Rugby at Work?

My life-long mentor and former rugby coach, Gordon Campbell, once stressed the importance of controlled aggression.  I swear one day I will write a book entitled, Life’s Lessons from a Rugby Pitch.  Rugby is a game of elegant violence.  The adage is that although soccer is a gentlemen’s game played by hooligans, rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen.  Believe it or not, rugby was designed by lawyers who were tired of ‘football.’  The ‘rules’ are actually ‘laws’ but I digress.  Where am I going with this?  It’s all about PASSION!!! (Is there an award for most random opening?)

Once again, I am here with more questions than answers, but maybe this will start a conversation.  How do you control your passion?  I have made a practice to perform constant SWOT analysis of my projects at work.  Today, I identified a major threat to my projects and possibly my position with the agency.  It forced to me to reevaluate my worth to the Agency, both short and long term, as well as where I fit in the Agency’s vision and mission.

I reacted by gathering my thoughts, building coalitions, and asking some tough questions of my peers.  The result was a passionate, heart-felt email to the team of leaders the next level up in the chain of command.  Although I attempted to remain pointed and fact based, I allowed my emotions to creep into the correspondence.  Thankfully, my leadership appreciates my passion and continues to work with me to improve my communication skills.  Words are just words until they prompt an action.  When we write passionate emails, whitepapers, corrective action requests, and the like, are we sure to remove the emotion.  This is a tough concept to grasp for sure.

I will go back to what I am more comfortable talking about; rugby.  Some will look at the game as pure violence.  How else do you describe players recklessly throwing their unpadded body in the way of a ball carrier to prevent progression of the ball?  Students of the game know that it isn’t reckless abandon at all.  As a ball carrier, I would take all of my passion and press down the field into contact while under perfect control as I remained on my feet until support could arrive, to drop to the ground in perfect position to cycle the ball back to my teammates to ensure success of the mission; to score a try.  On defense it is the same story.  Unlike the missiles you see in football, rugby is about solid contact, controlling the ball carrier, and attempting to turn their body making it easy to steal away possession.  In the best circumstances, a tackler would have enough body control to jump to their feet and steal the ball themselves before support could arrive.

So what’s the point?  Not only am I trying to selfishly build interest in the newest Olympic sport (Go USA!), I am trying to create a metaphor for controlled aggression.  It is important as we find our passions, that we keep them under control.  It is vital for our message that we keep our emotions in check and the facts upfront.  Just as I am new to the game of Passion to Purpose, I once was new to the game of rugby and ran aggressively, unsupported down the field only to turn the ball over.  Just as with rugby I was able to control my game ensure my passion was realized, I will do the same corporately.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply