If I was a head coach in the Canadian Football league, I would remind my players what they are playing for. When you have clarity and purpose, you have resolve and focus and at this point of the season, with colder weather, routine days and the end in sight, you tend to forget how much fun and what a great experience it would be to play in the Grey Cup.
No team is mathematically eliminated so going into Week 16, anyone can still win it all. I played in two Grey Cup games and those games were the highlights of my CFL career because there is so much emotion, pride, effort and atmosphere that memories are locked in your mind forever and detail becomes crystal clear.
If I was a head coach right now in the Canadian Football league, I would tell my guys to chase a feeling; not a game but a feeling. There is the emotion of being individually introduced in front of a sold-out Rogers Centre with all your family in the stands. There is the feeling of the National Anthem being played, associating yourself, regardless of whether you're Canadian or American, with a country of the quality that Canada is. There is the thought of possessing a Grey Cup ring that would more than represent that game, that year or that moment. It would represent your entire career and eveything you sacrificed to experience this moment. And, how significant it would be to play in not just the Grey Cup, but the 100th Grey Cup, as there will only be one in everyone's lifetime.
As much as people strive for material success and security, people also desire adventure and intense emotion. Often it is the #1 battle for people: which is more important to me? That which is practical and beneficial, or that which is a dream and feels good. Playing and winning a Grey Cup is a feeling rarely repeated and a childhood dream realized and lived in the present. The money you earn will come and go, the people you played with will move on, but the moment lives forever in your mind.
Many years have passed but the amount of detail I can remember from the two Grey Cup games I played in is remarkable. Much more than any regular season game, any playoff game and definitely any practice, I remember it all from my two championship games. Even the first one that I lost. Details like who you were playing against, the weather, the atmosphere, the introductions, how you played, the lockeroom before, the lockeroom after, winning and losing, a night and day difference.
Chasing feelings is motivating because you're chasing a feeling that you hope feels good. Chasing feelings is very natural and normal because we all are biological, not mechanical, and therefore react with more energy to that which is an emotion compared to that which is based on logic. If you want to focus and motivate, give and create what makes the collective feel good and they will follow.
Sometimes the best thing a coach or leader can do is paint a picture of 'what if'. What would it be like if we did win it all and what would that experience feel to be a part of? If you can describe it in detail, the players' imagination will take over and be drawn into making it happen. Eveyone has goals, thing they desire; some are vague, others crystal clear. And with those goals, if and when accomplished, they give the 'goalee' a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. And often what determines whether you get it or not is how much your want it; a desire, a feeling.
With only four games left in this CFL season, it is time to re-ignite what you're playing for, who you're playing for and what it will be like. I guarantee you will never forget it.