This mantra comes from the excellent TV series, ‘Friday Night Lights’
. It’s set against the backdrop of high school football in Dillon, a small town in Texas. In this community, the football and the team’s success is everything. The entire town turns out each Friday night to support their local heroes. Everyone from the gas pump attendant to the waitress at the diner has an opinion and pressure on the teenage players to win is intense.
So the series is about an American football team playing football. Except it’s not. In fact it’s not about sport at all. It’s about relationships, adversity, families and love. It’s about shared experience, change and what it takes to overcome fears. It’s about learning what it takes to both win and lose.
WWCTD? (What Would Coach Taylor Do?)
The lines are Coach Eric Taylor’s. He’s the mentor we’d all love in our lives; hard, uncompromising, driven - yet wise, compassionate and fair. Before each game, they are the last words he says to the players as they leave the locker room to enter the field of play – gladiators primed for the contest. It’s their team chant. The six words represent his entire philosophy, crystallised.
– Stay above emotion and find a way to get to your goal
– Be brave – even when you are afraid. Know you have given your all
– If you do this, you will win every time – even if you lose on the scoreboard
Imagine this, starting quietly with one voice and then repeated - building to a crescendo, shouted out by an amped-up squad of young men about to test their mettle.
“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose
CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS, CAN’T LOSE”
I LOVE this. Moreover, I think we can use it. We can learn as much from these words as the fictional Dillon Panthers. I reckon these sentiments are exactly what we need to succeed in carving our own success as leaders, change-makers and influencers in today’s world of stress, overwhelm and change.
We need to see the bigger picture. We’ve got to understand what’s really going on and help those we lead or serve to see it too. We can’t afford to be distracted by popular, lazy thinking or worried about the good opinion of others. We must be urgent and inspirational.
We must be courageous, which, literally, means ‘to be full of heart’. We must stand for what we believe in. We must unshackle ourselves from our inner fears. We ARE good enough. We have something of value. We must not die wondering!
We all know so many people who fail this test – afraid to step up and step out. I respect anyone who has the bravery to take action and to test themselves and their ideas in their business or the marketplace - as a leader, an entrepreneur or a solopreneur. Yes, it’s a hard road. At times it can appear bleak and we will feel vulnerable. But the rewards are great. Even before we start to taste the progress that will surely (but often slowly) come, we have already won!
Ink me up
I am not a fan of memes, sound bites and inspirational puffery. 53 years has taught me that life is neither fair nor easy. Success is built on hard work, discipline, sacrifice and not-a-little luck. BUT, if I do go for that mid-life crisis tattoo, it might just say these words.