There is an ugly side to leadership. I call it failure. We don't like to talk about failing but it is a reality of being a leader. You will have good days. You'll have better days. However, you will have bad and worst days. Things won't go your way. And those who you thought were your biggest fans will become your worst critics. Colorful confetti will turn into rotten tomatoes. But what is there to learn from failure? Why do we go through it? I'm studying Drew Brees, one of my favorite leaders, Quarterback of the New Orleans Saints.
This 2014 NFL Football Season has been one that I'd like to forget as a New Orleans Saints fan. Last week, I turned on the television to watch the Saints play the Carolina Panthers, a team who was 3-8-1 and has Quarterback Cam Newton (I am on the record as saying he is the worst QB attitude-wise in the NFL). The game was being played in New Orleans so I thought surely, this would be a win. I was predictably wrong. By six minutes into the game, the Panthers had already scored 17 points due in part by a fumble and an interception by Drew Brees. By the end of the second quarter. I turned my tv off and went to my room and took a nap. I couldn't take it anymore. The Panthers went on to win the game.
Since the game, I'd been so nervous to hear and see what people's reaction to the game and the Saint's performance would be. My sister-in-law's boyfriend called to rub it in my face how horrible the game was. I hated that. I jumped on Twitter to check the hashtag #drewbrees. Not good. It was bad. How does a team recover from a game like this? How does a leader like Drew Brees recover from a performance like this...or a season of bad performances?
He keeps doing what he does best.
There will be days, there will be seasons, there will be years where nothing goes the way that you've planned it. What will be your response? The thing that I've learned from Drew this season the most is to remain consistent. I believe a consistent leader is a strong leader. Even in the face of pressure or dismall results, a consistent leader is always pursuing greatness while maintaining what He/She has been called to do...lead.
It's always crazy to me how fast those who praise you will turn sour on you as soon as you don't succeed at something. These are folks that begin to bash you and call you names like inadequate, a joke, less than worthy, a failure, and the like. They will question your leadership, possibly even talk about you behind your back. They will second guess your decisions. All of these things will weigh heavy on your conscience...if you let it. Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can do more damage. Let's not even get into the mind games we play on ourselves when we encounter failure. When we fail, when we fail at something or something doesn't go the way we planned it, success can be found in the way that we respond to it. I love what Drew Brees said after being asked, "Are the things that are being said about you affecting the way you get ready for your games?"
Be consistent in what God has called you to be. He knew there would be mistakes made. He knew that you wouldn't be perfect at it. He knew that you'd go through moments of weakness. And even though he knew all of that, he still chose you to be you. You are the only person who can be you perfectly. So be you. Don't let the ebb and flow of winning or of success determine whether you have value or not.
Last night, during the Saints vs Bears game, I again watched Drew Brees play. I knew there was a huge chance that the team would lose. I knew there was a chance that they could run out onto the feel feeling ashamed and defeated. They didn't. He didn't. And for this one moment, they did what only they could do, they played like themselves. Drew Brees hit all sorts of new NFL all-time records last night. I'm not shocked. He was being Drew Brees.