As I was watching the England v Colombia game last night, (with very little left of my nails), I joined in with the nation on a journey that started with hope, stopped off at despair, and finished at jubilant elation.
England won their first ever penalty shootout in the World Cup and kept the country’s dream alive that football, really was coming home.
It was after the game though, that I began to reflect on how England had managed to achieve the unthinkable…
What qualities did this team possess that meant they, over any other England team in the past 20 years, could overturn years worth of pressure and heartbreak and come up good during a penalty shootout?
These qualities were so powerful and transformative, that there must be something we could all learn and apply to ourselves:
Bravery and Resilience.
The interesting thing about penalties is that there are so many factors that will determine whether you succeed from the spot kick.
What looks like a simple shot, is often clouded by nerves, fear and a whole lot of pressure.
Despite all the training the team had done in the build-up to the world cup, there is nothing that could completely prepare them for the long walk and spot kick.
There are similar occasions in the life of a business owner.
Decision making that requires a ton of bravery, no matter how clear cut a situation might seem to the outside world, often includes an incredible amount of risk.
So what should you do?
Surround yourself with one or two people in your business who are go-getters and are willing to discuss, talk-through and take these risks with you.
Having this support will help instil this type of bravery into your business making decisions.
It wasn’t skills that made this England team succeed in a penalty shoot-out, that’s for sure.
There have been many England teams filled with world-class talent that have failed at this very same hurdle in the past.
For everyone watching at home, it was whether the team would be resilient. That was our biggest fear: would they fall like past generations?
This team were resilient.
As Gareth Southgate brilliantly said after the match:
“We’re trying to write our own history, and I’ve talked to the players about that. They write their own stories. We don’t have to be bowed by the pressure of the past.”
As a leader, Gareth Southgate has helped this team be resilient and that was key in this shootout – he persuaded them to write their own story.
This is a great example of what it means to be a leader in your business.
Allow your team to own their development, and help support one another through difficult, testing situations – whilst also letting them know that the sky’s the limit.
Business owners will do well to structure their businesses in the way that the England national team have done – with bravery and resilience being the key foundations of their business model.
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