As we all still are recovering from Super Bowl Sunday, both the game (congratulations to the Denver Broncos) and the commercials (were you are disappointed as I was that Budweiser didn't have a puppy commercial? What was up with that???), I wanted to take a minute to shine a light on the power of leadership, and how it shows up on the field (in the game itself and in life).
To be honest, I really wasn't emotionally attached to either team playing (those who know me know I am a die-hard Chicago fan). However, that being said, I definitely was pulling for Denver this year.
The idea that this could be Peyton Manning's last game was one I knew would go down in the books. Something about knowing you are witnessing a part of history in the making definitely has great appeal.
You see, to me, Manning exemplifies what being a leader is all about. He has always played from a place of love, with tremendous love for his craft, his team, and the game.
Once again in Super Bowl 50, he demonstrated the importance of finishing the game strong, with class, grace and humility. Sure the Broncos defense was the real star in the match-up against the Carolina Panthers, but there is no denying the imprint Manning's leadership has left on the organization.
So, what truly makes a guy like Manning stand out? I mean ... aside from his God-given talents and gifts, and that bullet-precision arm of his?
First, the very fact that he CHOSE to step into the gifts he was given. Not to squander them or fear them, but rather, to consciously acknowledge them and continually build, refine, and hone his skills.
Second, even when he was taken out of the game for a period of time, due to his injury and surgery, he still coached and mentored his team from the sidelines, in the locker room and off the field.
Third, he also worked diligently and persistently to get himself back into the game. An example of an innate desire to contribute and lead from within ... some might call this a passion, a purpose.
Fourth, he knows how to let the team shine and not make the victory about himself. He doesn't put blame on individuals when mistakes are made, but rather, takes personal responsibility. Nor does he look to steal the limelight for the wins, but instead, extends gratitude for what the team was able to accomplish together.
These are the traits of a great leader. And, Manning has figure out how to truly play in that space. Why, you might asked ... because he knows the secret many people are too scared to face:
Leadership is all about how you CHOOSE to SHOW UP, how you CHOOSE to SERVE OTHERS, and how you CHOOSE to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the decisions you make in between the two.
Manning is a leader. He masters this art and walks his talk, consistently showing up and being present for his team, his coaches, his fans ... but, mostly for himself.
He is, and always has been, unapologetically himself. He is the same guy who shows up on the field, in interviews, in commercials, or even on SNL (some of my favorite skits were those Manning delivered). He is authentic and creates daily discipline to play at his highest and best level in every moment.
He leads by example.
So, how does me talking about Manning relate to you in your business, in life? Well, for starters, it all comes down to choice.
How do you chose to lead? For leadership is not something born or created, it is simply a choice. YOU get to decide ... so, what are you deciding to put out there?
How do you wish to be remembered? What is imprint you wish to leave from the work you do and how you serve others? What are you trying to influence, affect or change in this world? What are the gifts you have been given, and are you using them?
The question is never "what is the meaning of life?" We waste a lot of time pondering that one. For the answer to that question actually is quite simple: The meaning of life is that we were all given gifts that are distinctly ours; we were given a song to sing that is all ours and ours alone. Plain and simple. Nothing more complicated than that.
The real question on the table, and the one that challenges and paralyzes most people is "do you have the courage to step into your gift and sing your song for the world to hear?" Do you have the courage to step up, step out and be unapologetically YOU?
Whether it's the way Manning CHOSE to show up to practice, to games, and to the Super Bowl, or the way you CHOOSE to show up in your own life, using YOUR gifts and talent ... the outcome is the same. It's all about leadership. And, it's all a choice.
So, as we put Super Bowl 50 down in the books, and we possibly say farewell to one of the greatest players to play the game as he considers retirement ... my question for you is this:
How will YOU choose to show up in the game you are playing, called life?
Will you show up to practice and give it your all? Will you train smarter and harder, create the discipline, the effort, and the accountability required to hone your skills?
Will you show up with passion, purpose, and intention, playing at your highest and best level? Will you show up with heart and a determination to win?
Or, will you cop out once again and keep doing the same things you've always been doing, complaining because the coach never puts you in, riding the bench, watching life from the sidelines?
Are you ready to be a starter, to be the quarterback for YOUR team, and take the critical shot in the end zone for the touchdown?
It's your choice ... for the game is happening NOW! And, it's up to you as to whether you CHOOSE to be a player and contributor, or simply someone with splinters in their butt!
As always, I am hear, I am listening and sending you heart-to-heart hugs.