Success is not whether you get knocked down or not.  You will.  You will sometimes fail.  All leaders do.  Success is how many times you get back up.

Adversity is therefore not discriminatory.  It affects all leaders.  There will be seasons of plenty and also seasons of lack.  As a leader, sometimes you feel almost invincible while other times you feel you cannot do anything right.  This is the leader’s journey.

Hard times come and how you handle them, how you execute under pressure and adversity, will determine your sustainability and long-term effectiveness as a leader.

Tonight, ESPN and NFL Films aired RGIII: The Will to Win.  This show chronicled the injury, rehab and recovery of Robert Griffin III following his knee injury in last year’s NFL playoffs.  He provides a compelling picture of facing and overcoming adversity.

The following are 30 Practices Of Leaders Who Overcome Adversity gleaned from the program.  The comments are Griffin’s unless otherwise noted.

  1. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Have A Purpose – “It’s one thing to want something but a whole other ballgame to know why you want it.”
  2. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Prepare Their Mind, Body, And Soul – “I’m trying to prepare my mind, body, and soul to be ready to go.”
  3. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Don’t Blame Others – “I’m not angry.  Yeah, it was tough but there is no one single one person to blame.”
  4. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Show Emotion – “We cried.  We cried for a while.”
  5. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Lean On Their Friends – “The NFL and our teams get very close.  We are a family.” – Owner Daniel Snyder
  6. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Often Feel Like Failures – “They truly care about me.  I feel like I let everyone down.  I feel like let my teammates down.  I feel like I let the fans down.”
  7. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Have Nothing To Prove – “He’s enough for us.  We don’t need anything else.” – wife Rebecca
  8. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Are Often Fearful – “There might be a slight hint of fear.  It was tough.  I’m might lose everything because of my injury.”
  9. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Face Reality – “I’m the one who woke up with the realization I had surgeries on both knees.  I’m the one who work up with the realization I might not every play again.”
  10. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Have People Who Speak Positive Things Into Their Life – “The Lord told me there’s greater.  There’s greater coming.” – mom Jacqueline
  11. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Set Goals – “‘When’s the week of the first game?’ He put it on his phone and made it his password.” – Tony Wiley Senior Vice President of the Redskins
  12. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Keep Advancing Every Day – “He’s a guy they’re gonna have to hold the reins on rather than a guy they’re going to have to push in the back to go and do something.”
  13. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Trust God – “God always has a plan for you no matter what.”
  14. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Are Humble – “If you think you want something, let it get taken away from you.  It humbles you.”
  15. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Have A Winning Attitude – “If you have a winning attitude, you can conquer anything.  You have to have that in you.  You either have it or you don’t.” – Jacqueline
  16. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Fight Through Pain – “It’s pain but not unbearable pain.” – Working out 161 days to Week 1
  17. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Keep Improving – “Did a lot of good things, still not to where I want to be.  It still takes time.” – 142 days to Week 1
  18. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Are Patient – “I know I have to be patient but I’m frustrated when they don’t let me do simple things.”
  19. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Face Criticism – “When I come back if I don’t look the part and play the part, I will be criticized and ridiculed for coming back too early.”
  20. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Have Family Support – “Family support means everything to him.” – Larry Hess, Redskins Head Athletic Trainer
  21. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Are Focused And Disciplined – “He (Griffin’s father) was trying to raise a focus, disciplined young man.  That’s what I’ve become.”
  22. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Are Doubted By Others – “With each passing day I see a lot of doubt in people’s minds about whether I will play this year.”
  23. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Are Highly Competitive – “I’m a competitive guy.  If I see something I feel like I can obtain it, I’m going to go for it.”
  24. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Are Relentless – “They wouldn’t call it the pursuit of happiness if it was going to be easy.  Because to pursue something you have to go get it.”
  25. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Value Relationships – “I miss being with my guys.  That’s tough.  That’s the hardest part.  Rehab’s just a grind.”
  26. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Work Very Hard – “First guy in.  Last guy out.  A lot of guys say that but I have to do it to be ready.”
  27. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Often Are The Ones Who Believe In Jesus – “I’m a big Christian guy…I choose to believe in God.”
  28. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Sacrifice Temporary Pleasure For A Greater Good – “My career is more important that one night in Vegas.”
  29. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Will Succeed – “All that hard work I put in paid off.”
  30. Leaders Who Overcome Adversity Take Advantage Of Every Moment – “If you’re not going to play, you’re taking mental reps.  I’m leading the league in mental reps.”

If you do these 30 things, like RGIII, you too will overcome adversity.


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