“We came into this game with the mindset that we were going to be aggressive.”
-Sean Payton, Head Coach of the World Champion New Orleans Saints
Mindset is around you…every minute of every day.
From the outset of Super Bowl XLIV (that’s 44 for everyone who doesn’t speak Super Bowl) it was apparent that all of the media hype about the lack of playoff experience for the New Orleans Saints was true.
The Indianapolis Colts put a couple of commanding drives together and the rout was on.
However, someone forgot to tell the Saints.
Throughout the entire game, it appeared that the Saints were playing a different game than the Colts. Maybe even a different game than we were all watching.
While the Colts were marching up and down the field to moderate success, the Saints looked like they were just watching for a sign.
When they went for it on 4th and goal, it looked like they were either desperate or divine. When they didn’t make it, I heard commentators and fans alike question their logic.
However, when they recovered an onside kick to start the second half, rumors of genius began to rise. When they made the interception that sealed the first Super Bowl win in franchise history, the pieces began to come together. All of the decisions made sense against the backdrop of what I’ve studied and taught for 10+ years.
The Saints were neither divine or desperate. They weren’t lucky or destined. Put plain and simple, the Saints came into the biggest game of their collective lives with the right mindset.
I know it sounds self-serving because I teach and live mindset, but take a look at the evidence.
The right mindset is made up of six elements of personal choice. Purpose, belief, vision, gratitude, forgiveness, and action. Every single one of those elements was in place for the Saints, and not for the Colts.
Purpose: Does anyone doubt that both teams knew “why” they were there? To win! But the Saints had more of driving force behind them. They had a city and a people that were on the rise. Their purpose was underpinned by a community…no, make that a family, of people that had something to prove. Their love and dedication to restoring life to their once decimated city and community kept the Saints on point. This was about a family larger than the team.
Belief: The Colts knew they could win a Super Bowl. After all, they had done not too long ago. The Saints…give me a break. They had won two playoff games in 42 years prior to this year. There were less than a handful of players on the team that had ever been in a Super Bowl, let alone won it. Instead of relying on experience, the Saints took the collective results of watching the people around them rebuild. After watching and participating in the recovery of New Orleans… how could you not believe that anything is possible.
Vision: This might be the most crucial element to the Saints victory. The Colts may have had a well crafted game plan, but they weren’t in a mindset to recognize opportunities when they arose. The Saints were. The 4th and goal. The onside kick. The interception. All of these moments were unscripted, much like life, but they happened all the same. Why does one team take advantage when the other falls victim?
Mindset prepares you for things that cannot be prepared for. The Saints were tuned to nothing other than winning the Super Bowl. As the opportunities presented themselves to get closer to that goal…the Saints were ready to step up. Not because of hours of preparation (everyone in the NFL does that), but because they were crystal clear about their vision and were ready to take advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves.
Gratitude: How could the Saints not be filled with gratitude. They live, practice, and play in the middle of a place filled with gratitude. Maybe that is why the most persecuted are often the most gracious. They understand what it means to have nothing…less than nothing… so they are always bringing what is right and good to the forefront. You can’t appreciate a victory until you’ve suffered stinging defeat.
Forgiveness: Both the Colts and Saints had a shot at going undefeated this season. The Colts didn’t really get beat…they handed it over (I still don’t get that decision). The Saints went for it… and got beat. Who learned more? I don’t know for sure, but the Saints have the trophy. To get there though, the Saints had to forgive themselves for losing. They had to say, “I gave it what I had and it wasn’t enough.”
What could the Colts give themselves? “Hey, we didn’t go undefeated because we didn’t give it our full effort.” Which legacy would you rather have? Which mindset would you rather carry into the biggest game of your life? Which one are you?
Action: When the final score is tallied, no one cares who prepared best. All that matters is who executed. Who made it happen? Nobody asks the winning coach, “Can you talk about the number of dropped passes?” All they want to know is, “Tell us about how you shut down the other team.” Failure is forgotten in the face of action. Failure is only remembered when it is the last thing you do
Part of me hopes that I’ve screwed sports up for you forever.
I don’t want you to ever look at a competitive endeavor the same way again. Look deeper. Wonder what is going on. Put yourself in the place of the players and translate what they are going through to your life. After all is said and done, the only difference between you and them is a decimal place in your income. The issues and strategies are the exact same.
Do you have the Six Elements of Personal Choice working for you?
Congratulations Saints, New Orleans, and Louisiana. Keep your mindset right because you’ve got it going on!
Be your best,