Success is so much sweeter when you can look back at the barriers you toppled in order to win. I’m about as far away from being a Ravens fan as you can be, but I completely respect the challenges they overcame to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy last night.
Here are a few lessons I took away from the Super Bowl champs’ run:
1. You must overcome personal barriers.
After 17 years of dominating the linebacker position, Ray Lewis announced he would be retiring after this season. During this season, he dealt with a serious triceps injury and rumors of performance-enhancing drug use. He took the injury recovery as a challenge and didn’t get distracted by the rumors, leading to a phenomenal season. On the road to success, there are a variety of personal barriers that will be put in your path. If you see them as challenges and don’t take your eyes off the end goal, you’ll increase your likelihood of success.
2. Firing staff is difficult.
The Ravens’ offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, was fired in the middle of the season. Many people questioned the call, but the decision paid off. Firing key staff members is extremely difficult and can be detrimental to your success. However, if you build a critical mass around these key positions, you shouldn’t be afraid of letting someone go if you think he or she is hindering your team’s performance.
3. Confidence matters.
Joe Flacco has taken a lot of heat for calling himself an “elite” quarterback. However, in the playoffs, he defeated Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Andrew Luck. As much as I disagreed with him at the beginning, he started convincing me this postseason. When he got to the biggest stage, he delivered, passing for three touchdowns and winning the MVP Award. When you are under pressure, confidence is the biggest strength you have. Start thinking of yourself as an elite leader, and then do what you can to back that claim up.
4. Your team is your foundation.
In the third week of the season, second-year WR Torrey Smith lost his younger brother to a motorcycle accident the night before a game. Through the encouragement of teammates and coaches, Smith came back to play that night against New England; he had two critical touchdowns and 127 yards in a one-point victory. Everyone goes through difficult things in their personal lives, and no one can do it alone. Your foundation to get through the hard times can be found in the people around you.
5. Be ready to pivot.
For the past decade, Baltimore has been known and feared as one of the top defenses in the league. Although still good, the team is older and just not what it used to be defensively. The Ravens realized it was time to change, and they started to rely more on their offense and big plays to win games. Never be afraid to step back, analyze your situation, and use a new strategy when the current one isn’t working as well as it once did. Things are constantly changing, and as history shows, the people who change with them succeed.
Whether you’re a Ravens fan or a devotee of the 49ers, there’s certainly a lot to learn from this year’s Super Bowl winners. Just like the Ravens, we will all face struggles in our careers – the key is to learn how to handle these challenges like champions.
Thank you to Forbes for this article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2013/02/04/5-lessons-you-can-learn-from-the-baltimore-ravens-championship-season/