Motivation works in mysterious ways.

The Minnesota Vikings won a huge playoff game yesterday against the New Orleans Saints. We were massive underdogs going into the game. Pre-game NFL analytics said we had a 23% chance to win 97% of “experts” picked us to lose.

(hehe…who’s an expert now?!?!?!??)

In a way, one of the most widely-overused cliches in sports is “nobody believes in us,” but in the right circumstance, it works. And can be a powerful motivator.

*IF* the coach can sell it.

(or manager, leader, boss, for that matter)

I recorded a more in-depth podcast on this topic not long ago…

When the “coach” tells you–or when you tell yourself–that no one believes in you, there are only two options:

1 – Concede to it and shrink
2 – Respond to it and rise

I’m not a fan of using this strategy consistently, but it is great for a short-term spike in motivation and performance.

The primary reason it works for motivation is flat-out visceral desire. Hunger. I know the NFL isn’t a Hollywood movie, but it’s Rocky vs. Apollo Creed. When you’re trying to prove something, you’ll put in the extra effort and attention to detail. You want it more.

The primary reason it works for performance is the removal of expectations and pressure. The assumption is that you’ll lose, which allows you to go out and play to win, without fear of letting anyone down. It sounds small, but it’s a BIG mental shift.

Is David vs. Goliath the reason the Vikings won? No, it isn’t.

Sports, business, and LIFE, are a complex interaction of factors that no ‘expert’ will ever be able to conclusively predict.

But this strategy certainly helped…and could potentially help your performance as well.

Keep Outperforming,