The Ravens-49ers 2013 Super Bowl was replete with lessons on the difficulties of managing success. We never mention the underlying powerful emotion of guilt when it comes to getting to the top, but coach John Harbaugh of the champion Ravens provided a vivid example.
In a vivid story Coach Gene Chizik reveals his secret intention to make a mess of things. He points to the powerful emotions behind his success sabotage: fear, guilt, and self-idealization.
We pause for a brief review of the way we listen for the secret story.
At the crucial point in the season Chizik pulls a “no quarterback” read “no leader” déjà vu as he jerks his starting quarterback at halftime after only four and a half games. He repeats his identical error from the preceding season and makes certain he doesn’t really have a quarterback. Young wide receiver Sammie Coates identifies unknowingly the real problem, “they [the coaches–Chizik] really didn’t want to win deep down.” The coach’s chaotic decisions reveal how he unconsciously undermined his team to the point of near mutiny and in the end micromanaged himself out of a job. Others including his defensive coordinator and a freshman quarterback speak volumes about Chizik’s unrecognized retreat. Yet the head coach has much to teach about the secret pressure of success.
Chizik reveals additional pressures leading to his retreat from success. These included replacing his former boss as head coach, more guilt over firing his friends on the Auburn staff upon arrival, the burden of early success, the murder of two Auburn players prior to the 2012 season. All of these contributed to his becoming more self-sabotaging with discipline problems continuing. Chizik had difficulty setting boundaries in relationships.
Crucial stories in his book “All In” continue to reveal the real story.
Infamous bank-robber Willie Sutton was once asked why he targeted banks. “Because that’s where the money is,” he answered.
So why do we look deeper into the mind of Gene Chizik in light of his team’s unmatched calamitous decline? Because that’s where the real answers are. There lays the power of hidden motivation — why success itself totally blind-sided him.
Chizik’s decisions reflecting one retreat after another reveal his blind spots.
Riding a phenomenal wave of success after leading Auburn to a 2010 national championship, Coach Gene Chizik started to show chinks in his armor. A shocking armed robbery by four players, writing a self-centered book, and loosening the reins of discipline all reflected Chizik’s difficulty handling sudden unexpected success beyond his wildest dreams. A key story in a Chizik speech at the beginning of the 2011 season revealed the huge burden of success which would prove too heavy for him to carry. Former Auburn Coach Pat Dye and the great Bear Bryant revealed the powerful danger associated with success in the back of our minds.