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Tiffany Sunday

Last year, my son, a student at Texas A & M University, started talking about Jimbo Fisher, who is the head coach of the football team. So, in September, I started watching Jimbo's press conferences as I was curious to learn more about the coach and his strategies.  For full disclosure, I am a former student.

Football Advice for Life and Work

Following a game loss, a reporter asked Jimbo what advice he was sharing with his players. He told the reporter that he reminds his team to, “take your eyes off the scoreboard and to play each play at your best.” Since then, his words, “take your eyes off the scoreboard,” have looped through my thinking.  Jimbo’s wisdom has value beyond the football field.  In business and life, we use sports as an analogy to explain events, tell stories, and share insight. 

I became aware of how often I look at the imaginary personal scoreboard I have for myself and the constantly displayed score.  The opponent score is what we perceive it to be.  This score can represent others’ thinking, family members’ goals for us, or society’s milestones.

Who Are Our Opponents?

Whatever the opponent, we all have a scoreboard, and we all have opponents real or imaginary.  The more I thought about the scoreboard, I questioned if my scoreboard had the right opponent? Was I playing the correct game? Was I even on the right team?

My mind continued to expand on Jimbo’s advice. I thought about how the scoreboard only reflects the final of the game. The scoreboard does not offer insight into what happened during the game, such as the great plays or valuable lessons learned. As fans, we are unaware of the internal lessons gained by the individual players or what challenges they overcame during the game. 

We only see the scoreboard.

We are distracted from the game when we constantly watch the scoreboard, compare ourselves to others, or to the latest article informing us of where we should be on the playing field. When this happens, we risk making a fumble, getting intercepted, or being sacked, which causes a loss of downs and delays us in achieving our goals.  

We often fall into the trap of focusing on the final results, missing what was achieved during the process. The insight and wisdom obtained are rarely evident on the scoreboard.  In our instant world, we all want to jump to the finish line and claim victory. However, reaching the end zone can only occur by playing each play at your best and focusing on gaining the first and ten each time.  Being aware of others, both our own team and the defense is essential during each play. However, this awareness should never come at the cost of losing focus on each play of the game.

How to Use Jimbo's Advice 

Since hearing Jimbo’s scoreboard advice, I have made changes.  I am focusing more each day on the play, not the distracting chatter of my internal scoreboard.  I am also making sure that I am operating in my areas of strength and fully utilizing all my resources to reach the end zone without experiencing fumbles or interceptions.  Remaining focused, practicing fundamentals, and staying committed to your goal, takes discipline and the willingness to take your eyes off the scoreboard.

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