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What the Pittsburgh Steelers Taught Me about Personal Responsibility

Being a Pittsburgh Steelers fan is generally an "up" experience. It is one of the best-run franchises in sports and has won more Super Bowls than any other franchise in the NFL. This year has been a rough one but an educational one as well. On the last day of the regular season, the Steelers needed to win and have 3 other teams lose in order to make the playoffs. They won and two of the three lost. The team that won their final game is now in the playoffs.

As a now crushed Steelers fan, I have 3 main takeaways:

  • Don't put your destiny in someone else's hands. Take care of your business because it is YOUR business. No one is going to fight as hard for your prosperity than you are. If you're waiting for a break, or a hand out or a hook up, you're going to be waiting a long time, you’ll be more disappointed than not and you will rarely get all you deserve. Create your own opportunities and reach a position where you can choose what works instead of taking whatever you can get.

  • Take responsibility when you come up short. It’s not someone else’s fault that you didn’t do what you were supposed to do. The Steelers wouldn’t have been in a situation where they had to win in week 17 if they had not started 0-4 this season. To their credit, the Steelers organization didn’t blame injuries or bad calls on their position, they have taken ownership of the bed they made and have laid down in it as comfortably as possible.

  • Realize that how you start DOES impact how you finish. There’s a lot of theory that points to the conclusion of things as most important. Tell that to a student that spent two years digging an academic hole for himself or herself or a person that maxed out and didn’t pay credit card debt for a few years. The Steelers missed opportunities to beat teams with losing records in close games and that hurt them toward the end of their season. Opportunities are time sensitive. When we miss them, they are gone and we have to work doubly as hard to make up for the loss. Napoleon is credited with saying, “Space we can recover, time never”. Remember that.

Like any true fan I’d rather have my team in the playoffs than have time to ruminate on any of the above, but hopefully these lessons are relevant to more than just Steelers fans and after all, there is always next year.

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