#BillsMafia, in 13 seconds the taste of victory was snatched from our grasp in 2021.

We were so close.

I know the champagne bottles were already popping as we prematurely prepared to host the AFC Championship game in Buffalo, New York, the following Sunday.

I could barely sit to watch the game. In fact, I stood the entire fourth quarter as I watched quarterback Josh Allen lead us back, time and time again. I was blitz-texting friends all over the country. (Is that even a thing? I don’t know, I just made it up while sharing my frustration at 4:05 a.m. I barely slept a wink while tossing and turning after experiencing the agony of defeat.)

In my mind, I was asleep, but my head was reliving the last minute of the game. Of course, here I am playing Monday morning quarterback from the cheap seats. By the way, are you wondering why I love the Buffalo Bills? Well, I was born and raised in Buffalo. Yes, I love Buffalo wings. Duff’s has the best wings; the Anchor Bar is a tourist trap. I’m just saying.

Takeaway #1 – Take a Risk

When the Bills decided to go for it on fourth down at the 50-yard line in the first quarter, I was screaming at the TV, “What are you doing? Punt. Play it safe.” They did it again in the fourth quarter when everything was on the line. Fourth down and 13 yards to go. Then Allen threw a strike to the end zone, and they converted on a two-pointer instead of kicking for the extra point. Then I realized, if you want to win in life and business, taking calculated risks when it makes no sense is smarter in the long run.

Takeaway #2 – Reset Your Mindset

I know that sounds like an empty platitude or motivational psychobabble. However, when faced with a pandemic of disappointments, setbacks, or unforeseen incidents out of your control, then choose to get back on the field of life. Staying on the bench of life stewing about what could’ve, would’ve, or should’ve happened is nice to do, but in a split second everything can change. Resetting is reframing on the fly what just happened and deciding to push forward by taking control of your tsunami of thoughts and catching the next wave.

Takeaway #3 – Trust the Process

High performers step up time and time again. Why? Choices, decisions, practice, and commitment to excellence compounded over time show up when the spotlight is on. What’s your process when the lights and cameras of life are off? Everything shows up in the field of business. Do the work and stick to your process. You will live to fight another day. Allen and the Buffalo Bills can hold their heads up high.

Takeaway #4 – Reflect and Celebrate

The Buffalo Bills had been written off toward the end of the season. After two embarrassing losses on national television to the Titans and Patriots, most sports journalists said that the Bills were done and wouldn’t make the playoffs. Somehow, they were able to reflect on what was working instead of what wasn’t. The game is won in your mind first and then the actual win manifests in time. The Bills went back to work and focused on getting a first down, marching down the field one play at a time. Then scoring and finishing off each opponent. One game at a time. Think about where you are right now. You’re alive. You’re breathing. Celebrate the small things that are working. One day you will celebrate your own Super Bowl.

Takeaway #5 – Stay Hungry

The Buffalo Bills represent the heart and soul of a community of people who love their hometown team. Allen and the entire organization represent the grit and the fire-in-the-belly, blue-collar work ethic that is the epitome of Buffalo residents. After four straight Super Bowl losses in the 1990s, after the Bills’ performance against Chiefs, a message has been sent to the league and especially the Kansas City Chiefs: “We are coming for you.” In the words of the Terminator, “We’ll be back.”

#BillsMafia, a victory has eluded us once again, but we are not defeated.

We are invigorated.

We left it all on the field for the world to see. The Buffalo Bills are the beasts of the AFC East. Deal with it.

In life, you’ll have moments of bitter defeat. I invite you to review one of the key takeaways: Leave it all on the field. When I was 15 years old growing up in Buffalo, I almost gave up. According to society, I am supposed to be dead, in jail, or on drugs, etc. Nevertheless, I am still here.

I am a proud fan of the Buffalo Bills. They represent the spirit and pride of amazing people. Even though I haven’t lived in Buffalo for thirty years, I still bleed blue, red, and white. It’s our time, and it’s your time.

The World Awaits Your Brilliance!