I don't follow professional football that closely but, like most Americans, I watch the Super Bowl every year, and have more than a passing interest in one team. That particular team isn’t the Indianapolis Colts but this Christmas I received a book written by their coach, Tony Dungy, who retired from football just this week. The book is titled "Quiet Strength."
I was excited to read it because I like football, and I thought it would have a lot of good leadership information in it, as well. There certainly was some football, and a lot of leadership philosophy, but it was more about Dungy’s faith. Actually it went beyond that; it showed how his faith shaped and formed his life philosophies, which, in turn, shaped the impact he had on others.
Dungy was someone who reached the pinnacle of a demanding career but he never lost sight of his priorities. Perhaps I found this book particularly meaningful because I read every single page in a room hundreds of miles away from my family. Or perhaps it challenged me more because I could see I hadn't been getting my priorities right.
But mostly it was another validation of how precious life is and how a life well-lived has the capability to change the lives of so many others for the good. It isn't adversity, but rather how we respond to it that is so important.
One of the points that struck me was his mantra, "No excuses, no explanations." All the mistakes, all the frustrations are really irrelevant; do the little things better, and live a principled life and you can change the world.
Dungy walked away from football after this season, not because he was burned out, had lost his passion, or felt he’d accomplished it all. He simply had more important things to do. It's a book I'd highly recommend to all.