“Football does not define me”

Marcus Mariota of the Oregon Ducks football team has been much in the sports news the past two months.  Last month he won the 2014 Heisman Trophy in a landslide and on January 12 he led the Ducks in the national championship game.  There is no question he is a talented record-breaking all-star quarterback.  But is there more?

Mr. Mariota is not accustomed to losing and the embarrassing loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 12 was only the 5thloss in 41 starts of his college career.  FSA magazine quotes him “…losing – especially here at Oregon is tough.  We have high expectations as a program to go and win…”1 But on the biggest stage of college football, this champion of a guy did not win.

Mariota went on in the interview to say that he has learned a lot about himself through college sports, “Coach has helped me learn that football doesn’t define me.  It is just what I do.  That was a huge life lesson for me.  I really took that and ran with it.  My faith is what keeps me going and I can always grow in that.”1

“Football does not define me!”  Elsewhere Mariota says that glorifying God with his abilities is the most important thing – that is what defines him.

If business does not define us and it is ‘what we do’ as Mariota suggests, how then are we defined?  For Mariota it is to “shine our light” and use the abilities that God has blessed him with.

God has blessed business people with abilities to start and/or operate businesses.  That is special!  That is important!  But that does not define us.  What defines us is the complete package – character as foundational to competency.

Perhaps central to character is our integrity.  “The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete.2 In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.”2

While running a business overseas for the glory of God or in providing consulting and coaching expertise, the issue of integrity surfaces in various ways.

  • Am I foundationally and “completely” and wholly who I say I am?  For example, if I am a tour company, am I really doing that to the approved standards?
  • Is my life and business integrated so I live the same way at home as I do in business?
  • Do I give full time to the business, or is it just a hobby?
  • Do I have a valid professional identity which makes sense to all levels of society?
  • Do I recognize that I cannot do it myself and I do not pretend to do so?
  • Do I intentionally integrate my life and family into the community where I live?
  • Do I bring my experiences, talents and training into an integrated whole so they make sense in the business, or have I been trained for something else altogether and am faking it?

For these and other questions – we must ask ourselves what defines us. Whether we are a business owner, a consultant, or an investor, these are important questions as applied to a Triple Bottom Line business overseas. We do well to ask ourselves questions of integrity and wholeness, and continually drive toward a complete integrous representation of who we are.

Mariota will survive the embarrassing national championship loss because “football doesn’t define him” – his integrous faith does.  So too it is for us in the hard times of our business life!

Photo credit: isportsweb (http://isportsweb.com/2014/11/20/oregon-football-marcus-mariotas-heisman-chances/)

1  http://www.fca.org/2015/01/12/in-his-own-words-marcus-mariota/#.VLV1mnsYO7A
2 “integrity”. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th edition ed.). El- shaddai ØØØ. 2000. Retrieved 2009-05-13. … from integer, whole, complete

Larry W. Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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