Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Putting on Your Game Face

Last year there was a special on ESPN about the great Jim Brown (Cleveland Browns 1957-1956), who is widely considered the best running back, if not athlete of all time.

What impressed myself about the show was not so much his stats and highlights but more so the story of his preparation for each and every practice and game. What I took most from this special was his professionalism, his approach, his leadership, how he understood the mental aspect as well as understanding how those around him were effected by his actions.

Here is someone who was playing in the NFL when there was a minority of African-American players. So it's pretty fair to say that he dealt with racism far greater than we have ever seen, heard or experienced in our lives. Also, players back then were not set up on multi-million dollar contracts with insurance policy's to fall back on. Most players worked second jobs. Basically, if you got injured, tough luck!...and unlike today where you have Replay footage and heavy officating, player's dealt with being cleated, eyes gouged out, being speared after the play was finished, etc, etc....

Jim Brown understood that he was a gifted individual not only physically but mentally as well. The epsiode on Brown highlighted how he got up after each and every tackle the exact same way (taking 10-15 seconds to get up). Regardless if he slipped up or got nailed in the numbers, he would get up if it were the exact same as the previous play.

Brown did this so that no one around him, both his opponents and his own team mates would never know if he was hurt by the hit because he never changed his approach/reaction....therefore leading those to believe he was unbreakable.

Also, Brown never received treatment from the medical/training staff while any of his team mates or media were around. He would come 2 hours before every player arrived for practice to get treatments so that they would not know he was hurt or required any form of aid.

What I'm trying to get at is that we all have the ability to leave our baggage (because we all have things going on in our lives in some form or another) at the door to prevent attention being drawn to ourself in whatever work setting that we are in. This just leads to affecting your workplace, your customers experience, the energy and atmosphere all in a negative manner. There is a time and place for everything to be sorted and trying to do so when you're at work is detrimental to both your team and yourself.

Being a leader at any level, it starts with yourself and it trickles down to all of those around you whether it be a lack of energy one displays, a change in mood, crying, complaining, lack of work ethic, mediocre performance, etc, etc...

Making use of management in place to find solutions to your own personal situations during 1-0n-1 meetings, coffee's/lunch/dinners outside of your work place with friends or staff are all great avenues for people to handle one's situation properly.

Jim Brown could have been the star player who acted all dramatic when he was hit hard or could have informed everyone know the abuse he took both mentally and physically week in and week out during his illustrious career. However, he chose to go the other path of dealing with it in the proper manner where he still produced at an extraordinary level, leading all of those around him, winning championships and also still finding the right time to take care of the things that needed to be addressed.

We all have the same ability.

When we step into our work place and start off our day, it's time to leave our personal baggage at the door and take care of business.

Jason Sarai

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