As a Washington Husky alum, it would be remiss of me to not congratulate my Washington State University friends and family (of which there are many reading this missive) for their big Apple Cup win on Saturday, the first since 2012 (you didn’t think I’d let that go, did you).

It was an impressive win and a well earned bowl game is in your future. Congratulations and I’m hoping you win your bowl game (and I really mean that).

After the game, WSU announced that they were lifting the interim label on their head coach, thus making him the next full-time guy moving forward. He did well in taking over a chaotic situation and leading the team to success. He earned it and deserves the opportunity. And I didn’t know his name until about a month ago, when he was given the interim job.

As I write this, my alma mater is searching for a new head coach, and by all sounds of it will announce it on Monday. The social media stratosphere is throwing a fit. The University of Southern California (USC) earlier in the day hired the biggest of college football coaching names to fill their vacancy; the prevailing thought was that Washington needed to match it with the other “hot commodity,” a young coach at Iowa State, who has done a marvelous job there. To the dismay of those in the know, it appears that the UW will be hiring another young guy with great success, albeit it at a smaller school.

I didn’t know either of these guys until about two weeks ago.

I admit I got caught up in the frenzy of hiring the “hot commodity.” That’s what we fans do. However, the history of football is strewn with stories of hot commodities and big names taking new jobs and failing miserably. History also shows that all those big names at one time were also unknown until they were given a chance. The legendary Hall of Fame coach Don James, was UW’s fourth choice to hire in 1974.

“Identity” can like fame and fortune, be fleeting if allowed to be dictated for you.

My guess is that neither of the new coaches at Washington and Washington State are going to allow the noise to dictate who they are. That’s what elevated them to this point, and with skills and luck (because that is also a part of the game), they will continue to succeed.

We also can’t get stuck being defined by what we do, be it successful or unsuccessful. In our world, the likelihood is that the social media swarm aren’t defining us. The reality is that we are doing it to ourselves!

One of the biggest challenges in business and in life is how we identify ourselves. Imposter syndrome is real. I’ve observed successful business leaders who admit to still lacking confidence, and are worried about being “found out.” I’ve met business owners who identify their worth based on how successful (or not) their business is. They get wrapped up into believing that people view and judge them based on what they do, rather than who they are.

We all can fall into this. In my soon to be released book, Back Nine Walking, I share a story about my years coaching high school basketball, and how I allowed myself to get caught up into identifying myself based on my coaching record. To get on the Wait List for the book so you can read about it, click here.

Bottom line: We are our own worst critics. Whether CEO, entrepreneur, business professional, or football coach – we can’t allow ourselves to get caught up worrying about what others think of us. We must identify first and foremost as to who we are as humans, and then move forward doing the best we can in what we do, and let those results speak for themselves, not for us.

Quote of the Week:

“Behind every great man is a woman behind him rolling her eyes.”

~ Jim Carrey

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