really do enjoy watching games–especially big ones like the Super Bowl.
Prior to this year’s Super Bowl, I was torn between rooting for the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. I like the Seahawks, but I also like Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning because he seems like a great leader and a classy guy. But then I was won over by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson after reading about his story and his character, so right before the opening kickoff, I gave my full allegiance to the Seahawks. And boy, am I glad I did, because it meant that I actually enjoyed Super Bowl XLVIII, unlike my brother who was rooting for the Broncos. (Wuh-wuhhhh. Sorry, bro.)
As I was reading some postgame articles on the Seahawks, I found myself drawn to the team culture created by their head coach, Pete Carroll. They’re very similar to my favorite NBA team, the Miami Heat (it’s no wonder Heat coach Erik Spoelstra spent time with the Seahawks in the offseason) in the sense that they’re both very deliberate about cultivating a unique culture of everyday excellence–something that I want for our own organization as well. Some people would love to hate these two teams, but you can’t argue when they do something right. As leadership guru John Maxwell often points out, “Talent is never enough.” Teams like the Seahawks and the Heat win championships because of hard work, preparation, discipline, focus, teamwork, leadership, perseverance, passion, constant learning, and the like–and that’s why I’m drawn to them. It’s amazing to see what happens when a team is able to bring all these factors together.
One of the articles I read showed all the Seahawks’ selfies after the Super Bowl, with each player posing with their new Vince Lombardi trophy. Of all the photos, this one caught my eye, not because of Chris Maragos, but because of the message on the wall behind him:
2013-14 Seattle Seahawks
TO WIN THE NFC WEST WE WILL SACRIFICE THE EASIER WRONG FOR THE MORE DIFFICULT RIGHT. BOTH ON AND OFF THE FIELD, LEAVE NO DOUBT.
I was blown away by the conviction behind this message.
Sometimes we think it’s just a matter of choosing the easy path or the difficult path. And when you just look at those two choices, choosing the easy path seems like a no-brainer. But I love this mantra from the Seahawks because it’s such a great reminder that it’s not just about EASY vs. DIFFICULT, it’s also about RIGHT vs. WRONG. And the way our brains are wired, when we do something over and over again, it keeps getting easier for us. So when we keep on doing wrong things, the act of doing wrong just keeps getting easier–which eventually leads to defeat, discouragement, disappointment, destruction, and all of the other deadly Ds. This is precisely why bad habits and addictions are so hard to break. The better choice would be to sacrifice our comfort and take a step towards what’s right, even when it’s difficult or even when you don’t feel like it. Because the more times we go in the right direction, the easier it will get to arrive at the right destination.
Thanks to the Seahawks for showing us how it’s done!
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*If you’re interested in reading more about leadership and teamwork, read the articles on Wilson, Carroll, etc. that I linked above.