I was watching the BCS National Championship game last night and right at the beginning of the game a personal development workshop broke out.  It was amazing.  I’m sure there were many more lessons but here’s what I learned while watching this spectacle:

1)  Get started early – If you watched the Alabama team last night you know they wasted no time in getting started having scored a touchdown on their first drive.  Many teams start out conservatively on their first drive, attempting to merely feel out the other team.  Not Alabama.  They started fast and finished fast, airing the ball out every chance they got and not sitting around waiting to see what was going to happen.  Instead, they got out and made things happen.

If you’re sitting around cautiously waiting to see what’s going to happen before you take action, that might explain why nothing is happening.  It’s up to you to make it happen and the best time to do that is almost always NOW!

2)  Notre Dame was not their competition – Most people probably assumed that Notre Dame was Alabama’s competition last night but if you paid close attention to what the announcers were talking about, they actually had the right answer for a change.  Alabama has a long and storied football tradition.  I won’t go into detail about it here other than to say that as the announcers aptly pointed out, this team was competing with itself to be the best team Alabama has every produced.  Having won three national championships in the past four years this Alabama team is now flirting with a place in college football history as an undisputed dynasty.

Not to take anything away from Notre Dame but in the eyes of Alabama players they were merely an obstacle to their ultimate goal of getting better every day at achieving the goal of being the best Alabama football team ever assembled.  Notre Dame probably prepared themselves to be the best team on the field that night but Alabama prepared themselves to be the best Alabama team ever!

Be in competition with yourself to be the best you can be at who you are and what you do and you’ll never have to worry about competition.

3)  Fans play a role – It’s nice to have fans to inspire you to do your best and Alabama had plenty of them.  The crowd was incredibly loud and supportive of Alabama.   I’m sure like most teams that when Alabama was not doing so well they had their detractors too, which is why it’s important to know who is really in your corner through tough and easy going times.

It’s important for you to have fans in your success goals too, which is why it’s important to be selective about who you choose to associate with. Many of the people around you who claim to be fans are actually rooting against you subconsciously or intentionally.  You must recognize this and keep yourself around the people who are sincerely seeking to help you recharge your batteries.

4)  You must be a player in and not a fan of your own success – While having fans in your success is wonderful you cannot afford to be one of them.  Your job is to be a player.  Fans can motivate you, inspire you, support you, and propel you emotionally but they can’t play the game for you.  That’s up to you.  It’s you who must put on the uniform, get down on the field and take the snaps, make the mistakes and get better with every new set of downs.  You cannot delegate your success to others.

Can you imagine what the result would have been last night if Alabama had left the field and joined their fans in the stands instead of getting it done on the field?

5)  Focus and follow through – With less than 7 minutes left in the game another teaching moment occurred when the quarterback and center for Alabama were out of synch on the snap account.  When it became necessary to take a delay of game penalty as a result of that the quarterback was livid and challenged the center about it.  This, while the team was up 3 touchdowns and still working towards getting better.

What I learned there is that you cannot afford to relax just because you are ahead.  Being successful doesn’t allow you to take too much time to admire your handy work.  You must focus and play the game all the way through and then reset your goal and start over.

I hope last night’s game gave you much relaxation and entertainment but I hope these life lessons didn’t pass you by.  Be sure to pay attention to everything that’s happening around you.  A football game isn’t always what it appears to be.