The fate of the 2022 World Cup games was hanging by the thread. With Covid restrictions imposed by most countries, the game was in jeopardy of never happening this year.
Thankfully after 2 years of lockdown, nations were gradually loosening border control and air travel restrictions were lifted in early 2022. The world was now on the move again. This augurs well for the game and in Hollywood speak, the show will go on. And what a show it was, especially the finale between the 2 World Cup winners, both vying for their third championship win. A sensational cliffhanger battle that might never repeat itself again at this level.
On a whole, the exhilarating tournament gave us several significant takeaways about success that we can use in our lives and businesses.
#1 Past success is not a guarantee of future success
The World Cup started in 1930 and is played every 4 years. Through the years, many champions have emerged. As countries repeatedly won the cup, they earned a favorite status. Brazil, Italy, and Germany who have won the World Cup more than others, soon became favorites to win the championship in each new tournament they make an appearance.
However, life has a different view of things and the journey to the finals is an eventful one. If you have dutifully followed the World Cup matches, you would have probably seen your fair share of Goliaths brought down by the Davids in the games. Hot favorites that lucked out and suffered defeat at lesser-known rivals.
Thus while prior results could be a harbinger of potential success, they may not always be accurate. So do not be quick to use past performances as the sole gauge of future success in selecting winners. Things change all the time. So do the variables affecting success.
#2 Be ready to play anywhere
The venue of the World Cup changes every four years. In the last World Cup, the tournament was held in the cooler weather of Russia. This time round, the players had to play in the hotter, drier climate of Qatar. Players have to condition themselves to the environment in which they are going to compete.
As an entrepreneur, we must likewise have the mindset to be ready to take on any challenges our operating environment throws at us. It may be evolving regulations, dynamic competition, new innovations, etc. They can thwart our plans individually or collectively. We must be mentally ready to deal with them to succeed in our endeavors.
#3 It isn’t over till it is over
In several matches where the outcome was almost certain, last-minute surprises can dramatically reverse fortunes.
In the final match of the recent Qatar World Cup, there were times when it was certain the Argentinians were going to be victorious. The team was leading in goals. However, in the final minutes of the game, the French dramatically caught up, and tossed the entire game up in the air, with no clear victor. The incident repeated itself during extra time.
At times, when we think the worst is over and victory is almost in hand, we might tone down our efforts. While that can be our mindset, the competition might not think the same way. At times, the competition might think otherwise and step up their efforts to do their utmost to turn things around. That’s what the French did in the exhilarating finals. They intensified their efforts and made some incredible last-minute goals which announced that the game was far from over. Thus, we must not be quick to judge and make any conclusions on any situation or people until the game or matter finally concludes. Conversely, for those struggling, the game is far from over until it is truly over.
#4 Take calculated risks
Taking unnecessary risks is so unnecessary. It is a surefire way to land you in trouble.
In the game of football, a big no-no is to not excessively challenge an opponent in your penalty box. You run a risk of awarding a penalty kick to the opposing team. In the finals, the Argentinians were already leading the French by two goals and were on the way to certain victory. An overtly aggressive challenge in the Argentinian penalty box area resulted in a penalty kick. The goal that resulted gave the French the psychological boost they needed to narrow the goal gap. It would have been a costly mistake if the French had won the tournament.
Risks taking can be costly with irreversible damage to reputation, finances, etc. Risks should be taken if they are calculated or the downside is low. Anything else is just a gamble. A gamble that might rob you of everything.
#5 Backend is just as important as the front-end
Forward players, also known as strikers, are always the focus of any game to take the team forward with goals. It is the same in business. In place of strikers, we have sales folks and deal makers. Much emphasis is placed on them to take the business and company forward with every business win. While these front liners are important, we must never forget to strengthen our backend elements.
In football, the backend elements would refer to defenders and goalkeepers. Whenever a rival attacks, the success of their attacks hinges on the strength of the team’s defenders and goalkeepers to thwart the attacks. This becomes more critical in a one-on-one penalty shootout. Every goal and goal save are crucial to attackers and defenders respectively. In this crucial moment, the goalkeeper, literally the backend guy, has to save the day by keeping the ball out of the net.
Similarly, when running a business, in most cases, the focus is always on sales and revenue. While revenue is important, let’s not forget the backend teams from finance, legal, operations, and even customer support to save the day. In their own ways, they support and “defend” the company from any crisis that may unfold.
#6 You don’t have to be the star all the time to win
In our early journey in life, we all wish we could be a star someday. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to be one. However, when we become one, we should not behave like a prima donna, especially in a team setting. Instead, we should adopt a spirit of humility and be a team player instead of a me-player. Like the stars in the night, a star’s job is to inspire and brighten the sky, not darken the already dark skies.
Leo Messi is one of the best footballers of our era. He is a star player and a goal-scoring machine. However, as you watch him play, he does not try to score all the goals himself. Instead, he does not hesitate to pass the ball to his teammates who are in a better position to send the goal into that net. His unselfish actions inspire others to be in place and get ready to do their magic when he passes. They are unafraid of him trying to win the game all by himself. This gives his teammates one thing lesser to worry about on the pitch. It also makes them feel very much valued on the team and turned them into more effective contributors.
#7 Start early
The origin story of most great footballers began at an early age. From young, they developed an early passion for the game. With this early passion, they continuously practice and improve on their passion.
While success is never ever guaranteed. The chance of success is, however, higher when you start earlier and continue to up your game along the way.