10 Lessons I Learned from Jameis Winston and the 2013 Florida State National Championship Team
In America, we melt for the underdog. We wish them well and cheer relentlessly when they become the victor. On Monday, January 7, 2014, many households were tuned in to watch the BCS National Championship game featuring the Florida State University Seminoles and Auburn University Tigers. Throughout the BCS Championship game marketing, the FSU Seminoles were predicted as the victor. The events that transpired from the time the athletes hit the field were life changing. The Seminoles lacked luster, momentum and consistency with their prior performance. It was clear to many in the first quarter of the game that, their perfect season might end in disappointment. The time continued to tick and the momentum continued to be stolen for the Seminoles. How could you come so far and miss the opportunity to fulfill your dream?
It is my belief that adversity builds character and strength. When everything is on the line, it’s go time. These are the top 10 lessons that I learned about life and winning from Jamesis Winston and the 2013 National Championship Winners, the Florida State University Seminoles:
1. Never give up.
The win was not solidified until the last 13 seconds of the game. Winning is about fighting until you are victorious. The fight does not end until you achieve what you set out to do. The thing that struck me most is that at the very least, we can all die fighting. We owe it to ourselves to give life all that we have until life leaves us.
2. When your strategy isn’t working, change your strategy.
The head Coach Jimbo Fisher made a gutsy decision to call a “fake” play that would alter the course of the game forever. I believe that because of this play, history was made. There are times when fear is not an option. When you are down and out, you have nothing to lose except the opportunity to try. We must stand up and fight harder when the chips are down to pursue our goals.
3. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.
In the words of Jameis “I have a team for a reason”. We were placed on planet earth with others that we might be resourceful. If we were meant to do everything alone, there would be no need for civilization as a whole.
4. Adversity builds character.
It’s not about what we do when we are winning. It’s easy to persevere free from struggle. It is the action taken when we are losing that proves to be the best statement of our character.
5. Respect the Game.
The Seminoles had an epic season. So much so that the theme for the year became “Unconquered”. Sometimes winning can remove the hunger. Sometimes winning can make us lose sight of the drive and determination that brought us so far. Whether we take time to respect that game of life, the game of pursuing our dreams, the game of entrepreneurship, etc. or not, circumstance, life and other factors will bring you back to basics. The Seminoles found their “Unconquered” season slipping away because they lost sight of team work and most importantly the fact that the game was larger than the team. There is always someone ready to walk a mile in your shoes. Losing respect for the game will allow them to do just that. Jameis Winston said that during half time, he spoke to the team in detail and told them that he was not bigger than the game. This sentiment is what allowed them to come back victoriously. We are not bigger than the game of life. We are players, coaches, team owners but never bigger than the game itself.
6. Refuse to turn the ball over.
When you have possession of the ball, your goal is and should always be to keep it. This is not to say that we should not reach back and teach the generations to come and empower new leaders, business owners, professionals and dreamers; this simply means that when you have a job to do, do it. We all want to be remembered for something and dropping the ball is not it.
7. Be heroic.
Heroes can only reveal themselves in the midst of adversity. Superman never saved anyone who was doing well. Heroes are heroes because they can rise above adversity, they can perform well under pressure. Heroes are recognizeable becauese they don’t look like everyone else. Jameis Winston was a hero because he was not afraid to fight and more importantly, fight harder when he was losing. So often we give up because things get hard. Remember, we can never earn our battle stripes in the middle of the rose garden.
8. Welcome a challenge.
Anything worth having is worth working for. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Your dream was given to you. The vision was given to you. Whether anyone else believes in you or not, your dream is yours to conquer. The challenges in pursuit of those dreams are just for you. Be encouraged when challenging times arise as they are preparing you for future success. Moreover, if you were not equipped, the challenge will prepare you to rise above any future battles that may come your way.
9. Respect is earned, never given.
The FSU Football team has been overwhelmed with commentary about their lack of challenging opponents, underwhelming performances to lackluster teams and so on. Even heading into the bowl game, fans from other conferences stated that the only reason the Seminoles were successful was because they had an easy schedule. That said, the BCS Championship game allowed them to come face to face with one of the best opponents that the SEC had to offer. The victory was much more meaningful because they had earned the respect of the nation. The critics were silenced. There is no need to utter a word or defend the team because everyone had to respect a hard fought win. Such is life.
10. Sometimes you have to mess up to overcome your fear and move forward.
Jameis stated that he was no longer afraid because he had made all of the mistakes that he could make. There are times when we lose our momentum because we have messed up. When all things are put into perspective, this is the most effective time to rise because there is no more room left at the bottom. Mistakes make us wiser, stronger and prepare us for victory.
I am thankful for the challenges along my journey to success because I know that adversity builds character; just as the 2013 BCS National Champions, the Florida State Seminoles.
Ardre Orie is an Entrepreneur/Philanthropist/Author