Thoughts of disciplined leadership often ignite memories of the infamous legend of Alexander the Great and the “Siege of the Sogdian Rock.” The story goes that Alexander’s out numbered army intimidated Oxyartes of Bactria into surrendering by obeying their commander’s order to march, even when it meant marching over a cliff. Surely their discipline was key to their winning.
But could losing require more discipline than winning?
Last night, two rival college teams–both loaded with talent and a will to win–competed in the most anticipated game of the season. One college took an early lead, and was putting 2 points to the other team’s 1. At the half, the score read 37 to 15. It was over.
Or was it? Shockingly, the trailing team came out strong and fought hard. The score came within 20, and then within 10. As fans lost their voices screaming on both sides, both teams began to realize that this was anyone’s game. Although the underdog never took the lead, they played with heart and intensity, down to the last second.
How did this team stay disciplined against the odds?
They won the mental battle
Missed shots and low scores did not shake them. They took every shot as if it were the game’s first. Discipline chooses not to believe that the situation is hopeless.
They did not assign blame.
I have no idea what was said in that locker room, but not once did the fans see teammates get angry at each other. Healthy teams attack problems and encourage people.
They played their game.
While some teams are all about watching what the other team is doing, others just play their game. You cannot let competitors dictate your life. Know what you do best and do it.
They never gave up.
Not one person in the crowd tonight could accuse the lagging team of “checking out.” If you are sure your goal and your method of attack is right, resign yourself to relentless pursuit.
While it requires discipline to be a great team, successes solidify training. Keeping things under control in the face of failure requires another measure of commitment. It was a great game, and I am proud of both teams. I am also thankful I could learn discipline from both of them.