Getting the ball in the back of the net.
After just watching the England-Scotland football game in the Euro 2020 Tournament at Wembley I was reminded of this wee story that happened to me a few years ago — OK a lot of years ago.
It was a cold January afternoon. I was in the gym at high school, on my own. I was playing around with a football, hitting it up against the back wall. I had a good shot on me as they say, so it looked mildly impressive. I was about fourteen years old.
My PE Teacher, Mr. McFarlane, wandered in and watched me.
“You’ve got a good shot on you Billy,” he said. We chatted for a while. He reckoned I should try out for one of the local amateur teams. I wasn’t that good and declined. But he said, “look Billy. Football is a great developer. It will make a man of you. And there’s one thing to remember about football — “Just get the ball in the net.”
It was a phrase that impacted me then and it’s a phrase that I have carried with me for the rest of my life.
As I got older, and especially after I had gone through my university years and entered the work world, the phrase began to take on more and more importance to me.
In particular, I realized that it was possible to take a phrase associated with, in this case, a sport, and adapt it for other purposes. The tendency to apply a phrase to everyday life became one of my approaches to business.
Then over the ensuing years I applied it to many situations, and I began to interpret it in so many ways and in so many situations.
I have always liked the ball in the back of the net one because it just says it.
You can be the greatest midfield player in the world, dazzle everyone, hold on to the ball for ages but if you don’t move up the field and score then you antics are pointless — maybe your ego is boosted, but your ability to get the job done means nothing if you don’t get it in the net.
Stop waffling. Stop grandstanding. Stop being a prima donna. Just get the job done.
How many times have you been in a meeting and some buffoon rambles on and on and on trying to impress everyone? Me too — too often. Yet the best way to stop them is to turn to the guy on your right and say, “What’s he talking about?” — so that the idiot can hear you. It works every time.
Getting to the point seems to be difficult for some people — because they don’t know what to do next. They are going round in circles with no goal in mind. So why don’t they be quiet and let those of who DO know what to do, just get on with it.
But no, he wants to hold on to the microphone. He’s “the man”.
You may not like football (OK soccer for our American cousins) but try it out. Good leaders have great phrases — try this one.
Don’t fluffle around with this one folks — just get the ball in the back of the net.