Playing the Long Game

The value of a sports mentality in our times

Even though there are typically winners and losers in sports, brands and agencies that take on a sports mentality rarely lose.

I've been thinking a lot about this analogy during our numerous lockdowns. It's been a mental game like no other. I think it's a sports mentality that has, personally, kept me going through this. When you lose a game, you still have a chance to win the next one. When you're not feeling your best, you still want to show up for your teammates. And when you see your teammates struggling, you take the extra shift.

As a former athlete and now mere Blue Jays bandwagoner, Leafs Cup hopeful (is this the year??), lover of the Toonie bet (on just about anything), and heck I'll even watch some golf these days, the return of live sports last fall brought back some joy and "plans." A time to tune in versus endless streaming, something to banter about with co-workers, and perhaps, a needed distraction from the disheartening state of the world.

I remember hearing the team behind the brilliant and much awarded SickKids work talk about how they changed their approach to fundraising by starting to behave like a sports brand. It worked. They won. And I see it every day with our Twitter client and their culture. They pump each other up, they let no victory big or small go uncelebrated. They also take company-wide days of rest. It is 100 percent a team sport and effort each and every day. And as a result of that, as their partner, we are a part of the team.  

Whether a sports fan or not, here are a few things I've told myself to get through the last year.

Resilience is your greatest strength.

Short-term goals for your sanity. Long-term goals for glory.

If you lose today, you can win tomorrow.

And perhaps most important, rest is an important part of the work.

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