It was Monday; New Year’s Eve in Atlanta; the Chick-fil-A Bowl in the Georgia Dome; the SEC versus the ACC; LSU versus Clemson. And, it was a great game with a great finish. (Hang with me. In the end, this will not be about football.)
With 1:39 left in the game and LSU leading 24-22, Clemson got the ball at its own 20 yard line. The LSU fans fully expected their 7th ranked defense to hold; the Clemson fans were hopeful that their 9th ranked offense could move the ball far enough to kick a winning field goal. (Earlier, LSU had blocked an extra point, so even the most ardent Clemson fans were nervous, even doubtful.) Nobody was leaving.
97 seconds later, Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired (yes, zero on the clock) to give Clemson a wild 25-24 victory. Quarterback Tajh Boyd had led the team on a ten-play, eighty-yard drive that included one 26 yard completion on a tension-filled 4th down. Wow, what an ending!
Was it luck? Was it a miracle? Was it mistakes by LSU? According to Quarterback Boyd, it was “none of the above”—it was preparation.
When asked in a post-game interview about the drive, Boyd’s response was, “I was confident because one of our drills in practice every Wednesday is what we’ll do with only 90 seconds left and eighty yards to go to win. We were prepared for this.” In other words, we play on Monday (or Saturday or Sunday or …), but we win on Wednesday by how we prepare.
There is an old adage that “success (or luck) happens when preparation meets opportunity.” So when Boyd walked onto the field with 99 seconds and 80 yards to go, he was prepared and confident. Arthur Ashe said it this way: “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
Whatever your game (business, ministry, education, government, other) and whatever your game day, you win on Wednesday—your preparation day. Relying on luck or miracles is a losing strategy. Preparation is a confidence-building winning strategy. So whether it is a sales call, sermon, board meeting, or football game, the long-time motto of the Boy Scouts applies: “Be prepared.”
I am leading a strategy session at a local college this morning (Thursday). I’m ready. Why? Can you guess how I spent Wednesday?
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© Copyright 2013 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner
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