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A simple theory for dictating outcomes

I find it interesting that sports often imitates life and business.

In one sense, sports is just a game. No matter the level of competition, whether it's a regular season game or a championship face-off, the outcome will not alter the fate of the nation. Having said that, it’s also amazing how the lessons learned in competing can be applied to life and business.

Take, for example, this quote from Kirby Smart, head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs football team. Smart was commenting on Georgia's 54-48 comeback defeat of Oklahoma in a double overtime thriller in the Rose Bowl. As reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smart said: “A lot of outcomes are dictated by how you handle what happens. Not necessarily what happens, but how you handle what happens.”

What happened to Georgia in the first half of the game could have been devastating. They fell behind by as much as 17 points and were playing terribly. It looked like Oklahoma was going to run them out of the stadium.

As Smart was heading into the locker room at halftime, a TV interviewer asked him why the team was playing so badly. It’s not the kids, Smart responded. This is on us, the coaches. In that simple reply, Smart handled what was happening by taking ownership of the team’s performance.

When halftime was over, a different Georgia team emerged from the locker room. The Dawgs battled back and won a hard-fought victory against a very good team in a game that will long be remembered as a college football classic. Smart and the Georgia coaches changed the outcome of the game by how they handled what happened in the first half.

How often do we face similar situations in life and business?

Daily routines and business plans don’t always unfold the way we script them. We have the chance to get them back on track if we can remember Smart’s simple logic. “A lot of outcomes are dictated by how you handle what happens.”

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