It’s no secret that the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers the other night in the Super Bowl. Especially crushed was the quarterback, Cam Newton, who showed his true feelings and emotions at the press conference following the game.
Cam has been lambasted in the media for appearing sullen, having one-word answers, and subsequently, walking out during the conference. Apparently, he didn’t get the memo that as a top sport star, he is also required to be on his very best behavior— especially in front of millions of people.
The problem was simply his reaction to CHANGE. He didn’t expect to lose. He wasn’t prepared to lose. I doubt any true athlete is prepared to lose or they would never win.
So let’s review the facts: Cam Newton was the only player in recent times to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, win a national championship and become a first overall pick in the NFL within a one-year span. In 2011, he was the NFL rookie of the year, a 3 time pro bowler and named to the All Pro First Team. In his rookie year, he broke numerous records and in 2015, the Panthers only lost 1 game in the 15 weeks that they played.
Suffice it to say, Cam Newton didn’t get much experience learning how to lose. Winning in life is what he knew, and the more he won, the more he expected to win. That’s a good thing and that’s how teams become winning franchises. The Super Bowl is what every player has worked for all year. The snag is that he just assumed this would turn out the way he anticipated.
Now, I imagine that your emotions run high during a game. I suppose the adrenaline runs out of control leading up to the big game. Some of that emotion drives you to succeed while an overdose can take you out of control. And then, the end of the game comes and you have won or lost. In this case, his team lost and he’s required to go right from running on overdrive to 0 in a few minutes.
He’s expected to accept the fact, graciously I might add, that he has lost something he has worked for his whole entire life.
Becoming resilient in life and riding the waves is often a learned skill. You become adept at accepting change, moving on from experiencing major let downs and disappointments and finally, realizing that life goes on. You learn this at work when you lose that promotion that you thought you had in the bag. You learn this when you start a business and you fail miserably. You learn this when you think your boss is going to tell you how lucky they are to have you as an employee, but instead, they tell you that you‘re fired. You control your emotions in these situations the best you can, but no one would fault you for not being able to be gracious while you’re being kicked.
No one makes it through a career without getting hit with some bad luck here or there. The important thing to remember is that people are not robots— they are complicated human beings with feelings and emotions. You don’t always do the right thing. Sometimes it’s hard to keep it together and control your emotions. Sometimes you make mistakes. Sometimes you don’t want to accept the CHANGE that life has thrown at you and you can’t take control in 15 minutes, or for that matter, in 15 days. Often, it’s a process and takes a while to think things through and make sense of the situation.
So give yourself and others a break when going through CHANGE and failure, whether it takes place in the workplace or on a world stage. In time, we all will learn to accept and understand this unexpected turn of events, becoming more resilient.