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What you could achieve when you are aligned and accountable.
Football season is well underway. Across America, people are cheering for their favorite teams, experiencing their victories and defeats with great emotion and pride. I have never been a football fan, but I recently had the opportunity to participate in a conference, where Brian Dawkins, former safety for the Philadelphia Eagles was one of the keynote speakers. I was not prepared to be impressed with the man whose introduction was a video showing the aggression with which he tackled men twice his size,–but when the man walked on stage and began to talk, I was captivated. I grabbed my pen and started scribbling.
Brian Dawkins embodied in his presence and his speech how sustainable leadership mindsets could shape success: he demonstrated how these mindsets could be so powerful in accelerating performance, both on the field and off of it. He spoke candidly about the ways that accountability and alignment have helped carry him gracefully into life after football. Dawkins was not afraid to about the healthy dose of fear that permeated his pre-game preparations; he described how he would look around the locker room and fear letting his team-mates down. His fear was mitigated by two things: trust that his team mates were prepared their best efforts to the field and knowledge that he had put everything into being prepared and disciplined for that game. His accountability to himself and his teammates contributed significantly to their success on the field. "You have to be accountable to yourself, your heart, and your team" Dawkins explained, helping us understand how his accountability made such an impact because it was so well aligned with his own personal vision and belief.
It is easy to imagine the level of intensity Brian Dawkins brought to his game, just as it is easy to idolize and revere the performance of so many great athletes around the world. Their ability to optimize their strengths and perform at the highest level is one of the reasons we are so drawn to professional sports. But what more could we learn from them? What struck me most about Brian Dawkins was that he was so very human. His approach to life, to success and to performance was one that you or I could adopt just as easily. You don't have to be a pro football player to ask yourself "what is stopping me from accountability to myself, my heart and my team?" You just might surprise yourself with what you could achieve when you are aligned and accountable.
Written by Shey Yearsley reprinted with permission.