Welcome to the NFL, Robert Griffin III – what can you teach us?

It takes a lot for someone to admit this publicly given the pain and suffering we have endured for years….but I am a diehard, go hard or go home Redskins fan. I know every single word to Hail to the Redskins….yes, there is more to the song than “Hail to the Redskins, Hail Victory!”. I am quiet on offense, and am straining every inch of my vocal chords on defense. My teeth clench and my left eye twitches just a bit when I see that blue star. So naturally, I have been eagerly anticipating this day….the day we get to see Robert Griffin III suit up and face a real, live, NFL defense.

Being a Redskins fan, I have learned not to get my hopes up, so this post isn’t about how great this player is going to be…he hasn’t proven a thing yet, and we all need to keep that in perspective. However, he has shown a tremendous ability to lead, inspiring fans and his teammates with his poise and preparation.

As a professional who aspires to get the most out of myself, my colleagues, and my clients every day, I am really enjoying studying how “BobGriff” leads his team, but also how he interacts with the media, taking note of some really thoughtful and inspiring statements. Let’s take a look:

Q: “Are you going to be nervous leading up to your first game?”

Griffin: “I think I’ll be more anxious than nervous. When you’re anxious, you can’t wait to go succeed

I thought back to some of my more “anxious” moments in my career, comparing that feeling to being nervous. Nerves are a blessing – your body telling you that something isn’t right…most likely you are not prepared, you’re missing something. We’ve all been in a situation where we were unprepared…it feels horrible. Conversely, remember that feeling you get when you have prepared for something so thoroughly that you are just ready to hit it head on and will run over anything in your way? The difference between being nervous…and being anxious.

Q: Are you worried about your offensive line blocking for you with so many starters hurt?

Griffin: If you think you have a banged up offensive line or a bad offensive line then as a Quarterback, you’ll play scared. One thing I don’t want those guys to think is that I don’t trust them — I definitely trust my offensive line, whoever is out there with us.

We all know it – confidence is key. Not just YOUR confidence, but that of your teammates. Griffin takes this opportunity to make a public statement that he trusts each and every guy on the field with him…whether they are a starter, a pro bowl player, or a rookie, they are in it together. He could have said “no, next man up will do the job, we miss those guys but we’ll be OK” but frankly that’s not good enough. He needs whoever is out there to perform their absolute best, he is setting the expectation that they will, and he is making them feel comfortable and confident in their own abilities to succeed. What a great reminder of the importance of inspiring confidence in each other as individuals and as a team.

Q: Are you worried about any routes you aren’t comfortable with?

A: “There are always those routes as a quarterback that you have. There are routes that I feel good with and there’s routes I don’t feel good about. It’s just my job to echo that to Coach and to continue working on the ones I don’t feel so good about, so that when it comes down to it we can pull anything out of our bag of tricks and go for it.” 

We tend to forget this, especially when things are going well, but this is a great reminder about being honest with yourself regarding your gaps and where you can improve, as well as surrounding yourself with people you trust to help you continue growing as a person, as a friend, a teammate, a father, a brother, etc. The anatomy of a Salesperson consists of many unique qualities, one of them being an immense fear/discomfort with regards to those who you are close with (clients, management, etc) being disappointed in you. As anyone who has sat on a sales forecast call knows, a great leader often tests their people on their willingness to find gaps in their approach, and their natural ability to know when it’s time to ask for advice from others on how to improve. The only thing more inspiring than a confident person is when that confident person asks for help, gets it, and reaps the rewards.

Enough RG3 love for the day…well, until kickoff that is. Stay healthy Griff, good luck, we’re rooting for you!!

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