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Pete Carroll: A Coaching Paradigm Shift

Win or lose tomorrow, Pete Carroll will not have achieved his dream or his goal for our football team. Soak that in for a second. If the Seahawks win the Superbowl tomorrow, Carroll will not think he has accomplished everything he set out to accomplish as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

Full disclosure I have been a nervous wreck all week, and was wondering what Pete said to our team to make them seem more calm than I was. So I read his book "Win Forever" for some insight. Back to the point: How do you measure success if the Superbowl is not the ultimate goal for you? How can you claim to be the ultimate competitor if your measurement for greatness is not the Championship? Pete Carroll has a different take on greatness than many of us, and it is a totally unique perspective in today's results driven world. He does not measure success based on winning "the" championship. He measures greatness against the standard of greatness he has imagined for himself in his mind. If he wins the Superbowl tomorrow that will confirm to everyone else that he is great, but the one person it will not convince is Pete Carroll himself.

par·a·digm

noun \ˈper-ə-ˌdīm, ˈpa-rə- also -ˌdim\

: a model or pattern for something that may be copied

Paradigm Shift : a significant change in the paradigm of any discipline or group: Putting skilled, tenured teachers in failing schools would cause a paradigm shift in teaching and education.

Pete Carroll is attempting to create a paradigm shift of the definition of "success" in sports, and honestly in life as well. He is trying to positively affect society by proving that "winning the big one" should not be your goal. Paradoxically not everyone CAN win the big one. Does that mean everyone else is a failure? Not to Carroll. Have you grown as a person? How about as as a team? With some honest self reflection did you put your best effort forward day in and day out? If the answer is "Yes, even though we did not achieve every goal we set for ourselves, we were successful" or if the answer is "Yes, we won the Championship, but we could have been better so how are we going to get better next year?" you just might be Pete Carroll.

I have had a hard time all week finding the calm necessary to handle whatever outcome we see tomorrow. For my family's sake I need to be a little more grounded, and I have been fighting with myself just to try and stay level-headed. "But this is the big game!" my mind shouts "I am ready for this team to write it's name in the annals of history as the best" I scream! Then something struck me today as I was worrying, "Is Pete right for not looking at the Championship as the ultimate goal? What the hell is he thinking? I won't be able to live if we lose this opportunity!" then my epiphany "Maybe he is onto something. Maybe if we win tomorrow and settle for that, we were not that great to begin with. Maybe I need to shift my expectations to encompass more than just one day of the year." I have not come to grips with that thought process yet, but I am more calm today than I have been all season. I know in my heart that our team has been prepared by a great man and nothing that happens tomorrow will change that. There are a bunch of winners on our squad, and affirmation from the media will not change that.

To me this is power. What a powerful tool Carroll has given to our team. He has freed them from the pressures of performing on the biggest stage under the brightest lights. He has given them the tools to be confident in themselves when others doubt them. All he has asked is they prepare like they always do and all they have left to do is perform. It has shown all during media week. I have been blown away by the poise and conviction in even the backups when they have been interviewed.

In contrast when I heard Wes Welker get goaded into saying he will take on "ANYONE" in the slot, I felt he was not speaking the truth in his heart. He does not want to face Kam Chancellor across from him in the slot I am sure of that. He is probably just grateful that Brandon Browner is no longer on our team. Point being I feel like Welker's interview was false bravado, and trying to meet the expectations others have imposed on him. Maybe this is just homerism, but I sure am proud of all of our team and the image they promoted of Seattle and the Seahawks this week. Pete you did great.

So win or lose tomorrow as long as this team is prepared and performs to the best of their ability I believe Pete will have no regrets. Will you?

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