Alabama football coach, Nick Saban has been called a perfectionist.

In an interview with 60 Minutes on CBS, “Saban preached to his players. Don’t worry about winning, just focus on doing your job at the highest level, every single play, and the wins will follow.”

I watch the interview with fascination because as a marketer I am curious to read between the lines of Saban’s brand success. I find it in the aforementioned quote. Saban is not focusing on the win, but rather a solid mission statement that is irrefutable. Alabama football knows who they are and what they are about. The winning part is obvious in any sport. It is not the shelf value of the brand.

Some time after that television interview, my son and nephew and I sit at the kitchen table. The conversation flows easily as we chat about the day. The topic switches to my son’s evening lacrosse game.

“Why aren’t you playing like you usually do?” I ask.

“I want to be selfless,” my son responds.

“Why would you want to be anyone, but yourself?” my nephew asks. “There are guys who would do anything to be able to do what you do.”

My nephew rises from his chair, walks towards the door and turns around.

“Be Yourself,” he says. “I want you to call me later and tell me that you scored 6 goals.”

This obvious lacrosse conversation is really about life.

Every single one of us bring something to the table whether it be in our personal or professional lives. We bring forward our authentic selves with the hope that together we achieve great things in our lifetime.

So wherein lies the balance of selflessness and selfishness?

There is no need to explain ‘selfishness’ it’s counterintuitive to a prosperous life.

Interestingly, ‘selflessness’ appears a positive contribution to the game of life.

Yet, if it is extreme and not balanced then it can actually hinder, not help. An individual can lose what is their ‘personal best.’ Soon others will overcompensate and the selfless individual will throw the game off.

In life when we play our ‘personal best’ we contribute in a way that only we can. We are in the moment. We are not in the past nor are we in the future. We are in the present.

My son came home that evening having scored those six goals. His look of preoccupation gone and his sense of self once again shining brightly through. I spotted a restored balance that was missing while he was trying so hard to be something for others that he lost something of himself.

I certainly identify with that as I lost much of myself giving to another.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban may be labeled a ‘perfectionist.’ I believe he’s compelling his athletes not towards perfection, but rather their ‘perfect’ selves. Why would we want to show the world anything else?
(CBS News 60 Minutes Interview)
(Image from sport
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