Finish Strong - Leadership SHIFT Tip

As a kid growing up in Western New York, rooting for the Buffalo Bills was like dating the wrong girl or guy. There were a few good dates, but it was a frustrating relationship. You were hopeful that it would get better. But in the end, your heart was broken.

The Bills are great at breaking our hearts. They lost four Super Bowls, but we did have one amazing date. It was January 3rd, 1993.

They were hosting the Houston Oilers for a chance to advance toward another Super Bowl. We lost the previous two, but this year, we believed, was going to be different.

Houston jumped out to a 28–3 lead by halftime. As the Bills were getting chewed out in the locker room, the broken hearted started to leave Rich Stadium.

And within a few minutes of starting the third quarter, Houston intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.

It was 35–3 Houston. You could hear the remaining hearts breaking.

Then something happened.

The winds changed in Buffalo’s favor. They started to play with more urgency and clawed back to tie the game before the clock ran out.

A few minutes later they went on to win in overtime, 41–38.

It’s considered the greatest comeback in NFL history.

In a career, like in sports, a quick start is important. What you don’t have in experience and wisdom, you can compensate with hustle.

Hustle is the secret sauce that can spark a career. It can even help you land that big gig by the time you reach 40.

But at 40, you are just starting the third quarter. How do you want to play the rest of the game?

The Houston Oilers started to coast. They stopped hustling. They didn’t adapt to the changing game.

The Bills never stopped playing. Yes, a quick start is important, but they knew a strong finish was everything. Plus, they had the wisdom of knowing that their quarterback, Frank Reich, was also responsible for the greatest comeback in college football history.

Today’s markets are changing more rapidly than ever. Don’t spend your time looking up at scoreboard hoping to hang on before the clock runs out. That plan will only leave you with a broken heart. 

Keep Hustling. Keep Pedaling. Keep Evolving.

And continue to have fun storming the castle.

p.s. Three years later the Oilers left Houston. The Bills made it to the Super Bowl in 1993 and again 1994. They didn’t win, but being in the Super Bowl beats watching it on T.V. Just ask the NY Jets.