“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” T.S. Eliot
A huge fan of inspiring turnarounds, though not of football, I did end up watching Super Bowl 2017 and witnessed an amazing turn of events: The Falcons were winning 21-3 by the end of the first half, but by the game’s end, the Patriots pulled off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, winning by 34-28. Listening to quarterback Tom Brady’s post-game Q&A, it was clear that the Patriots took four steps that turned the tide — steps we can also take when we face thorny writing problems that threaten to defeat us:
Stay calm: The Patriots faced a powerhouse team that had cleaned their clock in the first half of the game. All the experts were saying that no team had ever overcome such a huge deficit, but the Patriots kept their cool. They didn’t panic or buy into the naysayers: They knew what they were capable of and had faith in their ability to turn the game around, despite appearances.
Mobilize your assets: The Patriots weren’t downhearted or hopeless in the locker room at break time, Brady said. Far from it! His teammates remained confident about their assets: They knew they had the power, speed, and precision to play far better in the second half than they had in the first.
Turn up the heat: Instead of letting their miserable first half define the rest of the game, the Patriots shook it off — they let it go. They started afresh and brought their A-Game to the field — they went all out — not in a desperate, last-ditch way, but methodically and precisely, making every move count.
Keep going: Play by play, the Patriots dug themselves out of the hole they were in: finding openings, diving for the ball, making catches, and finally, scoring touchdowns. Slowly, their numbers went up: By the end of the game, the score was tied 28 to 28. Then, in a
dramatic overtime play, the Patriots squeaked over the line for the winning touchdown. They played all out until the very end — and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
OK, staying calm, mobilizing our assets, going all out instead of holding back, and persevering — we can do this! Write on!