The Super Bowl will be played this Sunday, February 2nd, in Miami. Since the San Francisco 49ers are one of the teams playing, we’re pretty excited here at ATR headquarters in Santa Clara! We watched our new stadium being built down the street, our city host the Super Bowl in 2016, and now are proudly sending our team off to Miami, hoping for the best! I’m sure fans in Kansas City are equally proud and excited. Lots of parties are being planned, and not just here, of course, but across the country!

If you know me, then you probably know that I find plenty of inspiration and professional advice to apply in my own life from the world of sports (What Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Taught Me). This 49ers team has provided many great examples too:

  • Jimmy Garoppolo, QB – In the 3rd game of the 2018-19 NFL season, Jimmy suffered a torn ACL, an injury that sidelined him for the season and effectively ended the 49ers chances at a championship. It’s a grueling recovery process. Any injury can be discouraging; no one likes being “out of the game.” But the best athletes bring the same winning mentality to recovery, the same discipline and dedication to physical therapy as they do to game day. Jimmy worked hard, recovered, and came back this year to lead the team to the Super Bowl.

    I want to embody that same kind of drive. I want to be someone who doesn’t give up in the face of adversity. I want to work with people who don’t let tough times get them down and instead work through them, doing what it takes to address problems and ensure future success.

  • Raheem Mostert, Running Back – Raheem bounced around in the NFL playing for 6 teams before joining the 49ers practice squad in 2016. Think about that; the practice squad. He never gave up on his dream of playing in the NFL and continued to work hard and believe. He took advantage of the opportunities available and brought his strong work ethic to each team. He was talented, but prone to fumbling the ball early on. However, he worked hard to improve himself and develop into a better player. Given the chance to play last season, he capitalized on it and became the team’s leading rusher this year, with the 49ers offense arguably built around its running game. Though he slipped by a bunch of teams, Mostert never gave up and now is on his way to the Super Bowl.

    I want to demonstrate that same kind of commitment. I want to recognize the shortcomings in my game, the areas where I can improve, and then work hard to get better. I want to remember that no opportunity is insignificant and not worthy of my best effort. I may start out on the practice squad, but I will work hard to end up at the Super Bowl!

  • Richard Sherman, Cornerback – When Sherman was released by the Seattle Seahawks, he had been battling injuries for several years and was widely considered to be on the downswing of his career. Most teams were not interested in signing an aging, injury prone player, but San Francisco took a chance. His incentive-laden deal ensured that the 49ers were protected from investing too much money in a player that might be beyond his prime but gave him the opportunity to earn based on performance. They ended up with a player who delivered results. More importantly, he brought intangible leadership skills and maturity to the team. His knowledge and experience made him invaluable as a mentor to younger players and an example to everyone else.

    I want to hire people like that. I want to be the kind of manager who is willing to take a risk on potentially amazing employees. I want to recognize that soft skills can be just as important and valuable as measurable skills. I also want to develop my skills as a leader and be the kind of person who motivates and helps others achieve their best, while also just doing my job well.

These are three examples of 49ers who have taught me something about how to do my job better, who have inspired me to be a better leader. I don’t have the space to go into Nick Bosa, Tevin Coleman, Mike Shanahan, Katie Sowers, or, well, actually everyone else in the organization! And I know that the same lessons are there to be learned from our opponent, Kansas City. Success comes from each person individually doing their best, making a commitment to work hard and persevere through good and bad times. Success also comes from recognizing that you are part of a team, understanding your part in the bigger picture, and bringing your individual talents to the table to create something larger than just you.

I want to remember all of this once the Super Bowl is over and a champion crowned, no matter who it is. I am inspired by my city’s NFL team and will take that inspiration and apply it to my own daily life. I want to go with my team to our Super Bowl equivalent! Let’s go Niners!

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