Perseverence, Change and Inspiration: Lessons from the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox

10/28. It was a good Sunday for New England sports fans.  Anytime two of your teams win, it’s a good day and it doesn’t hurt when one of those teams is in the World Series. But it struck me as a life coach that there were some important lessons in those games that went beyond the playing field.

Both the Patriots and Red Sox started their games with fresh memories of tough officiating calls that arguably caused them to lose their last games.  But when they got on the field, they left those distractions behind.   This is lesson number one.  Life doesn’t always go the way you would like it to go.  Sometimes the call goes your way.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  The key is learning and moving on.  There are far too many of us who, devastated by tough breaks and bad calls, are unable to keep going.  We must be able to start fresh and work on controlling the things in our lives that we can change.

Moving forward does not however, mean ignoring the past.  Perseverance is hugely important, but to pursue a bad plan does not serve anyone particularly well.  The Patriots demonstrated the ability to recognize the problem and the skills to change.  Going in to the second half, the Patriots were down 17-3 after two quarters in which everything they tried failed.  But Coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady know when to adjust the strategy.  The team that showed up in the second half was a different group altogether.  They were focused and disciplined as they pursued a hurry up offense and strong defense.  Their efforts were rewarded with a 27-17 victory (with the help of a call that *did* go their way).

The Pats were able to win because they didn’t feel the need to pursue a strategy that wasn’t working.  Many of us need to take note.  In our lives we continually make the same mistakes and expect different results.  We work, relax and love in the same patterns we have always used and are then surprised that we remain unhappy.  The second lesson from yesterday:  when your strategy isn’t working, change it.  Momentum can shift by making small alterations.

Sometimes, however, it isn’t easy to self-motivate.  Sometimes we need someone to inspire us.  The third lesson from yesterday comes to us courtesy of David Ortiz.  Tied at one in the top of the sixth, Big Papi gathered his teammates in the dugout and gave them a pep talk that according to the players, spurred them to their 4-2 victory over the Cardinals.  As was the case last night for the Sox, sometimes what we need is a person who believes in us and calls us to the best versions ourselves.  Ortiz fulfilled that role last night for his teammates.  In our own lives, it is important to find someone, a friend, a coach, a teacher, a boss, a clergyperson, someone to inspire us to go further than we thought we could go;  Someone who sees in us the potential that we are temporarily unable to see.

So what did our Boston teams teach us? One, life doesn’t always go your way, learn to keep going.  Two, when the plan isn’t working, try something else.  Three, find someone to inspire you.  These lessons are good ones- on and off the field.

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