I loved watching the Super Bowl last night and I, like everyone else in America, was expecting the Seahawks to hand the ball off and run it in from 1-yard out to seal a victory. With a timeout, with one of the best and hardest running running backs in the league, with the best running quarterback in the league, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Seahawks ran the ball in and scored the winning touchdown. But, that play call, that throw, that interception ... that mistake!
Who am I to second guess a coach with a couple of National Championships and a Super Bowl ring under his belt? But, it's sure fun to do. "Carroll should have called this!" "Wilson should have done that!" "Lockett was supposed to do this!" While it's easy to place blame with the "shoulda, coulda, woulda" talk, the reality is I was the one sitting on the couch and those guys were out on the field. In other words, the doers are usually the ones who make the mistakes.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, "Fouls, errors, and mistakes are part of the competitive process in sports, business, and elsewhere. Don’t live in fear of making a mistake ... No one can win every time he gets on the court or enters the marketplace with a new product or service. Mistakes, even failure, can be permissible so long as they do not result from carelessness or poor preparation. Losing can provide learning, thus preventing future errors."
In that game-time situation, there is a right call and there is a wrong call ... and we usually decide which is right or wrong based on the outcome. Pass/Interception = Wrong Call/Mistake. Pass/TD = Bold Call/Courage. Either of those outcomes was legitimately a possibility. But, it's often our fear of the outcome (the dreaded "what if") that keeps us hesitant, passive, and paralyzed. What if this happens? What if that happens? Jon Acuff wrote, "The reality is that since the dawn of time there hasn’t been a single situation fear thought would work. If you ask fear if something is going to work, the answer will always be no." If the Seahawks were afraid to run the ball, that's one thing. But, if they legitimately thought the pass play would work, had the guts to call it, had the people to execute it, run it to the best of their ability but on that day the breaks just didn't go their way ... I can respect that. Take in the information, make a decision, and then go for it.
There's a great line from the movie Battle Los Angeles where Sergeant Nantz says to his commanding officer: “Your men are awaiting orders. Now, you can go right, you can go left. I don’t give a damn. Just make a decision!”
If I'm not doing anything, I really never have to worry about making a mistake. I can live a nice, safe, organized life without the fear of ever failing ... without the nervousness of uncertainty ... without steps in to the unknown. From that position, though, I also never have to worry about getting anything done.
Getting things done means making a decision and, at times, means making a mistake. It's not deliberate. It's not intentional. It's a mistake. It hurts. You learn from it. You grow from it. But, at least you're out there on the field "playing the game."