When you’re an athlete, a scoreboard is an important part of the game. Scoreboards come in all shapes, sizes and types. When you think about a scoreboard you may envision an extravagant display like the Dallas Cowboys’ screen that stretches from one 20-yard line to the other or a simple sign at one end of a high school field. The basic function is the same. A scoreboard lets you know how you’re doing. Recent time spent with a group of exceptional leaders who have excelled in sports and life helped me recognize that the absence of a scoreboard can present significant challenges. In fact, this can be especially true for a professional athlete transitioning into the next phase of life. There are four reasons why it’s important to have a scoreboard. Each of the reasons is symbolized by a feature on a scoreboard.
What will you do with the life you have been given?
The clock is a reminder that time management will always be a critical factor in life. The clock occupies a prominent space on any scoreboard. And it should. Although, the score determines winners and losers, the clock brings a sense of urgency and perspective on the score. Until the final tick of the clock, the meaning of the score is tempered by the amount of time remaining. Thanks to Yogi Berra, we know “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
You need a scoreboard for life with a “clock” that will help ignite your passion and regulate your pace. You need some type of reminder that your greatest challenges will always correlate to how you manage your time. In fact, there are few measures of leadership more important than how you steward the 1,440 minutes in each day. Although you do not know exactly how much time you have left, you can live with a sense of urgency that inspires you to make the most of every day. The clock on your scoreboard holds you accountable for establishing priorities and evaluating commitments.
“If you’re not guided by a clear sense of purpose, you’re likely to fritter away your time and energy on obtaining the most tangible, short-term signs of achievement, not what’s really important to you.” — Clayton Christensen, How Will You Measure Your Life?
Down and Distance.
Do you know who you are, where you are and where you are going?
You need to know where you are. A glance at the scoreboard can help provide an accurate assessment of your current reality. If you know it’s second down with seven yards to go and the ball is on the forty-four, then you can make decisions based upon your understanding of the situation. The measures for down and distance have a personal leadership equivalent. It’s called awareness.
Accurate awareness is not automatic. The best leaders devote time and energy into discovering their true identity. They assess the present and create a positive trajectory for their lives. Leaders are agents of change with an orientation toward a better tomorrow. They will engage with others in order to stretch toward incremental goals that create positive momentum. When you cultivate self-awareness and social-awareness you will gain an accurate sense of your personal strengths as well as the gifts and talents of those around you. Together you will be able to seize opportunities and maximize impact. Without accurate information you will not be able to make the best decisions.
How many of your critical goals have you achieved this year?
Obviously, a scoreboard declares the score. The score reveals the numerical rewards for achieving goals. Whether the ball is kicked through the goal post or carried into the end zone, the scoreboard will reflect success. In order to keep score, you must determine which goals you will measure and how those goals will be measured.
In life as in football, there will always be meaningful accomplishments that are not easily reflected on the scoreboard. However, there will also be certain goals in your life that are critical. Critical goals rise to a higher level because they are carefully aligned with your purpose in life. These are the goals that move you toward greater influence and impact. These are the achievements in your life that illicit heartfelt celebration. Critical goals emerge when you evaluate the personal and professional “wins” that align with your most deeply held beliefs and values. These are the goals that deserve your focus, investment and measurement.
How often do you get away from the noise and refine your focus?
Each team is provided with a limited number of timeouts. A glance at the scoreboard provides an indicator of how many timeouts are left (TOL). Wise coaches and savvy players recognize that effective utilization of timeouts can be one of the most strategic determinants of victory or defeat. Do you know when to call a timeout? A timeout can provide a number of benefits. A timeout is a break from the action. It’s a respite from the physical demands on the field. It’s an opportunity to step off the field, away from the fray and evaluate the past and design for the future. It can provide impact moments for coaching, direction and collaboration. Communication during a timeout brings clarity to assignments and expectations.
Often, you will get caught up in the busyness of life, the demands of work and the internal pressure to succeed and forget to call timeout. When your focus suffers, accountability begins to slip. That’s a telltale sign you need to set aside time to evaluate, think and reflect. It seems counterintuitive. But, it’s necessary. Those are the best times to check the scoreboard and determine whether you are living on purpose, executing your life plan and pursuing the goals that move your toward your vision. Schedule time to be away from the noise and rekindle your passion for what is most important.
Visit InitiativeOne to learn more about Leadership Transformation and begin construction of your scoreboard for life.
Transformation in Sports Leadership is the definitive deep-dive immersion into the best possible version of yourself. The intensely structured life of an elite athlete does not necessarily prepare you for the transition to a life beyond athletics. InitiativeOne Transformation for Sports Leadership will help demystify the uncertainty of transition and provide a clear path toward a life of meaning and purpose.