You Have to Have a Short Memory

The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl last night. An outcome I was rooting for, as I’m a sucker for underdog stories…featuring the long suffering team (in this case 50 years of long suffering) that finally could. The most interesting part of the Chiefs’ story for me, is how many times in the last several weeks they’ve had to come from behind, sometimes by more than two touchdowns. Last night was no exception. Down by 10 points going in to the 4th quarter, they came back to win by a final score of 31-20. And there was much joy and rejoicing for Kansas City fans, and for folks who follow the NFL.

I was watching ESPN this morning, and saw Mike Greenberg interview the Chiefs’ starting Running Back, Damien Williams. Greenberg asked him, how was it the team came back? What mental change needed to take place for them to start playing as a team and pull out the victory. Williams’ response was “You have to have a short memory. …you can’t let everything bottle you up. …Live in that moment. …Take one play at a time.” Cliche though it may be (and who doesn’t love sports cliches), there was wisdom in what he said. The fact is, life and work can often be discouraging. Things don’t always go your way, and it can be easy to let it get to you. When major, or even minor, trials occur, you can either wallow in it, or you can try to practice resilience.

Case in point, today at work, I had taken notes and made a decision on a particular project, and then sent those notes to my boss. He saw through them right away and came back with a host of questions that I had never thought to ask. I felt embarrassed, and I felt unworthy of my Senior Analyst title. Granted, I’ve been there less than six months. But I do want to do my job right, and I do want to look good in front of my boss and colleagues. There was a time, and still might be, when I could have been crushed by something like this. But in that moment this afternoon, the wisdom of Damien Williams came back to me. “You have to have a short memory. Take one play at a time. Do great on that one play, then do it again. And again.”

So the next time you feel discouraged, remember the wise words of a Super Bowl champion. And keep after it.

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