The Lombardi Trophy has been hoisted, and the Los Angeles Rams are Super Bowl Champions. All is good in L.A. Or is it? The youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl is pumping the breaks on a return to a loaded roster, and the reason why should have every entrepreneur paying attention.
The 36-year-old head coach of the LA Rams hasn’t committed to returning for the 2023 season. “We’ll see,” is how McVay responded to The Los Angeles Times when asked about returning for the 2023 season. Although McVay’s high-energy, high-intensity approach to coaching has worked, he’s the first to admit that there is “no way” he’ll be coaching at 60.
According to McVay, “[he] won’t make it.”
I spent over a decade in college and professional football, and had the privilege to work for amazing coaches like Jimbo Fisher and Sylvester Croom. Outsiders saw bowl rings and championship trophies, but what I saw was exhausted men running on fumes.
Coaches and support staff would begin their workday at 5:30 a.m. and not leave until around 1:00 a.m. several nights per week. They wouldn’t see their families, and as former Green Beret and current Director of Team Development for the Indianapolis Colts, Brian Decker told the Indy Star, “This is a commitment industry…You can’t just be here for the T-shirt. You gotta give a pound of flesh to do this.”
So why is McVay noncommital? Because he’s getting married this summer, and he knows that his approach to football isn’t conducive to having a healthy family life. As an early-stage founder, I can sympathize with McVay. There’s always another hour I can work, and it’s hard to finish the day with a job undone. But will it ever be “done?” Unlike football, the season never ends in business. There’s always another quarterly objective to accomplish, fire to put out another, and customer to serve.
If you don’t have strong core values and are willing to act on those values, your business will eat you alive. And just like McVay believes, you won’t make it to 60, either.
I respect Sean McVay. His father modeled what a healthy family looked like and turned down coaching to give his family the time and quality attention he deserved. To succeed in that arena, Sean knows that he’ll need to align his values with his actions, and my hunch is he’ll step away, not now, but in a few years when kids arrive.
To all the founders out there, you can do both. Here are three steps to build a strong business and healthy home life.
Identify your core values.
As my friend Dr. Peter Haberl, Senior Sports Psychologist for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, says, “Goals are your destination. Values are more about a direction. Goals are about what we want to get in the future. Values are about who we want to be right now.” And as author Jim Collins puts it, core values are a small set of guiding principles that require no external justification.
I recommend identifying three to five core values and coming up with a definition for what that value means to you. For instance, I value excellence, and I define that as maximizing my talents and aligning my efforts to reach my full potential.
Anchor your actions in your values.
When you need to make a tough decision, go back to what you value, and tell yourself, I am making this decision because I value XYZ. By anchoring your actions in your values, you’ll be able to push through uncomfortable feelings and do what you know is right for you and those you love.
Expect and prepare for difficult seasons in your business and personal life.
Yes, there will be times when you need to work 10-12 hours a day for a month to raise your Seed round or deploy a game-changing product. That’s okay.
The same goes for your family life. You may have a spouse or loved one that needs more of your attention, and you should create the flexibility to act on what you value and be there for the ones you love.
You can build a strong business and have a healthy home life. The question is, will you have the courage to act on your values, and as Stephen Covey says, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.”