As I was sitting here looking through my fantasy roster(s) – thinking about how excited I am for another season of NFL football to get underway – I was reminded of this memorable clip from Any Given Sunday – how I felt when I first watched it, and what it made me think about as I sat here and watched it again and again. This powerfully written movie script is delivered perfectly by Pacino and speaks volumes to the game of football, all team sports, and more importantly life in general.

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“We can climb outta hell one inch at a time”

We’ve all been stuck in a rut, down on our luck, out of a job, going through a bad break up, losing a loved on – each of us has experienced a sense of personal ‘hell’ and when you’re in it – you feel like you’ll never get out, that it’s all too overwhelming to bear. It’s so much easier to give up and say “I can’t” – but it’s those individuals, those entrepreneurs, those businesses who face adversity and journey through hell, yet have the patience and persistence to move forward, inch by inch, who will stand above all the rest and see the most success in the end.

“When you get old in life things get taken from you. I mean that’s…part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff.”

Recently I wrote about our collective quick-to-be skeptical state of mind – that when a stranger approaches us we automatically see them as someone who is out for our money or is trying to screw us in some way. But I guarantee you, if you have been in the situation of feeling ‘helpmess’ – or know someone close to you who has, you gain a new-found appreciation for helping people in need. It’s that “You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone” mindset. But if you think like this, you’ve got it all wrong – We shouldn’t need a ‘wake up call’ – it’s not about waiting for life to pass you by, it’s about living every day is if it could be your last. NEVER let your passion for living subside!

“You find out life’s this game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small — I mean one-half a step too late, or too early, and you don’t quite make it. One-half second too slow, too fast, you don’t quite catch it.”

Some believe in fate, some in free will. Me? I’m a proponent of opportunity. Whether the path is laid out for us or not is beside the point – The bottom line? We are given choices and decisions throughout our lives – some small, some much more substantial. And then we’re asked to make a choice. Life isn’t about fate or free will – there will always be results of your own actions and some things that will ultimately be out of your hands. But what we can control are the choices we make – the 4th and Goal, 3 seconds left in the biggest game of your life, should I run or should I pass decision that will define you. Focus less on the things you can and cannot control and instead, focus on the choices you make.

In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. And I know if I’m gonna have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willin’ to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what livin’ is! The six inches in front of your face!!

I’ll replace the word die with the word ‘fail’. It’s the guy who’s willing to fail that’s ultimately going to succeed. We are all inherinlty afraid of failure – nervous about walking the first step and taking a leap of faith into the unknown. But the people who get it understand that fear of coming up short of the goal-line doesn’t mean they should automatically play it safe and kick a field goal. They understand that sometimes, you just have to go for it – and that fear can be a motivator that drives success.

For everyone out there who is thinking about changing jobs, moving to a new city, and trying something new – the only person holding you back is yourself. Don’t let fear take control of your life – and understand that even the best of them, even the most successful, stumbled before they started running full speed ahead.

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Some things to chew on. I couldn’t be more excited for this football season to get underway (Go Titans! Bear Down Chicago Bears!) Enjoy your opening weekend and remember that both football, and life, is all a game of inches.

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. I also watch entirely too much Saved by the Bell, run marathons, and drink plenty of craft beer. Check out the work my company is doing at Proof Branding.