Attitude / Collaboration / Community / Decision Making / Empowerment / Inspirational / Integrity / Leadership / Positivity / Strategy

How #MarchMadness Teaches us All to Be #Resilient

My wife is from Syracuse. That means only one thing around the first days of Spring: Madness. March Madn ess.

I never was much for basketball. Baseball was the dominant pastime in my hometown in St. Louis. Spring training was the first indicator that the human race had survived the winter and there was hope for one more year of life.

But yesterday, watching the Big East Tournament, we witnessed Louisville defeat Syracuse in a stunning comeback. After trailing by 16 points, the Cardinals demonstrated the tenacity and perseverance to gain the lead and ultimately win by 17. A staggering turnaround timed for the exact moment of victory.

I've come to really enjoy Syracuse basketball. It is fun to see my wife jump, scream and thrill to the game. Brings a smile to my face when she discovers another Orange fan out when we are shopping or dining. They really are a loyal group of dribble fans. It was sad to see the loss from Madison Square Garden, but what a game it was.

The Louisville players were positively resilient.

What can we learn from this game?

  1. Keep the faith. They never stopped believing they could win. Damn, that is the single most important element in life. Looking beyond the setbacks, stumbles and errors. There is still time on the clock.
  2. Collaboration. Teamwork. When the Cardinals galvanized their game in the second half you could actually feel the coordination and command they had over the game. Over themselves as individuals. They become incredibly fluid and working as an organic whole. Suddenly the defense was working and Syracuse's shooting stopped cold. Once the momentum shifted, the juice in the Orange went sour.
  3. Energy. It would have been very easy to surrender in the first half. Syracuse looked formidable and supreme in the first ten minutes of the game, stopping Louisville's offense and bulldogging past their defense. But Louisville did not burn up all their fuel, their power or their drive. They always kept some in reserve for that momentum shift back to their hands.
  4. Planning and Plan B. The first half was dismal for the Cards. The Orange controlled both the offense and the defense thwarting Louisville's original game strategy. After the half, Louisville came out and slowed their shooting down dramatically. Syracuse had quickened the pace of the game causing Louisville to rush their shots. Slowing the shooting down increased the percentage of shots on target. The Plan B worked extremely well. Louisville kept their options open, adjusted their tactical approach and executed the new plan to perfection.
  5. Bouyancy. Each Louisville player maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity. They weathered the rough first half by maintaining their bouyancy — surfacing after being pulled under the rough water — and doing so with eagerness and smiles. It is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog.

How many of us would use the word 'resilient' in a job interview or performance appraisal?


As an executive life coach, I am always looking for ways for clients to gain resiliency and improve their capacity for tenacity and perseverance. The challenges ahead will be many and those who can bounce well with have more opportunities and more satisfaction — both on the job and in the home.