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"Lessons from the House of Manning"



Life Lessons Series: Six of One Dozen of the Other- "Lessons from the House of Manning"


Introduction

I was thrilled when I saw the news feeds that Archie Manning was speaking at the ALTA ONE Conference in New Orleans this year. I have for decades been a huge fan of the Manning Family. In an era where athletes and teams publicly find loopholes for advantages to win, the Mannings’ have taken the higher road showing integrity, leadership, teamwork and honor in their conduct both on and off the field. From Archie to his three sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli - and now grandson Arch- all have publicly displayed an impressive work ethic, strong familial relationships and a great deal of respect…and serious athletic talent that is fun to watch! The Manning Dynasty are truly great role models for the youth of today- and us older folk- to look up too.


ALTA ONE Omni Session Featuring Archie Manning Description

“You can’t be 100 percent perfect, but try to … do what’s right. If you just make every effort to do the right thing, you’ll come out okay.” Former award-winning football star, humanitarian, author and father, Archie Manning will headline Friday’s Omni Session at ALTA ONE…

In a conversation with ALTA President Bill Burding NTP, Manning will answer questions about—of course—football, as well as his four principles: leadership, dependability, flexibility and “playing the game.” Manning will teach you how to apply his four principles to your business and day-to-day life, ultimately helping you achieve success. As the New Orleans Saints’ No. 1 draft pick in 1971, Manning has been recognized as one of the top 50 players in Saints’ franchise history, inducted into multiple Halls of Fame and won awards for everything from coaching to humanitarianism and, yes, even Father of the Year. His permanent record features a laundry list of activities that better his community, including the Louisiana Special Olympics, the New Orleans Area Boy Scout Council, the United Way Speakers Bureau and the Salvation Army. He also is the Chairman of the Board of the National Football Foundation.


If you haven’t listened to the recording of the ALTA ONE Omni session, you absolutely should. There are so many great moments in the 89-minute recording where Archie’s warm personality and sense of humor shine through. I recently re-watched the Book of Manning and thought the realism in the Omni Session and shared moments for Archie’s life lessons to be of far greater depth and value…and I LOVE the Book of Manning! Much of what was presented in the Omni Session, while born out of life lessons specific to football, transcended the game and were applicable to professional and personal businesses of all types.


(For anyone curious about this picture it is of Steve and me at the Yale versus Harvard Game in November of 2019. One of my cousins was playing as a Wide Receiver for Yale. We had a blast at the rivalry game where not only did Yale win in overtime, but there was also a political protest on the field at half time that delayed the game and then a streaker. Who knew the Ivy League was so racy? We even “stormed” the field after the game!)


Always Remember What is Most Important

When asked the question, what was most important in life, Archie responded without hesitation:

1. Faith

2. Family

3. School


A simple yet powerful list. Archie shared many stories that spoke to his absolute dedication to his faith, family and school. Even during hard personal times, Archie was able to compartmentalize and focus his efforts; a trait of a great leader which Archie evidences both personally and professionally. Historians have shared that Archie worked all the time to better himself watching tapes, practicing and studying plays. One of his many nicknames “Archie Super Manning” appears to be well earned!


Archie said very simply “I enjoyed the journey” when talking about his life. He then followed up with sharing that he gets asked if he misses playing professional football to which he asks “were you watching?” Clearly referring to the 13 years he played professionally without any winning seasons. Archie never complained and he never gave up. He worked every week to be the best he could be, despite the lack of winning seasons. It was said that Archie never brought his losses home. He was never too tired to play with his children.


All three sons are a testament to his success- each highly successful in their own right. Peyton may most closely have resembled his father’s work ethic throughout his career. By all accounts Peyton at a young age started emulating his dad’s behavior and took being a great leader and teammate seriously. Peyton shared a story of telling his coach they lost a game because of his bad coaching. Archie later that night drove Peyton to the coach’s house for a personal apology. Dad didn’t mess around in enforcing his values on his children. There is a reason Archie Manning was named Father of the Year in 2006 by the National Father’s Day Council.


There were so many great life lessons in what Archie shared. He never let his fame override doing what was right in life. Archie made a statement about watching some of the parents at his kid’s sports games having movie cameras. He observed that if the parents taped themselves, they would not like what they see. Yet another great life lesson to abide by. Definitely we all need to “keep our priorities lined up.”


I took Archie’s Life Lessons in remembering what is important as working hard, continually working to improve and better yourself, always remaining humble and kind and a tireless pursuit to be the kind of spouse/parent/teammate/colleague that is thought of as the greatest of all time.


Leadership and Teamwork

Archie talked about his lessons in leadership and teamwork that he took away from his football career. One of the most awe inspiring was his playing with a broken arm so as not to let his team down during a championship bowl game. Archie had broken his left (non-throwing) arm. At that time, Manning had already lined up an NFL Contract with the New Orleans Saints. He knew his team would not have a chance to prevail against Auburn in the Gator Bowl without his presence. Manning with his arm in a cast, delivered an amazing performance in his final college game and helped keep the game’s score close. The Rebels eventually fell short, 35-28, yet Manning’s school and conference records have stood the test of time for true greatness.


Archie described leadership as being the main thing needed in sports, personally and professionally. Leadership is earned from work habits and how you conduct yourself. Leaders must earn the respect of others through their actions. Leaders must also show respect for others. Through the discussion, Archie made the point that just because you have the title does not mean that you have respect nor are you a great leader. A leader is earned through hard work, determination, drive and respect.


