Lessons from Champions

On December 29, 2018, Clemson University Head football coach Dabo Swinney learned that his Tigers would meet Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide. This would be the 19th time these teams would meet and Clemson’s 5th chance to beat the tide. This would be no ordinary game for Swinney. He played and coached at Alabama. He was born and raised in Alabama.

Spectators and sportscasters didn’t give Clemson a chance. For the entire season, all you heard was that Alabama’s team was the best team of all time.

Conceivably, this would be discouraging for a coaching staff. Not for Swinney. He knew that the key to success for champions was not just about skill and ability, but coaching. At halftime, Saban notes that Clemson’s success was not about better athletes, but the game-plan constructed to exploit Alabama’s deficits.

The lesson we can learn is that when all factors are even, preparation and strategy make the difference. This principle is applicable to so many areas of life. Considering your qualifications alone as the reason you should be hired can be detrimental. Proper preparation might include studying a company website or scheduling informational interviews with people who work for the company you’re interested in.

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