How to Become an MVP at Work Without a Helmet

I’m an Oakland Raiders fan, so I didn’t have a dog in this year’s Super Bowl fight. Even so, I can admit that the NY Giants’ display was impressive. A down-and-out team at mid-season made quite a run in the post season and won the ultimate prize. I love an underdog about as much as watching Tom Brady’s bride berate opposing fans.

Do you feel like an underdog at work? If so, it’s understandable. Maybe you have a brother in the same sport, I mean industry, who seems to get all the glory. Maybe your team, I mean company, is located in the largest TV market on the East Coast and gets a lot of unwanted attention when you’re not doing well. Maybe your coaching staff, I mean company executives, are seen as old, stodgy, and behind the times. Perhaps, adding insult to injury, your competition is a well-oiled machine guided by one of the league’s, I mean industry’s, masterminds of the last decade.

It could get even the best of us down a bit.

The truth is every employee faces adversity. How well you face it will make the difference in the locker room at the end of the season or boardroom at the end of the fiscal year.

So you’re not a national league, million-dollar athlete with Citizen watch and Toyota car endorsement deals. That’s no reason you can’t act like one. Your payday might not be a huge diamond-encrusted ring you’ll rarely wear in public, but it could be the start on a path to success of a more realistic nature. If only you had a playbook.

Build and Appreciate Team Chemistry

Don’t underestimate your co-workers’ ability to help you get a win. Whether they’ve got your back or not, the defense always lets the cocky quarterback take a few sacks during the season. Always be the first to praise your team when they sincerely deserve it. The better your team works for you, the better your superiors value you and your team-building leadership. That could lead to you getting called up for the big game.

Stay Cool on Fourth and Goal

NFL teams have literally hundreds of plays. A play that looks good at the snap can become ineffective in an instant. When the pressure is on, a calm, cool head prevails. Self-control and flexibility are key. Sometimes kicking it to the other team in hopes of gaining better field position is the best option, but you also have to know when to “go for it.” If you think it’ll be easy, it won’t because it never is. But the rewards could end you up on the shoulders of your teammates or, at the worst, on the wrong end of a Gatorade cooler dousing.

The Best Defense Wins

NFL commentator and former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka touts the defense every chance he gets. Ironic for a Hall of Fame tight end, but his point is simple: the best offense is a good defense. When you have prepared for the unexpected, done your research, and not let yourself be distracted from your goal, it’s hard to lose. That’s what the NY Giants did. I love it when a game plan comes together. But just imagine if you had to do that in a seven-level stadium full of 63,000 yelling fans. Good thing there’s no helmet required.

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