On January 14th, 2023, the Jaguars won and now it’s your turn to win. This is Head Coach Doug Wilder, and I am talking to YOU.
Would you like to create a winning season for your company and your team of employees? Would you like to champion players in your office to reach the height of their potential? There’s a certain kind of coaching that can get you there. A Doug Pederson kind of coaching paired with a Trevor Lawrence (2nd half) kind of playing.
Literally at the last second, with one field goal, the Jaguars won the Wild Card Division Playoff Game after being shut out by the LA Chargers for almost all of the first half. Also note that the Jags recovered from the first half of a losing season. The Jaguars came back from losing 27 to 0 just before the half to win the game 30 to 31.
Just like NFL teams, all employers have challenges. It just looks a little different. Whether you are trying to meet payroll, land a major deal or hire the right employees, you can control your mindset. If you keep your attitude straight, stay disciplined and execute your plan, you have a good chance of winning – and not only the game at hand, but the season.
"We just have to learn how to finish," Pederson said, according to the team website. "We talk about finishing a play in practice or a period in practice and then finishing a practice. It's the same way with a game. You have to learn to finish a play, then finish a quarter, a half and ultimately the game."
Lawrence and each team member believed they could get there. “We believe in who we are.…We know we’re heading in the right direction; it’s just about consistency,” Lawrence told John Oehser. “I really believe in this team.”
Control Your Thinking
“To win games in general in this league but especially in the playoffs, the quarterback has to play well,” Lawrence told the press in a postgame interview on January 15th. ”[I] Wasn't playing well, and I knew it was going to take a lot to turn it around, but there's no – I told the guys in the huddle, there's no 27-point plays. It's going to be one play at a time.”
I believe that if you control your thinking, your perspective of the challenges can change. Instead of negative self-talk, rally at the thought that if the Chargers can get 27 points in the first half - then so can you in the second half.
At half-time, the Jaguars could have been blind-sided by hindsight. They could have seen the 20 point deficit and given up hope. But there was another way to look at things.
I want you to have a let’s-not-look-back-at-that-brutal-first-half kind of perspective. Like TV Character Ted Lasso would tell his team, “Have a short-term memory like a goldfish.”
Be An Encouraging Leader
“That's what it took, one play at a time, all the way down the field, just again and again and again,” Lawrence said. “All we can do at this point is just try to score every drive, then trust our defense. If they get a stop, great; it gives us another chance to score. If they don't, great; we'll get the ball back and go score again. So that was our mindset."
One field tactic I regularly coach clients on is knowing what each employee brings to the workplace. I encourage leaders to know the function of their employees and to help them perform their roles exceptionally. I then task managers, executives, business owners, and supervisors to get their employees to play like NFL players who love to play the game and who want to win.
Don't Let Emotions Rule
In the face of adversity, when the voices of naysayers are roaring, are you able to maintain control? To do the next thing? Can you and your employees keep your heads in the game?
When the Jags were losing 27-0, the coaches and players didn't panic, but maintained control of their emotions. Conversely, at the end, when the Chargers' lead was evaporating, Chargers' outside linebacker Joey Bosa got hot-headed and earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This put Lawrence close enough to the goal line so he could make the quarterback sneak and leap over the goal for the two-point conversion.
Seize The Future
Starting a business or even a game might not look pretty at the beginning. Remember that Lawrence's second play of the game resulted in an interception. I talk to discouraged and downtrodden clients evaluating a difficult day, month, or year. I give them my half-time locker room advice:
Regardless of your past, you have an unblemished future.
Work often brings difficult seasons. Clients sometimes feel overwhelmed, undervalued, and outplayed. It’s hard to look ahead to the second half, when there is a disappointing performance during the first half, and sometimes that is all we can see.
Now think back to when Pederson congratulated Lawrence’s leap, by tapping him his helmet and then his chest. I can just imagine that he was telling him “You used your head,” and “You used your heart.” I believe this was a glimpse into a year of coaching which took him and his teammates to victory. It makes me think of Friday Night Lights, when Coach Eric Taylor inspired his players with the team motto, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!”
Remember a problem is merely a challenge not yet converted into an opportunity. Regardless of the wins or losses of the past, here you are at this moment. Make the most of each present moment, and the future will take care of itself.