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Vince Lambardi teaches that loyalty is highest form of love, embues change efforts with uncompromising purpose

There are lots of reasons why you might seek change.  Often those reasons are centered around yourself.  Your personal betterment.

These are noble causes.  You are infinitely capable, after all, and you deserve the very best, those rewards earned through the persistent pursuit of positive change.

But there is yet a higher cause.  Something even nobler.

Love.

Vince Lombardi was the famous coach of the Green Bay Packers, who led them to capture their first-ever Super Bowl.  In the wake of his incredible success and obvious leadership, Lombardi was highly sought after for corporate events.

He translated the principles of leadership and motivation he used on the football field into 7 principles for work and life.  Chief among these 7 principles was one that was surprising for the rough and tough football coach… love.  Love, he says, is more powerful than hate.

“The love I’m speaking of is loyalty, which is the greatest of loves.  Teamwork, the love that one man has for another and that he respects the dignity of another…I am not speaking of detraction. You show me a man who belittles another and I will show you a man who is not a leader…Heart power is the strength of your company.  Heart power is the strength of the Green Bay Packers. Heart power is the strength of America and hate power is the weakness of the world.”

Lombardi taught that when your efforts are fueled by love, you work harder, persevere longer, invest more, take greater care, and are less apt to give up.

Some years ago the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, renowned for providing some of the greatest care in the world for children battling cancer, was building a new facility on campus.

Something remarkable happened, a love-born relationship between the ironworkers and the children.  As the Boston globe reported:

“It has become a beloved ritual at Dana-Farber.  Every day, children who come to the clinic write their names on sheets of paper and tape them to the windows of the walkway for ironworkers to see. And, every day, the ironworkers paint the names onto I-beams and hoist them into place as they add floors to the new 14-story Yawkey Center for Cancer Care.

“The building’s steel skeleton is now a brightly colored, seven-story monument to scores of children receiving treatment at the clinic-Lia, Alex, and Sam; Taylor, Izzy, and Danny. For the young cancer patients, who press their noses to the glass to watch new names added every day, the steel and spray-paint tribute has given them a few moments of joy and a towering symbol of hope. ‘It’s fabulous,’ said [18-month-old] Kristen [Hoenshell]’s mother, Elizabeth, as she held her daughter and marveled at the rainbow of names. It’s just a simple little act that means so much.’”

The children and their parents were certainly touched, but think of the ironworkers, each morning in the bitter cold and biting wind.  Their project had become more than just another building.  Their work now had meaning.  They had purpose.

This kind of purpose, when your efforts are somehow tied to something more than yourself, creates powerful, self-sustaining drive that you simply don’t otherwise get.

This year I helped coach my 14 year old son’s football team.  The prior season was a tough one, with zero wins.  Coming into the new season with that record created a powerful barrier to success – self doubt.  What the boys needed was something to believe in.  Something to rally around.

That something showed up on the first day of practice.  His name was Austin.  Austin was autistic.  But he had a huge heart and an infectious sense of humor (which was often manifested by his sneaking up on a coach and inflicting physical pain, which delighted the other boys.)

His parents didn’t have much by way of expectations, but were excited he wanted to play.  Austin didn’t have many friends.  Until now.

The team embraced him.  At first he would only practice a few plays at a time before losing interest, when he would go sit on the side and watch (or sneak up on coaches).  Over time he would stay in nearly the whole practice, with help and guidance and patience of his teammates, showing him where to stand and what to do.

We decided we wanted Austin to have a lot of play time.  He started, every game, as defensive nose guard, and cycled in and out every couple of plays.  His parents were ecstatic at the experience.

 

Austin was the rallying point, giving the team purpose born of love and loyalty

Austin lines up on defense… ready to take on the world.

 

We ended the season with 7 wins and 1 loss, and went to the championship game, where again, Austin started.

This was the same team that a year prior had not won a game.

While there were several things we worked on to overcome mental barriers, and be better prepared, in my mind nothing played a larger role, at least in gaining our initial inertia, than the fact that we had something to rally around.  We had a cause greater than ourselves.  We were motivated by love, by loyalty.

Love imbues your change efforts with unparalleled, uncompromising purpose.

Whatever your change efforts are, find a way to let them be led, or inspired by a cause greater than yourself, and you’ll find your rate of success increasing dramatically.

Let yourself be led by love.

 

 

Austin, the team's rallying point, imbued our efforts with purpose born of love and loyalty.

Austin comes out after a play, ecstatic at playing the game.

 

Rusty,

 

Vince Lombardi Biography - when pride still mattered(You can read all of Lambardi’s principles in his biography by Pulitzer Prize winning author David Maraniss: “When Pride Still Mattered“.)

Petra Majdic - motivation through perseverance 2010 Olympic Games

Petra Majdic – shows her mettle. Image from topnews.in

Cross Country Sprint star Petra Majdic, from Slovenia was favored to win Wednesday’s gold medal finals at the 2010 Winter Olympic games at Whistler.

That is until she suffered a terrible accident during a warm-up early Wednesday. Her skis caught a patch of ice on a downhill slope. She fell 9 feet into a gully off the side of the track.

Petra Majdic falls in 2010 Winter Olympics

Click photo for larger image.

When she fell, she broke both poles, one ski, 4 ribs, and punctured her lung.

But what did she do next.

Petra Majdic climbs out to win the bronze

click photo for larger image.

She climbed out of the gully, and went on to race 4 times, including the opening round, the quarter finals, the semi-finals, and the finals.

And she didn’t just compete, she won the bronze medal.

Shortly after the awards ceremony, which she attended in a wheelchair, she went back to the hospital for treatment, and they say she’ll be there for some time recovering from the wounds.

Already heralded as a true champion in Slovenia (her’s marks their fifth Olympic Winter Games medal in Slovenia’s history), she will return as a giant. As well she should.

She’s a giant in my eyes.

Her teamate, Barbara Jezersek said “She won’t compete again, because the injury is too bad. What she did was something amazing. She wanted to get a medal, and she did. She is like a hero now in Slovenia. She has really strong will to compete. The coach tell her to stop skiing because of injury. But she was too strong. She wouldn’t listen.”

Canmore, Alta.’s Sara Renner said “It was phenomenal. She was in so much pain. Her crash was horrific. The fact she pulled off a bronze medal . . . she was digging into something superhuman there. I can’t imagine how she was able to do it.”

Neither can I. But in watching her do it, I learned something important. I learned that when you want something badly enough, when you’re intensely focused on achieving your goal, you can see past enormous barriers, and endure enormous pains. It’s a lesson of willpower, which Petra proved is strong enough to overcome nearly anything.

Thank you Petra, for your example and strength. Your greatness and perseverance are inspiring.

Rusty

Other inspiring Olympic stories:

Lindsey Vonn - olympic effort, and hard work is key to achieving your goals and dreams

Lindsey Vonn – she didn’t start out the fastest, she wasn’t the most naturally gifted.  But she started small, persevered, and through a crazy amount of hard work has become the most successful female skier in World Cup history.

2010 Olympic Highlight - Seth Wescott

Seth Wescott wins the gold, 6 weeks ago he couldn’t even walk. Overcoming injury, the worst-possible starting gate, and an unthinkable gap that left him in last place through most of the race, he kept his focus, believed in himself, and succeeded. Read his story.