On Sunday night I heard an interview with St. Louis Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. In the interview he was asked if he felt any added pressure being the #1 overall draft pick from the class of 2010.
Sam said: “No. No one could ever put more pressure on me than I put on myself.”
It was then pointed out to Sam that most young stars have plans for how to use their new found millions. The interviewer quipped, “A new house for mom; a Ferrari . . . Any big purchases these past few months?”
Sam hesitated for a moment and in as humble a way as possible said, “No, just a ping pong table. But its a really nice ping pong table.”
A ping pong table? Seriously, Sam?
Author Jim Collins would be proud of young Sam. Why? Because he is beginning to demonstrate what Collins calls “Level 5 Leadership.”
In Good to Great, Collins says a level 5 leader is one who “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”
While Sam is only at step 1 in his NFL career, he is off to a good start.
I say that not because he led his team to a remarkable turn around season. The Rams missed the playoffs by one game after winning only 3 games the previous year.
But more impressively Sam has a, 6 year, 78 million dollar contract, and the only thing he bought was a ping pong table.
That is personal humility my friend. When a man lives by his integrity and refuses to be changed by power, fame, and wealth, he positions himself for something larger. Influence.
Bradford may never win a Super Bowl, but that matters very little. For he has already won the bigger game. He has defeated himself.
If you aspire to be a level 5 leader, you too must win the battle with self.
Personal humility and professional will . . . They are the keys to victory.
Make them your focus and you will become the leader you want to be.
Who is the best leader you know who demonstrates personal humility? What about professional will?