I was never a huge college football fan, but several years ago, when I met my fiancÉe, Connie, I discovered she was from Oklahoma and a huge OU fan. As I began to watch more and more OU games each fall, I really became a fan of this national championship caliber team. Now, with my new employer also located in Oklahoma City, I’m hooked. Every Saturday, I find myself sitting next to Connie, cheering on the “Sooners” and chanting the Boomer Sooners theme song when they play it, which seems like every couple of minutes.
Well, a few weeks ago, I was watching the OU game against the Oregon Ducks, in Oregon. There are probably very few football fans who aren’t familiar with the details of this game, because a couple of controversial calls headlined on the national news everywhere. Two bad calls made on the field and not overturned by the replay officials in the booth upstairs, led to OU’s loss of the game in the last 66 seconds, resulting in a final score of 34 to 33, in favor of the Ducks.
Although the calls made on the field were clearly wrong and the replay officials didn’t do any better reviewing the video in the booth, there is an important lesson for all of us here. Whether you enjoy football or not, it’s a game of preparation, discipline, execution and teamwork. And above all, it is not a matter of whether you win or lose, but how you play the game, right? Following the game I am referring to, Oregon is now known as “The Lucky Ducks ” — quite fitting for a team that had all of the wrong calls go its way.
But what if you were OU? What do you do the next week after having all of the calls go against you and end up losing in the final 66 seconds? You go out the very next weekend and beat Middle Tennessee 59 to 0, knowing that inevitably, there will always be some bad calls in your life. You just have to do your best every day, even when the close calls don’t run in your favor. You gotta’ get passed it!
I think a lot of us could learn a lesson from the Sooners, because from my experience, everyone involved in the aftermarket is exposed to the diversity and changes of our industry. That means that sooner or later, any one of dozens of different factors challenging the aftermarket is bound to catch up to you. How you react to this when it happens will determine your character, and ultimately, become part of the overall picture of who you are as an employee and a potential leader.
I could go on and on about all of the things I think I could have been, long before I was given the opportunity. There were plenty of obstacles and road blocks in my career and people, too, who seemed to get some breaks in their careers that I didn’t. It would have been really easy to get all wrapped up in the disappointment and anger about these situations, but it wouldn’t have changed anything. I might even have been labeled as having a “bad attitude” and been forgotten when future advancement opportunities presented themselves. I just always figured it wasn’t meant to be my turn — but some day it would be.
Sometimes it feels like things will never go your way, but a new year is right around the corner and if you’re like me, you want this year to be better than the last. Perhaps this year you could make a New Year’s resolution to think more positively, not only about yourself, but about others around you. There will always be someone who’s a little better than you, just a little smarter, or a little faster — but that’s okay. Resolve to be grateful for what you do have and work on those skills that are lacking.
I’ve always heard that the harder you work, the luckier you are. Perhaps hard work and luck are somehow related to fewer “bad calls” in your career and in your life. So, the next time you are over-looked for the management position, or your buddy at the other end of the counter is given special recognition for efforts that you feel you exceed every week, just stick to that New Year’s resolution. If you do, there’s a good chance that on game day the score will be 59 to 0, and you’ll be the victorious one.