Leadership After Defeat

The greatest glory lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
– JK Rowling

Our beloved Seahawks lost last night and in the most heart-breaking way. I stood there, mouth open, looking in disbelief at my TV screen. “What the…? Did that really just happen?!”

As anyone knows who was watching the game last night, the Seahawks last offensive play was a doozy. Who the heck called THAT one, we all wondered.

Pete Carroll, the head coach, took responsibility for it. And then Russell Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback said HE was to blame. And… it’s kind of refreshing to see the blame game being played out in this way – with two people competing to TAKE the blame, rather than rushing to find someone else to pin it on. That is leadership, isn’t it?

Far too often in my experience the “guys at the top” – the politicians, managers, bigwigs, and Grand Poobahs – are the first ones to try to find someone else to blame when things head south. That whole “buck stops here” thing seems to rarely happen anymore. So it warmed the cockles of my heart when I read this on profootballtalk.nbcsports.com:

“Wilson credited Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler for making a good play and said the (sic) he didn’t question the play call while also pointing the finger at himself for the way things played out.

“’I put the blame on me — I’m the one who threw it,’ Wilson said. ‘It’s something you learn from, it’s something you grow from. I’m proud of our guys about the way that we got down the field there in that situation. We had so many great plays, and we’re right there. We’ll just keep learning and keep growing.’”

Maybe losing the Superbowl when they were so close to winning it is the best thing, in the long-term, that could have happened to the Seahawks as a team last night. I mean, it would have been awesome if they’d won – duh! But the big thing that the Seahawks have always had going for them is their collective character, as a team. They are family. And when family members go through hard times together – support each other, take responsibility for each, encourage and inspire each other – they come out even stronger in the end.

(And we all know that neither Pete Carroll nor Russell Wilson was to blame for that doozy of a call. But aren’t we proud of them for being willing to “take the rap”?)

Winning is great, sure. but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
– Wilma Rudolph

2 thoughts on “Leadership After Defeat

  1. I had the same reaction, Karen, with that last play. Your post was just what I needed this morning to put it in perspective, let go, and move on, seeing the true graciousness and humility displayed by the Seahawks leadership which in itself is a beautiful thing well worth celebrating.

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