These words come 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. The 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.
We can use this
As we start a new year, I am seeing a lot of people struggling. It is understandable, but we have to shake it off and get moving. We need to take back agency for our life – and we need to do it now.
I think the thinking and values behind ‘Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose’ can help.
WWCTD? (What Would Coach Taylor Do?)
The words belong to Coach Eric Taylor. 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.
‘Clear Eyes’ – Stay above emotion and find a way to get to your goal
‘Full Hearts’ – Be brave – even when you are afraid. Know you have given your all
‘Can’t Lose’ – 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
Cleat Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lost
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.
These sentiments are exactly what we need to succeed right now to get our lives, careers, businesses and relationships back on track.
See the bigger picture. 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.
Be courageous, which, literally, means ‘to be full of heart’. NOW is the time to 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 founder.
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. 55 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.
Clear Eyes Full Hearts Can’t Lose
Your Call To Action?
These words are powerful, motivating and also challenging. They call us to action. They ask us to find our better, ‘Heroic’ selves and to get to work to change the way we are showing up.
This is the work that most of us need to do right now.
We have a choice.
What will you do?