The common traits in the elite NFL quarterback (and his coach) are mirrored in most positions in life…traits that help bring us center stage in our chosen endeavor.
Quarterback Whisperer?! I’m buying that book!”
My husband laughs at me as I grab my iPad and Google the book being featured on SportsCenter.
Babe, you realize it’s not a relationship book!”
Of course it is! It must be…” I fire back adamantly.
While it’s been a minute since my husband was in pads, he still thinks like a quarterback…and expects everyone on “his team” to act accordingly. As far as I can see, a man can leave the game of football, but the game of football never leaves him. Mine views formations wherever he goes. Corporate colleagues are his offensive line. He keeps his eye down the proverbial field as he makes decisions to pass or fake. And, surely, there must be lessons from the “toughest, most important position on Earth” (according to my husband…) and apply these to any other endeavor — including body transformation and bikini competitor — or (fill in your blank here).
Trait #1: Heart
Heart is exhibited when a quarterback plays through pain, when he smashes into a 320-pound defensive lineman on third down to try to gain those extra six inches for the first down, or when he throws an interception and then runs forty yards down the field to make a tackle.” ~Bruce Arians (BA)
Heart, heart, heart. As I bow, namaste, to this morning’s BodyFlow class, I instruct my clients to lead from their heart in all they do. Show the people on your “team” how much heart you have and watch how they respond in likeness and in support of you.
What does “heart” mean in your pursuit or line of work? Even for those of us in an individual pursuit, there is a team element to our development. The key is to ensure… and to remember why… our heart is in it. In times or places that the heart appears absent, insert inspiring works or messaging…such as with an uplifting book on your tablet or streaming through your headphones… throughout the day, via light-hearted conversations with your clients, colleagues, coaches… or, my favorite – the playful daily antics with my hubby and toddler. This morning, I was negotiating with the younger of the two not to bring a can of paint with us in the car… if you can’t lighten up to laugh at that, you REALLY do need more carbs!
Trait #2: Grit
Grit means being able to handle both success and failure … living play-to-play and growing play-to-play.” ~BA
As a QB, this means rolling with wins and losses, completions and interceptions. As a competitor, rolling with high placements…and no placements, a fantastic workout and a lousy workout, but always living, learning, and growing “play-by-play”. Over the past week, I have had my share of struggles against morning cardio. In the evening, my diet leaves me dragging. This is where I need to get gritty. No excuses, just get through it…stay on course. My grit will be continually tested as I get closer to stage. This week, I drop to 25g of carbs most days of the week and no more regularly-scheduled days off from double cardio…or, as my husband eloquently blurts out after reading this week’s instructions:
What the f#ck?! Lord, help you AND me!” ~MB
Trait #3: Willingness to put in the work
If a quarterback isn’t willing to put in in the work during the week then he’ll have no chance at success on Sundays. Zilch. Zippo.” ~BA
Without a willingness to work, your progress will stall. And, that’s not willingness when you’re feeling amazing (or, as I’ve noticed in the gym, only Mondays-Thursdays…), it’s every day that ends with a “y”! People will call you “lucky”, tell you you have “good genetics”, and find every other reason in the book to believe it’s easier for you, but, borrowing a line from my coach:
Each and every one of us has the same 24 hours. What you do with them is up to you.” ~Denise Dinger, IFBB Pro
Putting in the work also involves the mental work. In the most physical of endeavors, the mental work makes it or breaks it.
…what is very hard to measure when you’re scouting college quarterbacks is how they are going to react to the complexity of NFL defenses. This has nothing to do with arm strength and everything to do with mental strength. …how important it is to have a fast, fertile mind… to have the study habits of an Ivy League doctoral student.” ~BA
Trait #4: Good coaching
Knowledgeable coach(es) guide you through the “right” work. Without this, your progress will stall for a different reason than #3. A good coach is critical to your growth and harvesting the fruits of your labor. Over time, a good coach earns a priceless piece to the puzzle… your buy-in.
Players make plays, not coaches. So it’s vital that the quarterback be comfortable with the plays we will run. Because if he’s not, no matter how much I’m in love with a certain play design, it won’t work if my quarterback can’t execute it.” ~BA
Yet, there is a time and a place to shut up. A great player defers to his/her coach during the critical moments.
…the fourth quarter is my time. This is when I generally tell my quarterback what plays we’ll execute.” ~BA
As I get within striking distance of stage, this is my coach’s time to tell me which plays to execute. Carbs-out, “get-it” mentality in. By letting your coach take control, you can more easily move past anything haunting you…
Sometimes quarterbacks see ghosts out there on the field. They think they spot a certain coverage when they really don’t.” ~BA
Seeing ghosts is a problem we all face. The deference and trust in a good coaching relationship gets us past these limiting beliefs or mixed messages in our heads before they run rampant and seriously thwart our gains and ultimate success.
Trait #5: Leadership qualities
As a leader, you are willing to take risks and pay the price. Most often the successful quarterback is a natural-born leader, a Patton in pads.” ~BA
Leadership is the highest wrung. Whether your assigned role actually involves leading people or your accomplishments have led you to lead people, you must cultivate this trait so you are ready to lead. With success, people will watch your every move…ready or not, here they come!
Trait #6: Accuracy
Of course, you want your quarterback to have a strong arm, but it’s much more important to be accurate with the ball.” ~BA
Accuracy outranks strength. For bikini competition or body transformation, it’s the accuracy in your diet, your cardio, your lifting sessions, and every other area of your lifestyle that is much more important than how much you can lift. If you can’t accurately engage your glutes, that set of squats was a waste of time. Without accuracy, your efforts are largely unrewarded.
Trait #7: Athleticism
An athletic quarterback simply needs to be able to move in and out of the pocket. You don’t have to be fast.” ~BA
It is important to realize that athleticism is not necessarily synonymous with being a great athlete. Athleticism is being athletic in the element(s) important for your “game”.
As a bikini competitor, I need to exhibit athleticism to train and develop my body proportionately, and also to move expertly through my poses. I don’t need to jump the highest, run the fastest, or even squat the most, so I don’t bother measuring or fixating on these things. I fixate on the elements that matter the most to my desired outcome.
What type of athleticism is necessary for you to succeed? What can you do to hone these skills further? Alternatively, which skills are you unneccessarily fixating on?
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