CVy5SVJWIAAIFLcSuper Bowl 50 is over and with it the love affair we were having with the young, “man-of- steel-like” quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton. At 6′ 5″ and 245 pounds his physical appearance alone commanded our attention. Throw in that smile, charm, and simple childlike exuberance he put on display all season and we couldn’t help but get drawn in to a dab-filled good time!

But the Panthers lost and it wasn’t pretty. In fact they looked overwhelmed from the beginning. Deer in the headlights big time! No dab from Cam and the only dabs we did see were mocking gestures from Broncos fans and players. On top of that, there had to have been some seriously disappointed kids who were expecting to receive an authentic NFL Super Bowl game ball in celebration of a Panther touchdown. It didn’t happen.

This is a post about Cam’s leadership by the way, so let me get on with it. Here’s what I like:

  1. His ENERGY. is contagious and ENERGY matters for every leader. The sideline selfies, ball giveaways, jumping, and chest bumping is electric. Honestly, I thought he seemed tired during the Super Bowl. For the life of me I couldn’t spot that same spark of ENERGY that we saw during the playoff wins.
  2. His CONTENTION. This is where he gets called all kinds of names but I’m ok with it being a positive leadership trait at times. Perhaps it’s what draws people to Donald Trump. It’s the equivalent of singing, “I did it my way…”.

    I say you lead in your own armor. Don’t be a jerk about it (like Trump IMO) in terms of how you treat others but do lead in the way the good Lord gifted and made you.

  3. His CONFIDENCE. Some would call it “cockiness” and perhaps there’s a bit of that going on for a 26 year old millionaire on a big stage. Still, who do you want leading you? Give me the confident guy and we’ll work on the humility over time.
  4. His PAST MARKED BY A TURNING POINT. Trauma can focus us.

    The roll over car accident didn’t leave him with any life-threatening injuries but there’s something to having your body jarred that also jars your soul. He was awakened to the reality of just what a gift it is to be on the stage that he gets to perform on. My guess is, it is was what drove him to “enjoy” and “have fun” this season.

The ONE TO GROW ON. YES, he needs to GROW. But so did you when you were in your 20s. Biggest area of GROWTH: understanding that leaders are always leaders even when we come up short of our dreams. For whatever reasons Cam hung up his leadership cape and settled instead for a sulking dismissive post Super Bowl interview that truly embodied the fictional comic book character he emulates. He showed us that there really is no Superman. There are only real men and real leaders who step up on the biggest stages and lead despite the circumstances.

This was a small setback. Personally I have great hope that in the coming years Cam will indeed become a leader that takes his team to a Super Bowl championship. In fact this loss may just be the catalyst he needs.