We've all heard the saying, "There's no 'I' in team." But in today's professional sports arena, it's difficult to see that sentiment actually in play. From crazy end zone celebrations to off-the-field antics, professional athletes too often seek to draw attention to themselves and away from the things that matter most - sportsmanship, camaraderie, self-improvement, pure love of the game.
Are we doing the same thing in our own self-preoccupied lives? Myspace, blogs and the internet give us a reason to be more tuned inward than ever before. What am I thinking, how do I feel, what have I done today? Did I fold a few socks or balance my checkbook? Let me shout it to the world and write myself up a Certificate of Achievement!
Maybe it's time to ask the question: Do we need Brett Favre to step in with a lesson on humility?
When I say humility, I don't mean being shy, scared or timid. Humility describes an attitude and lifestyle that seeks the betterment of others - sometimes, at the expense of one's own personal fame and glory. In the case of both sports heroes and real life heroes, we're talking about someone who leads, not because of their own star power, but by their own personal example.
Here are a few pointers from Brett Favre's Playbook on Leading With Humility:
- When we lead with humility, we devote ourselves to "we" instead of me.
- Even when he was set to break records, Brett always maintained that winning the game for his team was more important than his personal accomplishments. That's a humbling sentiment if you stop to think about it. How many of us would trade winning one game for a chance to be remembered as the sole holder of a record? Sadly, not many. But that's exactly what Brett has brought to the game.
- Humility is about putting others first. When we focus on the betterment of the group instead of ourselves, we sacrifice attention, recognition, our time. We often relinquish our "moment in the sun." But we do this so that we may bring others to the place where we have arrived - a higher place of understanding. Imagine what kind of impact one single individual can have on human progress, simply by being other-people oriented.
- To lead with humility requires an understanding of our own, dual nature. How can a man be meek and bold at the same time? Well, just take a look at Brett's nature on and off the field. When he's playing, there's no greater competitor. He's tough, he's dedicated and he gives 100% to win. Off the field, he's the simple southern boy he always was. Rather than showing off or getting caught up in activities that have brought down so many other professional athletes, Brett steers clear of controversy, opting for the simple life of hunting, fishing and being with his family.
- Likewise, men and women of substance know that no matter what kind of power their title or position brings, there will be periods when we must return to that state of being the student and not the teacher. This requires mental flexibility. When we are rigid in our outlook, closed to other viewpoints and staunch in our beliefs, we stagnate, run in circles, and stunt our personal growth. Deep down, we can sense when this is happening. Titles and prestige hold no fulfillment unless we can connect with our roots and our center of being. It takes an understanding of the duality that lives within every one of us. Are you willing to bend?
- Leading with humility means owning up to our shortcomings.
Brett Favre is one of the most respected leaders of any professional team. He's a man who probably knows more about the game of football than many of today's coaches. And yet, Brett - for all his fame - has never been above being coached. Compare that to the players that refuse to listen to their coaches, or worse, bad mouth them the minute the cameras are rolling.
Looking back a few years ago, many people thought that Brett should've retired. Green Bay struggled for wins and Brett seemed to be at the end of his career. To be sure, he could have walked away without regret. He had a Super Bowl win, the respect of players and fans, and was a cinch to make the Hall of Fame.
So why did he stick around after having accomplished so much? Because he wasn't finished. During those years it's true that Brett wasn't getting much protection from his offensive line. But he was also making mistakes that he wouldn't have made in his glory days. Even so, he didn't want to go out like that and he didn't want his team to continue on that path. Brett worked harder, owned up to his shortcomings and dedicated himself to getting the Packers back to their winning ways.
The opposite of humility is pride. Where would the Packers be today if Brett Favre had let pride rule the last leg of his career? How many times in our lives have we offered Pride the upper hand... refused to admit that we could have done something better, didn't give it our all, could stand some improvement, or maybe we were actually wrong about something? Where did that get us in the end?
When we take stock of our shortcomings and own up to our weaknesses, we open the doors to self-betterment. When we let our egos "sit this one out" in favor of accepting constructive criticism, we emerge stronger in the end. That's humility at work, making us more powerful, helping us grow and become all the richer for the experience.
Humility involves knowing that you already have everything you need.
Today, Brett Favre is playing smarter football. He's taking his career one play at a time and his focus is still on winning rather than breaking records. He can still bring it when he has to, but as always, he relies on his team to win games. And even though the Packers are playoff bound and the records are falling, he's still out on the field - not trying to be the best, but doing the best he can.
What kind of player are you?
Consultant David Bohl of Hartland is a life coach who has written an e-book, "Your Life In Balance: A Breakthrough Guide for Creating the Life You Desire!" Bohl documents his transformation and gives the reader step-by-step guidance on how to change their life for the better by focusing on the things that bring a powerful, sustained sense of joy, happiness and fulfillment. For more, visit www.slowdownfast.com.