Adversity, How Does It Define You?

A few weeks ago, Barry Odom, Missouri’s Head Football Coach, gave a very raw and emotional but oh-so-passionate post-game speech. Did you see it? What were your thoughts?

Haven’t seen it?

I have to admit, Odom caught my attention immediately and his words resonated with me so much that I volunteered to write a blog about it. Truth be told, time got away from me and I’m a few weeks late! Nevertheless, timing always seems to have a way in life, and after watching his post-game speech and listening to his words many more times this week, I cannot help but feel very moved by Coach Odom’s words of wisdom. His insight resonates with me even more deeply after the events that unfolded in Las Vegas this week and my own internal struggles (which I promise will not be the content of this blog).

So, let’s talk Barry Odom, leadership, teamwork and adversity. In November 2016, after the Vanderbilt game, Coach Odom shared these words of wisdom with his TEAM:

“LIFE is hard. Take football away from it. The game of LIFE is difficult. Stay the course. Fight together for a cause that’s bigger than yourselves.”

Fast forward to Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 when Coach Odom gave his fiery and emotional speech after the loss, and he repeatedly addresses Adversity. He states there will be adversity in football, adversity in life, and how you respond to adversity is what counts. I agree that resilience in the face of adversity and keeping the passion alive is important, and I also understand that some things take time. As Odom’s states repeatedly, this is a “turnaround” process but nonetheless we need to work as a team, support each other and fight together.

Here are my sport-inspired questions for you leading into another football Saturday after a bye week for Mizzou: How as fans, do we respond to adversity? As an owner of a company, a manager of a team or as a teammate, how do we respond to adversity? Tough question? Yeah, I think it is! If you really take time to step back, think about this and reflect internally we each may shock ourselves when we see the truth unfold before our eyes.

I have been told numerous times in life that to be a true leader, one must be vulnerable and transparent, and I think we can all agree that is exactly what Odom was doing two short weeks ago following the Mizzou loss to Auburn. So, I am going to be a little transparent for a few minutes and share some observations of myself. Have I left a game early and not stayed to support our Tigers in the past? Yes, and now I hang my head while admitting it. Have I shared my opinion of how I thought the team was doing, how their success was interpreted in my opinion? Of course, I have! Let’s be honest here, who hasn’t? Now, do I know exactly how much work goes on behind closed doors and on that field? I can speculate, but no, I do not know the total sacrifice, time and pure dedication that it takes from each and every player and coach out there. Do I believe that a stadium emptied out by fans who have left the game early and negative words shared post game and heard by so many have an impact on each of those crucial teammates and coaches? Yes, I do, and I believe that this only creates more adversity and more defeat for this team to overcome.

So, I have a few challenges going into this Saturday and each of the game days after, regardless of what sporting event you are attending, or for that matter what adversity you are facing in life. Know and understand that when the going gets tough, we must all work together to build something. We must all fight together, as a team and as a community. Understand that adversity will exist, always, but learn to fight hard and respond in a positive manner in times of difficulty or misfortune. Stick together as a TEAM!

I will be proudly sporting my black and gold this Saturday and cheering on our Tigers from CoMO!! I will feel pride in my heart knowing that we have a coach who cares so deeply about the future of these young men and their future success. A true leader who leads with passion and heart, and one who is working relentlessly to train young people as individuals and as a team to respond to adversity with passion and that fire burning inside of them.

I encourage you to do the same! Get that black and gold on, cheer on our Tigers and let them know that we understand adversity exists in life but that they have one amazing fan base and support system behind them as Tiger Nation has their back!! MIZ!!!

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