In the Huddle: Fully Commit to Your Game Plan
By – Fran Tarkenton
When I decide to do something, I fully commit to doing it. If I think that something is worth doing, then it is worth doing right, giving it my full attention and best effort. It might succeed, it might not—but I want to give it the best I have.
As a quarterback, the time to hesitate and wonder whether a play is designed correctly or whether the game plan is right is not as you’re lining up for the first snap—or in the middle of the play.
I worked with our coaches to draw up the game plan each week, and we put together each play. We would discuss and even fight to try to get it right—why this would work, why this wouldn’t, why we should do this and not that. The end result was that by the end of the week, as we were heading out to start the game, I was fully confident in the game plan, and in each play we were going to run, and I was fully committed to what we were doing.
I was known as a scrambler. I had enough sense to know that when a play broke down, I couldn’t just stand there, because I would get killed. But I also didn’t panic and give up on the play. I scrambled to buy time, and always kept my eyes looking downfield waiting for something to open up. And more often than not, something did! I was committed to the play, to our game plan, and I would do whatever I could to help it succeed.
If you give up on plays at the first sign of trouble, or abandon the game plan when things don’t go perfectly, then you’re on the road to mistakes and disaster. Listen to a little sports commentary and you’ll quickly hear talk about “controlling the game”—which often means sticking to your game plan and getting the other team to blink first, abandon their own plan and instead compete on unfavorable terms.
That same approach is important in business. I take a lot of time beforehand to come up with a plan that my team and I are comfortable with, and then we commit to it. If you’re going to go, then go! There’s no room for half-measures. If you only give half effort, then you’re more than likely going to fail, and you still won’t know whether or not it was actually a good idea. Specific plans should be adaptable when circumstances change and to account for what you learn as you experience things, but you should stay committed to the primary goal.
Giving full commitment and effort requires courage. Many times when we only go half-speed or give half-effort, it’s a way of protecting ourselves and our egos. Sure, we’re more likely to fail, but afterwards we can always say, “It’s not that I was wrong; it might have worked if only…” When you fully commit, failure can sting—there are no excuses, no what ifs. But that is an opportunity to learn the truth instead of living in delusion, and then move on to try something better.
Whatever you’re doing, do it. Commit. It’s a lot more fun, and a lot more rewarding, no matter what path you follow.
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