If you know me or follow my social media accounts, you probably already know that I am a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. I grew up outside of Philly and have been a fan since I was a kid. They just won their first Super Bowl, and to say I’ve been ecstatic would be an understatement. As a faithful fan of this team that is not always easy to be a fan of, this is the ultimate reward.
If you follow the NFL, you might also know that the Eagles were the underdog throughout the entire season. They were the number 1 seed in their conference when their star quarterback tore his ACL in week 14 of a 17-week season. He was out for the remainder of the season. At that point, the Eagles were the best team in the NFL. When the quarterback got a season-ending injury, sports analysts (and fans) assumed the season was over. Most teams do not get to the Super Bowl (let alone win it) with a back-up quarterback. Why am I sharing all this? Not for the joy of reliving a wonderful season with my team (although it is joyful), but for the lessons their winning can teach all of us. Stick with me…
The Super Bowl hopes were high for the Eagles when their quarterback got injured. And when that happened, the reaction from most fans was that this type of loss was “typical” for the Eagles. This team has a past filled with numerous playoff games, several conference championships, and two other Super Bowls, but they always came up short. Monday mornings were heartbreakers for Eagles fans during many past playoff seasons. Philadelphia fans expected their team to lose. We always lost. We couldn’t bring home the big one. We were always the underdogs. We had a chip on our shoulder about it, and we expected to be heartbroken.
I’m not sure anything was different about the fans this year. When our quarterback got hurt, I recall telling my husband, “well, that was a great season, but we’ll have to leave it right here.” Then they made it to the playoffs, with home field advantage. I was shocked. I wanted to believe. But, oh, how I doubted. After all, the Eagles always lose in the big games. Watching the post-season games was definitely exciting but also quite intense and stressful. Winning was great but, my oh my, getting to the last second of the game felt like agony. Why? Because I didn’t expect them to pull it off. Me and millions of other fans wrung our hands and hearts as we wanted to believe, but were afraid to believe. Yes, this team was different. They really were THAT GOOD. But it was still so hard to believe. We’d been heartbroken too many times before.
What made this season different? Obviously not the fans (well, I speak for myself… I can’t speak for everyone else, so if you’re an Eagles fan and you had faith in the team – I commend you!) This year was different because of the team and the coaching staff. They believed in themselves. They had only the highest expectations of themselves. They embraced the underdog label and used it to their advantage. Their expectations of themselves and their commitment to each other and to achieving their goal made the difference.
During the celebration parade in Philly last week, head coach Doug Pederson said that this was a new norm for Philadelphia. No more chip on our shoulder, woe is us, we never win. We do win. We can win. We WON THE SUPER BOWL. He told the city filled with millions of people celebrating (and the thousands more watching online) that the parade should be the expectation now. This team established a new norm for the city, despite difficult circumstances and all the naysayers. They knew they could do it and they did. We, as fans, should expect nothing less than that moving forward.
Do I think the Eagles will win another Super Bowl? Hell, yes! But, really, I don’t know. It’s not easy to get there, and that’s not even what this blog post is really about… it’s about you and your expectations about your life.
We work hard to create positive life changes and often don’t see the results we want because we’re still expecting the old norm to reoccur. We keep ourselves planted in the “old”, despite working so hard to achieve the “new”. What would happen if you set the expectation that the new norm is all there is now. What if there was no going back to the old because you’ve chosen to finally move beyond it? What kind of amazing experiences could you allow into your life if you set a new norm and didn’t ever consider the old norm a possibility? Just something for you to ponder in the coming weeks…
And, I will add that unlike the Philadelphia Eagles fans, there’s no need to wait for the “big win”. Maybe the Eagles fans needed the big win to have a new norm from which to set their expectations. But, the team did not. They had those expectations long before they won the Super Bowl. So, you don’t need to wait for the new job, the new relationship, or the new body. Nope, you can set your expectation of your new norm right now, before there’s anything visible to prove it. And that, my friends, is really what makes the difference between winners and those who fall short.