Tag Archives: passion

A Super Reminder…Passion and PMA

It is that classic American of spectacles, Super Bowl Sunday.  The game, the pageantry, the parties and the food.  Only in America.  Everything about it is bigger, louder, flashier and fattier.  This year was no different.  From the Peyton hype, the NYC centric weather debates, to the Richard Sherman loud mouth or genius arguments, it was a constant stream of media hype, gobbled up by the American public and washed down with Bud Lights by the millions.  The big screen HDTV was invented for just such an occasion.

Other than being reminded of the all too often SEC drubbing of Big Ten/ND teams in BCS bowls, watching the Seahawks out run, hit, swagger, flash and fun the Broncos, I found myself reminded of why I have often viewed Pete Carroll as a great example of leadership.  It was 5 years ago this month I wrote about the then USC head coach and an interview he gave on 60 Minutes.  What struck me then was his passion.  Nothing has changed in those 5 years (maybe my writing has become more concise).  The guy is still as passionate as ever, and that message resonates as strongly as ever.  The results speak for themselves.

It is clear Pete Carroll loves, absolutely loves, what he does.  He loves coaching, he loves his players, he loves the game, the competition, and certainly winning.  The guy has a blast, you can just tell.  He is one of the oldest people in his profession, yet appears and acts as one of the youngest.  His energy and enthusiasm is infectious.  In a profession typified by hyper stressed coaches glaring and screaming, Pete Carroll seems to be having an absolute ball.  Yes his players make mistakes, yes discipline is not absolute, but the lapses are made up for ten fold…mostly.

And for all his fun-loving, good time nature, he is very open about the fact that competition is the driving factor.  Anyone can take anyone’s job.  Every practice, every play, every training session and meeting, it is absolutely about competing and winning.  He holds people to account.  If you are the best at what you do, you play.  If you are complacent, you sit.  It is not mean-spirited, but it is reality.  You play like you practice.

A great many things go into success.  Though passion and a positive mental attitude alone are never enough, things sure are easier with them.  Plus, the pursuit of success tends to just be a whole lot more fun when one wants to be there and is enjoying what they are doing.  It has become cliché, “the NFL is a grind”, but from here, Pete Carroll seems to do it differently, and everyone seems happier and more successful.

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Odin On…Traits of Success

As anyone who knew Odin will attest, he was intense.  Intense in absolutely everything he did, but especially when it came to play.  There is a term that is used in assessing dogs called “play factor”.  Odin did not have a high play factor, he had an insanely high play factor.  Off the charts to use a cliché.  He was all play, all the time.  He loved to play; he had to play.  And we always joked, if only we could teach people to have his level of intensity, focus and passion, business would boom.

What we realized over time is that Odin’s ability to focus, to have such a relentless intensity on play was just him being him.  Play was his passion.  He loved everything about it.  Frisbee, footballs, sticks, twigs, pine needles, bark chips, other dogs, and of course the classics of running, jumping, chasing, and just plain old “doing dog things” was what he was all about all the time, and he was relentless in his pursuit of it.

Being told “no”, to “go lay down”, or an occassional “Odin damn it” was crushing to him; he hated to be told no.  But that emotional loss and defeat was very short-lived.  He would quite literally shake it off and be back in the pursuit of play within minutes.  A “no” was nothing more than a temporary roadblock, a brief bump on the journey to the ultimate goal.  He never lost sight of that goal to play – ever.

But above all else, Odin loved to play with others.  Yes, I think maybe he liked me best, but truth be told he loved everyone with an opposable thumb who could throw things.   Then of course other dogs were without question great to share time with, as were cats, rabbits, and really anything else with a pulse.  He was a social boy who loved the company of others.

What was a joke to use early on became a great lesson on what truly makes a successful person.  It was all about his particular passion – passion to play, to pursue play, to be with others, and an ability to allow the passion to trump the “no’s”.  He was intensely focused on play because he loved it and all that it entailed.  Truly successful people are absolutely passionate about what they do and whom they do it with.  They never lose focus and they never let the “no” keep them down for too long.

Not a bad lesson from a dog.  Doubt the CPA will let us take all our dog expenses as a write off, but we will share the lessons for business anyway.  Who knows, maybe it will become an entire series, “Odin On…”, but for now it was one great case study on the traits of successful people.

The one downside of such focus – he could stare a hole into a wall

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