Lessons learned while watching Wambach

posted in: life lessons, persistence, teamwork | 0

I just finished watching the USA women move into the semi-finals of the World Cup soccer tournament. In case you missed it, the United States team was behind until Abby Wambach scored a goal just before the game ended.

Earlier, it seemed like everything was going against the team, including several questionable calls. But the U.S. players ended up winning on penalty kicks when goalie Hope Solo made a great save and Ali Krieger made the winning kick.

I took away a few lessons from the game. I learned similar lessons from Landon Donavan last year.

The first is, as Jim Valvano often said, “Never, give up!” ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle says the game was a triumph of self-belief over skill.

The U.S. players kept playing even when it seemed like they were surely going to lose. Abby Wambach’s header into the goal came in time that was added to the end of the game because injuries earlier.

The second lesson is that sometimes you need to keep trying even if you fail the first few times.

U.S. player Megan Rapinoe had made a number of passes that had not found their mark, but her pass to Wambach was a thing of beauty. Rapinoe kicked it to the absolutely best spot for Wambach to score.

The third lesson was something I almost missed, have confidence.

I watched the replay about 10 times. On about the third, I noticed that Wambach raised her hand just before Rapinoe kicked the ball toward her.

Wambach wanted the ball to come to her, even though several players from Brazil were around. She wanted it, she got it and she tied the game because of it.

The next time you face an obstacle in your business or in life, have confidence, keep trying and never give up.