FOCUS AND FINISH
A man named Marty Schottenheimer has passed away. He was a former Kansas City Chiefs head coach from 1989 to 1998.
So, you are probably thinking, why is she writing about some old guy whose glory days had long passed many years ago.
I can understand that. My parents, brothers, extended family, friends and I were big pro football fans and of course living in the Kansas City area made us big Chief fans. We still are KC Chiefs fans. But as I grew and evolved, I began to get really tired of having only successful while guys like football coaches giving mixed audiences of girls/women and boys/men leadership quotes and tools. I just couldn’t relate. So much sports lingo and so little opportunity for girls and women to be part of the games.
However, Marty Schottenheimer was famous for pumping up his teams and known for quick inspirational and meaningful sayings. I know that because my oldest brother who was a talented football and baseball player as a teen followed the Chiefs closely. It's just what we did.
Around 1996, my husband and I traveled from Denver to St. Louis for a convention held by the company we had joined in the financial services industry, Primerica Financial Services. This was a rather significant professional change for us and truly, parts were just overwhelming. There we were with hundreds of other Primerica folks and yes, some of them were overwhelmed too.
Either on the way to St. Louis or the way back, I don’t really remember, we stopped to see my oldest brother and his family. They live in a Kansas City area suburb. The brother I mentioned above was giving me his usual words of wisdom to encourage me. This one was from Marty Schottenheimer. It has stuck with me from that moment up until now, and that’s a long time. His words took me through many a happy or unhappy journey through life and allowed me to accomplish things. What did he say that I actually felt encouraged by and not intimated? Simply this:
“Focus and Finish”
I never thought three words from a football coach who lived basically on the national stage in an environment of men could give me a lifetime of inspiration. I will share that some people find that a woman centered on focused and finishing it not a good thing. Others think it’s awesome. I remember working on some complicated paperwork and administrative assistance for a young woman some of my friends and I were helping enroll in college. She was the first person in her family attending college. The road was very bumpy, we were on the cutting edge of something new, and the barriers to success were very difficult to deal with. Yet, collectively, we all focused and finished. Yes it was exhausting and all so new, but we made it to the end. When we all arrived to the point of success, the school executive at the college we were working with told me one day that I was like a bulldog with someone trying to take away a bone. I just didn’t let go. Every time we had to change something or do something I just kept moving.
So thank you Mr. Schottenheimer for being good at what you did and for those three little words.