Another of Mannning’s core principles was teamwork. Teamwork was described as being accountable every single day. It is unselfish behavior that never waivers. Archie shared a story about his son Peyton describing one of his teammates - Edgerrin James - as being the greatest teammate he ever had. When pressed, Peyton had expanded that James was totally accountable. He was always ready for practice. He was unselfish. He never missed a game. No matter what had come previously in the week, James always did his job and was a tremendous teammate. What a supreme compliment. Archie encouraged how great it would be for all of us to be described as the greatest teammate in our workplace.


I took Archie’s life lessons on leadership to be that leaders are made and not born. Being a great leader takes grit and determination. It requires a person to accept defeat and come back stronger for it by learning from their mistakes. Great leaders are respectful of themselves and their own behavior. They also show respect for others. A great leader emerges with or without a winning season or lofty job title.


Wikipedia defines teamwork as “the collaborative effort of a group to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way.” Manning states that it is being accountable every single day. Unselfish behavior that never waivers. A statement that all parts (or people) contribute to the whole (or team/department/company). The greatest of accolades for any of us would be to have someone describe you as a GOAT. (See https://www.tdbadvisors.com/post/blog-series-life-lessons-six-of-one-dozen-of-the-other-1 for more on GOATs!)


Goals

Archie talked about the value is setting goals. His discussion seemed to surround the commonly accepted definition:

Goal setting involves the development of an action plan designed in order to motivate and guide a person or group toward a goal. Goals are more deliberate than desires and momentary intentions. Therefore, setting goals means that a person has committed thought, emotion, and behavior towards attaining the goal.

He advocated the value in writing down your goals with the stronger then ability to follow through on them. He shared the words on a sign that had hung in a training room in a car dealership he owned that read: “Character is the ability to carry out the resolution long after the mood is gone.” Archie advocated that this is the path to success.


Archie’s comments supported much that has been memorialized about goal setting over the years. The concept that there is intrinsic value in setting clear and measurable goals. This helps the attainment of milestones that will enable advancement in your career and your personal life. (See https://www.tdbadvisors.com/post/i-make-title-sexy for more on setting goals.)


The below list has been excerpted from 15 Tips for Goal Setting written by the Indeed Editorial Team earlier this year https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/goal-setting-tips.

1- Pick goals you're passionate about

2- Make sure your goals are achievable

3- Be specific with your goals

4- Write these goals down

5- Reward yourself when you accomplish a goal

6- Tell others about your goals

7- Prioritize one goal at a time

8- Visualize yourself achieving these goals

9- Set deadlines for each goal

10- Evaluate each goal you do and don't accomplish

11- Stay positive

12- Create reminders to continue meeting your goals

13- Give yourself an appropriate amount of time to complete them

14- Remind yourself why you're setting these goals

15- Assess any possible risks or obstacles


The Indeed Editorial Team summarized the values in goal setting very well.

“Setting goals is important because it gives you the focus and direction to be successful. Creating goals for yourself and noting your progress also keeps you aware of how well you're performing both in your work and personal life. Having clear, specific goals helps you gain the skills and abilities to perform well in your career and grow in your company.


Goal setting motivates you to brainstorm tasks you wish to finish. When you accomplish these tasks and meet your goals, you'll feel a sense of satisfaction and pride and can stay motivated to meet more goals. As you continue achieving these goals and boosting your skills and abilities, you'll feel more confident and self-assured.”

I don’t think Archie or I could have said this better!


Summary

My favorite moments that Archie shared were his response to his son Peyton’s choice to attend University of Tennessee and a fan letter he received.


Peyton wanted to get away from the Southeastern Conference and carve his own path. With more than 100 offers, he decided to attend University of Tennessee. Peyton Manning originally intended to play at Ole Miss before the Rebels' recruiting violations caused them to be placed on NCAA probation. He went to Tennessee, where he became arguably the best player in school history. Fans of Ole Miss were not happy and there was a great deal of backlash when the decision was made. In true Archie style he endured the response with dignity and grace. At the end of the day, he was a father supporting his son who he wanted to be happy. Another shining example of Archie through his actions remaining true to his principals that faith, family and school were most important in life.


Archie also shared a letter from a young fan that had stolen his heart. The young man had written Archie a flattering letter sharing that he had written a report on him for school. Unlike his classmates who thought Peyton and Eli were the best quarterbacks of all time, the young author declared Archie to have been the more talented quarterback. He then closed the letter with a postscript asking for autographs from Peyton and Eli. Archie claimed it was humbling to say the least. He responded to the young author as he apparently does to all his fan mail, and further supplied the autographs for his sons exemplifying yet again behaviors of a great leader.


There were so many life lessons shared in remembering what is most important in life, leadership/teamwork and goal setting that earn the Manning Dynasty accolades as being great role models for the youth of today- and us older folk- to look up too. Many heartfelt thanks for the lessons shared!


What is Your Life Lesson….

1- What is most important to you in your life?

2- How do you define leadership and teamwork?

3- Do you set goals?

4- Have you watched the Book of Manning? Have you watched the ALTA ONE Omni Session Featuring Archie Manning? If not, will you watch it now?


Postscript

Ok so clearly I was remiss…in my August 10th Blog I wrote about GOAT’s- people referred to as being the Greatest Of All Time. How did I miss the Manning Family in my list of GOAT’s? I am planning to write them a formal apology letter for my oversight!


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