The Thin Line Between Building Up and Falling Apart

What my friends and I have effectively named, "The Play that Shouldn't have Been." The moment the Patriots won, and the Seahawks came up a yard short.
What some of my friends have effectively named, “The Play that Shouldn’t have Been.” The moment the Patriots won, and the Seahawks came up a yard short.

No doubt by now you have seen the final meaningful play of this year’s Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks were one yard away from the end zone and taking the lead and most likely going on to win against the New England Patriots. Well, as you know by now, the Patriots made a great play to defend a seemingly strange play call by the Seahawks, intercepting the ball and ending the Seahawks’ hopes of repeating as Super Bowl champs.

Many people have been thinking “What if…” I admit, I was wondering that for a bit Sunday night and Monday morning. But there has been a much bigger question sitting with me. Can a team and group come back from being so close to the ultimate goal in their craft and coming up just a hair short in such an agonizing fashion?

I’m looking at this as a leader. I believe there is a fine line between being able to motivate and use an experience like this to build on, and/or having that experience tear a group apart.

As a Seahawks fan, I was nervous Sunday evening seeing and hearing the dejection from my friends, fans and the Seahawks themselves. As the week has gone on though, I have been reminded of how great a team and leaders they have at head coach, owner and even quarterback. Seeing some words from Bill Belichick, the opposing coach about the Seahawks also reassured me. This is a team that is not going to be rebuilding, they are just as capable next year of making another great Super Bowl run as they were this year. The challenge though will be to motivate and use this to build on, rather than to allow a “woe is me” or “what if..” sort of mindset to set in.

Thinking about this related to your own life and leadership, how have you responded when you came so close to one of your dream opportunities? Did that motivate you to push even harder? Or, did you despair and have a tough time for awhile afterward?

Regarding the Seahawks, what also gives me peace is that I know some how they got motivated even after winning the Super Bowl a year ago to make a run at this year’s Super Bowl and nearly earned victory there as well. If they were able to be motivated by victory, I suspect they will be even more motivated by defeat and wanting to be back on top alone.

For all you sports fans, the NFL season starts anew in September. Until then, we have more basketball, hockey and a new soccer and baseball season to look forward to. Who knows, as a Seattle sports fan this could be a wonderful year not just for the Seahawks, but I think the Mariners are going to be a great team to reckon with and so will the Sounders.

Image Credit: Heartbreak at the One Yard Line

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