I've written in the past about how Dabo has won championships, but I think it's even more important to share how a positive leader handles adversity and disappointment.
Your character during the drought is what people will remember during the harvest.
You must be consistent as a leader and lead by your principles, not your circumstances.
You can’t be positive when you are winning and a pessimistic leader or angry jerk when your team is not performing well.
You have to be an even better leader through adversity so your team can get better. You need to be at your best when your team is at their worst. When they feel low you must lift them higher.
Leadership so often determines whether adversity will lead to your team breaking down or breaking through.
Leadership is a transfer of belief and what your team believes will determine what they create. How a team views adversity and change will define how they grow and who they become.
When I spoke to the team on Friday, I told them that while they are part of a bigger Clemson football story, every team must write their own story and chapter. In every epic story there is a hero that wants to achieve something, but they must overcome conflict, adversity, struggle and pain in order to become who they are meant to be.
Without struggle there is no reward. Without challenges there's no growth. Without tests there is no triumph and testimony. And without adversity and battles along the way there's no ultimate victory.
I told them to not put a period where God put a comma. The season isn't over. Don't give up. Keep writing your story. The best is yet to come.
I told them I know they are not their record. I know who they are. I know their character. What they are made of, how hard they play, how strong they are. I know the power inside of them is greater than all the forces against them.
Most of all I told them to just play. Keep having fun. And "Don’t let overthinking get in the way of you overcoming." My coauthor of The Coffee Bean, Damon West gave me that one.
Research shows that teams that feel like they are defending something don't do very well. But teams that attack a new opportunity do great.
Don't put pressure on yourself. Put pressure on your opponent. Whatever happens keep attacking the next opportunity.
It was fitting that my friend Erwin McManus came with me and spoke to the team Saturday morning. He said, "Your freedom is on the other side of year fears, your success is on the other side of pain and your future is on the other side of your failures."
It was a game filled with fear, pain and failures (mistakes) and yet Dabo, a leader who spoke life to his team, saw his team come alive when it looked like they were done.
It was also fitting that David Nurse was with me on the sidelines. He has a new book coming out called Breakthrough. It was his first time at a Clemson game and together we saw this team have a breakthrough moment.
After the game, at the press conference, Dabo said it was one of his top five wins as the coach at Clemson. People were surprised to hear that, but I wasn't. There is something very special about seeing a team feeling beaten down, rise up and at their worst finding the very best within them to experience a breakthrough.
I love seeing this in all of you, the readers of this newsletter and my clients over the years. It’s great to see success and highlights but nothing compares to seeing how you overcome.
So, no matter what you are going through I want to remind you to keep writing your story. Keep learning and growing. Don’t let overthinking get in the way of you overcoming. Don't quit. Believe. The best is yet to come!