WORKFORCE TRENDS

What Ted Lasso Taught Me About Life

by Jason Mathews on October 1, 2021 in Outside Insights

 

I am not sure how you’re choosing to distract yourself these days – lately the world seems to be oh so serious all of the time.

If you listen to or read Outside Insights content, you’re familiar with my journey and my recipe for living your best life. I read, meditate, do yoga, work out and (occasionally) watch what I eat. I also watch T.V., hey, we all have our vices.

In a household where watching T.V. together is almost impossible, my wife Kim and I agree on one show: Ted Lasso.

Have you heard of Ted Lasso? This Emmy winning series is a sports comedy-drama based around an American college football coach who is hired to coach an English soccer team in the Premier League. That’s right, an American football coach trying to convince a very knowledgeable English fan base he can coach even though he knows little about the sport.

I am not Ted, but I do identify with him in many ways. I was a high school football player, and although often injured, was not too awful of a Defensive End. I went on to coach soccer for 15 years from socceroos, to travel, junior varsity and eventually head coach of the high school team.

I’m not trying to convince you to watch the show, though I highly recommend you give it a shot. I do, however, want to share lessons I think we can all glean from Ted. These are lessons I already work on and believe are relevant for all of us to get to where we want to go in life.

What We Can Learn from Ted

Ted is a leader. He makes connections and builds relationships with his team, his boss, and quite frankly, everyone from ticket takers to security guards. He works at it. He makes emotional connections. And he never just goes through the motions.

Ted models the way. This is what role models and leaders do. He doesn’t expect out of others what he isn’t already doing himself. He’s vulnerable and gives his team the courage to be vulnerable too.

Ted approaches life with a positive lens. He always sees the good in others and in situations. One of my soccer team’s values was “nothing negative said, nothing negative received”. We all have a choice to be complicit in an insult or harsh tone and we can always take the high road.

Ted has a clear understanding of his personal core values and his leadership philosophy. A lot of leaders and coaches that are very successful don’t know what they stand for. We all burn a lot of time and energy chasing ideas and work that does not fit who we are. Time that would be better spent if we had a guiding compass. Do you have a set of personal core values? You can learn how to define and map them out here.

Ted overcomes unique challenges. Not many of us will find ourselves overseas coaching a sport we have little experience in. That said, I think we can all identify with imposter syndrome, feeling like a fish out of water and the feeling of barely keeping your head above water all at once.

To be successful in navigating these challenges, Ted didn’t need years of experience or an impressive resume. Yes, that would’ve helped. But because of his characteristics I outlined above, he can take any challenge, learn, make effective decisions, and lead a team.

I’ve tried a lot of things in my life and have many more goals yet to tackle. I feel well equipped to handle whatever comes my way – whether it’s running Placers, coaching a team, starting a non-profit, or writing a book, because of the practices and behaviors that I’ve learned through the years.

Leaders know who they are, they’re clear on their leadership philosophy, they’re good human beings.

That’s how I see Ted Lasso, and how I choose to live each day.

Do you have a guiding principle that has helped you navigate challenges and achieve goals, no matter what they were? Reply and let me know.

Until next time, friends.

Chris


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