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Ray Lewis and Nick Saban: Effort is Eternal

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I usually hesitate to analogize from the world of sports that of business.

In contrary to many motivational videos, these are two very different realms of human endeavor and there is not a clear line between the attributes and mindsets that drive success in one as compared to the other.

This past week, however, I was moved by the stories and coverage of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ retirement after 17 seasons of professional football, and those of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban winning his third BCS national championship in four years.

Watching the various retrospectives and tributes to Lewis, the overriding takeaway was how his "always on” persona inspires those around him with feelings of action, of possibility, and of strong positive intent.

This kind of energy and presence is indispensable in very many aspects of business, but none so obviously more so than in sales and presentation.

Especially in this technologically distracted world of ours, the ability to consistently project high positive emotion is a key success factor and competitive advantage.

Now, a lucky few of us are blessed with a naturally "high motor" that can go on and on without a lot of maintenance.

But the vast majority of us have to work at it.

To eat, sleep, and exercise right.

And to feed one's mind and spirit with equally nutritional fare.

Now, when it comes working at it, Nick Saban is as great a role model as he is a legendary football coach.

While for some it was a bit off-putting to hear - just minutes after his team won the championship - - the notoriously "always on-message" coach already start talking about next season, for me it was refreshing.

Because in Nick Sabin’s world it is the work itself - as opposed to any glory or accolades or money that might come from it - that is the real reward.

And that as this work and its example catalyzes the success and growth of others, it is the satisfaction of so doing that is far sweeter and more gratifying than any personal triumph or celebration could ever be.

Ray Lewis. Nick Sabin.

Strong role models not because of their far greater number of wins than losses but because, in the words of Lewis himself, wins come and go but it is effort that is eternal.

And this effort, when taken to its methodical extreme, results in a life and career like that of Nick Saban's.

Which, of course, leads to triumphs and transformations and joys for millions to experience.

Just ask any Alabama football fan if you have any doubt about that.


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