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"Adversity Reveals Character"

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

One of the ongoing dilemmas in the NFL today circles around Draft Day. The day in which a few men have worked so hard and will realize their dreams to come true. The big question that the owners want to know before they sign those multi-million dollar cheques... Is that player going to work out?

What makes a Peyton Manning have a great long term career? Why is it that a late draft QB like Tom Brady outlasted the QBs that were drafted before him? Just think of the First Round players that seemingly didn't live up to the hype!

The Super Bowl just ended and Cam Newton has gone from the league MVP to the posterboy for poor sportsmanship and Johnnie Manzel seems like he has seen his last days in the NFl and maybe replacing it with jail time. These stories made me revisit a great book about leadership from Dr. John C. Maxwell - The 21 Indispensable Qualities Of A Leader. Twenty-one short stories that could help break the code to this dilemma.

I have worked with multiple quarterbacks and each has had their own leadership styles. It is said that the position is fostered by a natural ability to lead and probably noticed at a young age. Their minor league coach noticed that they had a natural ability to have others follow and were placed into a leadership role on their sports teams. This lead me into the first element that Dr. Maxwell mentions - CHARACTER - and he quotes British Field Marshal; Bernard Montgomery,

"Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence."

This quote alone speaks volumes for any team sport. He also goes on to mention Steven Berglas, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, sighting that Leaders Cannot Rise Above the Limitations of Their Character otherwise "they are destined for one or more 4 A's:"

Arrogance, feeling of Aloneness, destructive Adventure-Seeking, or Adultery. (You are probably already playing word association.)

I simplified his terminology of CHARACTER as; "do as you say". Character is simply that, speak the words that you truly believe in and follow them up with actions. We are all placed in situations where we have to make a choice, it is this adversity that gives us the chance to follow our character or compromise for the easiest solution. For example, commissioned salespeople often use the word INTEGRITY in their ads. When selling inventory do they simply make the sale to meet quota or do they ensure that the item is the best option for the customer. Going against your character in these situations will be the beginning of the "cracks in your foundation" that will reveal themselves in more stressful situations.

Dr. Maxwell follows the lesson up with some homework that I would put out to you. See if you can find the cracks in your character? Do you do what you say you will? When asked to complete a task, do you do it to your fulliest or just enough to get by?

Take a minute and write down some of the scenarios where you choose the easiest way out and sacrificied your character. Take ownership to that situation and apologize to that person that was expecting more from you. Then redo the scenario in a manner that best reflects your ture character.

NEXT: It is simple enough for anyone in Cam Newton's MVP cleats to be wearing the Superman shirt prior to the SuperBowl. He earned it but he started to show his true character the week prior when he was caught doing group photos prior to the game ending and the way that he answered questions after the Super Bowl. This will lead us into the next leadership quality... CHARISMA!

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