As the NFL playoffs are kicking off and the College Football championship is upon us, I couldn’t help but think about a famous quote from a former NFL player.

“Big time players play big in big time games” – Santana Moss

Tonight and for the next several weeks, several ‘big time players’ will take the field for their respective teams and need to step up to make a literally game-changing impact on the outcome of the game and their season.

We as spectators and these individual’s teammates look to them to step up and alter the course of the game or come up big when the game is on the line.

These players thrive in these situations and set aside the anxiety and stresses of the moment to make it all happen. Simply put, it is an incredible spectacle to watch.

So how can we bring this ‘big time player’ mentality into our life and onto our field?

What does a big time player look like in our game?

Most importantly, why can’t we be that big time player for our team?

Let’s unleash our Inner Athlete and become the big time player for our teams, families and communities today and every day forward.


Lessons from a 5 Time World Champion

Love them or hate them, when it comes to playing big time in big games my mind immediately goes to Super Bowl LI and the New England Patriots.

Tom Brady and his Patriots were blown out in the first half. Their fans were tuning out around half time and pretty much everyone thought the Falcons would continue their rout for the rest of the game – they looked that unstoppable.

Well, no one told Brady it was over. He stepped up and played big time – one for the history books that will be discussed over and over during his road to an eventual induction into the Hall of Fame.

If you were watching the game well into the second half then you could literally feel the momentum shifting. Early into the 4th quarter it was hard to deny that the Patriots couldn’t pull off the monster comeback.

Brady played bigger than big and brought his franchise their 5th Super Bowl since he’s been at the helm. He and his team wanted the ball in his hands and once they got it their he put on a show.

Let’s learn from moments like these and take the steps to become the big player on our team and in our life.

Become your team’s go-to player

Despite all my references to football and sports, there is not a doubt in my mind that we can up our game and become a big time player in our professional space – no matter what it is that we do.

The biggest projects, clients, problems, business deals, etc. will require an organization’s top team to rise to the occasion and bring home the win.  These opportunities are the defining moments for our organizations and potentially our careers if we can get on the field.  Furthermore, once we begin to create a pattern of success in these big moments, more significant opportunities will be brought to us due to our reputation to deliver.

So here are a few guidelines that can prepare us to step into the game when everything is on the line, and raise our team to a new level to achieve success.  Let’s get ourselves on the field!

Lead with enthusiasm and positivity – Positive energy is contagious while negative energy sucks the life out of the team.  Talent-wise, you may already be the best at what you do, but if you are too “me-focused” and criticizing everyone around you, that team energy will ultimately result in a loss.  To be a star player, we need to leverage positivity and our energy to create hope and belief that no matter what the odds, we can and will win.

Master your craft and never stop learning – The very best never stop learning no matter how many championships or accolades they amass over the years.

“If you are not willing to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn no one can stop you.” Zig Ziglar

They become and remain the big time player because they put in the work, and invest their time and energy into improving and refining their game. Even when they are at the top of their game in their profession, the very best work even harder to take it to the next level – because there is ALWAYS another level.

Embrace fear and enjoy being uncomfortable – Being the go-to player will not be easy and it will be scary because the stage will be that big – enjoy it and let it fuel you.  This fringe of discomfort and pushing your limits is where you grow and where you will transcend your game and become legendary.  Once you are able to gain a high level of confidence in your skills and ability to execute under pressure, you can then…

Ask for the ball when the game is on the line – The legendary players and icons of the game refuse to be on the sidelines.  No matter the odds or how many eyes are watching, they ask, and quite likely demand the ball.  Not only does this reinforce their belief in themselves, it also serves to inspire the team around them.  So the next time the stakes are high within our organizations, get off the sidelines, stand up tall and proud, and ask to take on the biggest project, most demanding client, or most complex and intimidating challenge.  Take the big risk and execute!  And finally, once you bring home the win…

Praise your team and not yourself – We never truly accomplish anything on our own.  There is always some form of a team or a support systems behind us.  The very best leaders and big time players that we all look up to give the credit and praise to their team when things go well.  They also take full responsibility when things don’t go so well.  Therefore, no matter what the result, by putting others first, we build a legendary character and have a team that will stand behind us in thick and thin, and demand we lead them when the next big time game rolls around.

Post Game Huddle

While the big time games don’t come around often, we need to do what we can to prepare ourselves to step up and deliver when our teams need us.

Honing our game, continuing to learn, and continuing to invest in our personal and professional development will always help to ensure we are poised to elevate and unleash our Inner Athlete when the time is right.

Never stop focusing on getting better – 1% better each and every day will make a monumental impact when the big time moments roll around.

Discussion Question:  How can you begin to up your game this week to become your team’s big time player for the next big time game?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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