7 Lessons From Roma’s Champions League Victory Over Barcelona – By Hilton Etakoh
You may not be a football fan but there’re certainly some vital lessons you can learn from this event. Champions league games are usually characterized by a two-legged match encounter between paired teams, and in this particular encounter Roma had lost the first leg by 4 – 1 at Barcelona. It looked like a done deal for Barcelona, and not many gave Roma a chance of making it through the quarter finals stage. This may be justifiable considering the pedigree of the individual players in Barcelona’s lineup. They paraded one of the best and most dreaded squad; they had the best players in all departments of the game, and were by far more rated and accomplished than Roma players.
Then came the second leg, Roma players entered the pitch blazing hot. They played with passion, hunger and determination; they played with their hearts. Someone told me “those guys played as if they were on something more than drugs.” And after 90 minutes Roma won the game by 3 – 0 and qualified for the semi-finals. It was another unforgettable night in the history of football, and for many days the internet, social media, and even mainstream media were awash with the Stadio Olimpico miracle.
But while many were busy discussing and analyzing the match, I was busy looking for the lessons I can learn from the event of that night, and certainly I came up with a few.
- The power of self-believe: Roma players demonstrated the power of self-believe. They believed they could do the unthinkable; they believed it wasn’t over even after the result of the first leg; they believed they had what it takes to re-write their story. The lesson here is that even if no one believes in you, believe in yourself; believe in your gifts, talents, abilities, and calling. Believe there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
- Nothing is Impossible: Another powerful lesson I learnt from that game is that nothing is impossible. Indeed some things only seem impossible until you try. Roma needed to defeat not just any team, but Barcelona by 3 – 0 to qualify for the semi-finals and they did it. It shows that whatever results you need to pull to move to your next level, no matter how daunting or impossible it may seem is achievable.
- Talent/Skill alone isn’t enough, you need an inner fire (passion): Barcelona were undoubtedly the more talented or skillful side, but Roma were obviously the more passionate side on that historic night. Roma players were literally on fire and as a result were unstoppable. That game once again proved that a passionate person with less talent will likely always outperform a more talented person with less passion. Passion or enthusiasm generates within you an unusual energy to keep forging ahead even when everything else suggests you give up. When your soul is set on fire for any given task, your creativity, imagination and energy will break their bounds.
- Be motivated by your past failure/defeat: Roma simply refused to allow their failure in the first leg to stand in their way to achieving a better result in the second leg. Sometimes the memories of your past failures can scare the hell out of you and keep you from forging ahead. But when you let those memories overwhelm your willingness to move on to other things then you risk becoming a failure. Instead see every new day as an opportunity to improve on your results of yesterday. If Roma can bounce back from an embarrassing 3 – 0 defeat to record an incredible victory, then you too can bounce back from any unpleasant experience of the past, and re-write your story.
- Reference your previous success: In his pre-match speech, Roma’s coach, Eusebio Di Francesco said,” we have to give it everything. We have to believe we can pull this feat, we must have the right attitude, like we did against Chelsea.” Earlier in the campaign Roma eliminated Chelsea in the group stages, and until the game against Barcelona, Chelsea was their biggest win. So the coach made sure to reference that win in his pre-match speech. He actually meant, ‘we did it against Chelsea, we can do it again today.’ Sometimes when you’re confronted with a challenge, you need to recall how you pulled a certain remarkable feat in the past, and assure yourself that ‘if I could pull this feat then, I believe I can do it again now. Referencing your previous success emboldens you and increases your confidence. It shows you’ve still got what it takes to pull similar results.
- Fight to the end: It’s not enough to start well, you have to finish well. Roma believed and held their grounds until the last whistle. They refused to relent; they refused to lose concentration or become distracted; they refused to become complacent, and fought to the end. They showed that the key to finishing well is to remain consistent.
- You need someone who can inspire you to give your all: Roma’s coach, Di Francesco was certainly the one masterminding everything behind the scene. His pre-match speech was full of nuggets and certainly went a long way in inspiring confidence in his players. He said, “why not believe until the end and hope we can achieve something unprecedented? It’s really a tough task but we have the duty to try, we must play with passion, heart and believe right until the final whistle if we want to do the unthinkable.”
Most successful people have personal coaches, mentors or someone who holds them accountable. Sometimes we need someone who will inspire, push, nudge, ginger, and spur us up to give our all.
Are they other lessons you learnt from that epic game? Kindly let me know in the comments.
Hilton Etakoh is a peak performance coach, and author of You Are Too Gifted to be Poor. He writes about peak performance, creativity, career, and personal growth. Follow him on twitter and Facebook @HiltonEtakoh or visit his website, http://hiltonetakoh.com/