The Happiness of Pursuit Podcast – Episode #74
The Underdog’s Secret To Winning…
One simple word: Momentum
Regardless if you’re a fan of sports or not, what happened in Super Bowl 51 was one of the greatest comebacks in history…(well except for when the New York Giants came back to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl 48, but I’m a giants fan!)
Halfway through the third quarter of Super Bowl 51, my wife said to me “This game seems pretty boring…” Without even knowing it, my reply would have nearly predicted the future, “It’s Tom Brady, all you have to do is watch the 4th quarter…”
What Tom Brady accomplished in the 4th quarter was impossible by almost any stretch of the imagination.
So was it Brady’s #GOAT (greatest of all time) ability that helped them win? Yes, but it wasn’t the only reason…like many of the historic comebacks in sports, and business, it came down to one simple scientific fact: momentum.
Momentum is the single biggest force, and when you learn how to turn it back in your favor, no matter the odds, you can, and more often than not, will win.
So the question is, how do you get momentum on your side?
First, we need to understand what momentum is and how it is created.
Momentum is the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.
What’s more important is how momentum is created, and that is through what is called a “Moment of Inertia” – that single event of force to cause a body at rest to begin to move.
To pick up momentum, you can do one of two things, increase the speed (velocity) or the mass.
The reason that the Patriots won Super Bowl 51 was because they took over the momentum. In almost every single comeback story in sports there is a “turning point”, that moment in time, that single event, where “the tide shifted” – that right there was the moment of inertia the team needed to swing momentum in their favor.
Sure, luck might play a part in it, but the real difference in many of the comeback stories you read about for a lifetime, comes down to three crucial things: preparedness, leadership, and community.
There’s a reason that top athletes practice so hard. It’s preparation for that one opportunity, the “full count, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth,” type of moment. Michael Jordon was notorious for his work ethic, and with 6x NBA Championships, it’s hard to say that it just came down to “luck”. Look at every level of sports and take the top performers, especially the “winners” and you will see a constant effort to be prepared to seize the moment, and push momentum into their favor.
In every great comeback story, you can almost pinpoint the speech, the moment when the Captain or Coach rallies the team. It’s rarely about motivation. Everybody on the bench ‘wants to win’, but few believe ‘they can win’. In Michael Strahan’s book, he shares the story about how in the second half of Super Bowl 48, he walked down the sidelines and started telling his teammates we are going to win. To some, he even told them the score. As scary as it sounds, he was right – down to the final number. It was that firm belief in what was possible, and having put in the work to be prepared for this moment that allowed the rest of the team to rally around those words and again, change the momentum and win!
Finally, the last piece to changing momentum and mounting a comeback comes down to the people around you. As that leader begins to share the belief that they can win, it inspires those around them. From there, they begin to spread the word even further, and before you know it the entire sideline, bench, dugout, and even the crowd begin to believe. It is that fundamental belief in what is possible that makes a comeback not only possible but probable. This groundswell of support will strike fear in your competition and tip the final scale of momentum in your favor. In almost every sport, that’s why the crowd (the 12th man in Football) is so important – they believe!
What does momentum mean for you and your business?
Whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t. You are right.
Momentum can work for and against you. How you want to use it is up to you. If you need to turn the tide, it’s going to take hard work, patience, and great leadership. Belief in your company, and in yourself, that anything is possible. Finally, it comes down to your team and your community, to rally behind that shared belief that you can conquer the world.
The choice is yours: either you can turn momentum in your favor and unlock a world of greatness, or you can allow it work against you. You own the future!