There's something else I want to say here about motivation and inspiration...I grow weary of people telling people that they can't do this or that; they don't have a chance. These obstacles are against them or this system won't let you do that. "What do you mean, wanting to be a doctor? What do you mean? Who do you think you're kidding?" It's so easy to beat people down.After that hearing Limbaugh's observation, I thought about the Indianapolis Colts' run defense. It was terrible all year. How did it suddenly get better in the playoffs? Somewhere and somehow, those defensive players found something within themselves that they didn't exhibit all season long--and it propelled them into the Super Bowl.
As a result, everybody needs to be inspired. There are really very, very few self-starters -- and even among the self-starters, they need people, occasionally, to remind them they have more inside them than what they think they do.
A small illustration of this can be found yesterday in the game between the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans -- ah, sorry, the United States -- Saints. The Saints were having a tough time of it.
They turned over the ball a number of times, and then had a miracle play, 88-yard pass reception to Reggie Bush, the longest pass play in NFC playoffs history. Reggie Bush outran virtually every Chicago bear defender who chased him. Before he got to the end zone, he turned around and taunted and pointed at Brian Urlacher, #54, the star middle linebacker of the Bears and then took a somersault dive into the end zone for the touchdown...
The Bears said, after that happened, they were fired up. That made 'em mad. They weren't going to be dissed like that! They weren't going to be! That was just childish, and it was rookie inexperience, but they were not going to be treated like that in their own stadium.
Now, the point of this is, here you are in the NFC Championship Game. Theoretically you shouldn't need any more motivation than winning that game and going to the Super Bowl -- and this is not a criticism of anything or anybody, by the way...don't misunderstand -- and yet I'm sure the Bears to a man thought they were giving it everything they had.
I'll bet you that they were as stoked as they could be. This is a big deal, the first time since 1985, everything on the line here. It was a home game, in the snow, typical football weather for January. These guys are revved up. They're coming off a big win the week before. Yet, something as innocuous as Reggie Bush turning around and taunting Brian Urlacher before he scored got even more out of them than was already there!
Now, you can imagine the kind of motivation they had. You can imagine the kind of energy and inspiration these guys had to go out and win this game for the Super Bowl. They're professionals. They are paid, and yet the Bears that commented on this said, "That fired us up." Well, what were they before?
Well, they were certainly fired up. You know they had to be fired up. Besides, they had heard all week about how the vaunted Saints offense couldn't be stopped, the running game of Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush -- and the Bears have the (statically, anyway) greatest defense in the NFC this year. They said, "What is this? The Saints gonna come here, run all over us?" So they were they stoked; they were fired up -- and yet there was still more in them, even though they were professionals and were probably as stoked as they thought they could get...
The point here is no matter whether you think you're giving it your all, there's probably more in you than you are aware. Even when you think you're giving it your best, the odds are there's a reservoir there, somewhere inside you that has just a little more.
I thought that was a fascinating moment yesterday because here you have a team that couldn't possibly be more motivated in their minds than they already were: the Super Bowl on the other side of three hours of football, and yet that one incident revved 'em up even more.
So the next time you think you're giving it your all; the next time you think you've got nothing left, just know that you do. It just takes a certain spark to get it out, and we're all this way. It's human nature.
It goes back to my often stated theory: Most people have no idea what's inside them, how good they can be, how much fortitude they have, because, frankly, not enough people have had high enough expectations of us through most of our lives.
Maybe former Dallas Cowboys head coach and Super Bowl winner Tom Landry knows the secret of how to get more out of people:
Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.