What Does It Mean to #Billieve?

Imagine giving a press briefing after every time you lose.

You have a rough day when nothing goes well…your lesson tanks and all the students are ‘revolting’…your emotions get the best of you and you say things to a coworker or family member that you immediately regret…


Untitled documentIn these ‘post-loss’ times how do you handle yourself? How do you see the loss and your next steps? Do you blame others, brush it off as the world is against you, or internalize the failure and ‘turtle’ (ya know: stay in-dressed in your sweats-eating ice cream out of the carton-feeling bad for yourself?)?


As a Billiever (aka, a serious Buffalo Bills fan, really…just google it) I have seen year after year of loss and squashed hopes. I harken back to the Glory Days of Marv Levy, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and the gang that brought us 4 Superbowl games (and yes all losses). I was in High School for those 4 memorable years and they were right up there along with my memories of prom, friendships, and meeting up at the ‘Silo’.

I really have no choice but to be a Billiever. You see, some of my earliest memories are standing at the edge of my lawn on Abbott Rd flagging cars to park in our yard for Bills games, being land-locked at our house each gameday (traffic for hours), and my Dad exclaiming, “Pizza with the works!” after each win. After all, my 4 older brothers and I were in a football family growing up a half mile from the Bills stadium. I have a lot of history with the Buffalo Bills and I’m not the only one. If you want to smile and enjoy some feel-good emotions, just take a look at the effects of our recent Big Win. Also, my friend Teresa Gross (@teresagross625) shared her thoughts about this awesome football community in her post, A Football Community Celebrates.

So, what does it mean to Billieve?

It means taking each loss as a next step forward. It means staying positive…at least positive enough to know that one loss doesn’t mean the end. It means, as Bills coach Sean McDermott stated, you “continue to grow” and “learn lessons” to help you move forward. It also means you rally together for the good of the team. If you haven’t heard about all the awesomeness of Bills fans lately check out the generosity towards the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation after Andy Dalton threw the winning touchdown pass that made the Bills Playoff berth possible.

You might think this post is all about football but it’s not. It’s about being reflective and continuously looking ahead to grow…professionally, personally, or as a sports team. One loss doesn’t define you…heck even several losses don’t define you!

Just ask the Buffalo Bills and the #Billievers!

The Power of 3 Little Words

Be an encourager. The world has enough critics already.

What’s the saying “you won’t find me running unless something’s chasing me”? Well, one day I was taking the path of one of my longer walks. It’s really quite enjoyable- it has ups and downs, a small neighborhood and a busy road, trees offering shade and scorching sunshine. On this day I found myself thinking, “I wonder what it might be like to run a little?”. No commitment- isn’t running just like…faster walking? I don’t think you need anything fancy- I had my sneakers and music- which to me is all you need to run.

Now I’m not ready to call myself ‘a runner’, I’m not into labels, but that day when I was running I guess I was a runner. Since that day I have run/walked this 3 mile journey with great eagerness and each time with more running than walking.

On the 4th or 5th time I was taking this journey, I was shuffling back (can you picture it?)  and saw this pleasant looking woman, probably 20 years my senior, doing her walk across the street from me. Conscious about my beet red face, dripping sweat, and shuffling I glanced nicely at her and heard her yell, “Good for you!” displaying two thumbs up to me. As I yelled back, “Thanks! You too!” I was filled with a newfound motivation to keep going. I picked up my posture, lengthened my stride, and even smiled a little after she passed. I’ve been thinking about this experience, both personally and professionally…

What motivates you to try something new and challenging?

What or who is there to keep you going…giving you your second wind?

For me it was this nice, older woman. A stranger. Maybe she saw some of her younger self in me? Maybe I reminded her of her daughter? Or maybe she just felt sorry for my sweaty, shuffling self and knew this thing called ‘running’ was a challenge for me? No matter why, this small gesture of encouragement was enough to pick me up and keep me going for the last mile. I had needed a cheerleader and she came along at just the right moment- at the precise time that I was thinking, “What am I doing? I’m not a runner! This is torture!”.

During another running journey I was surprised to see a tiny, furry caterpillar working it’s way across the busy road. I was compelled to stop and be that cheerleader for this little creature. Remarkably, it made it across safely, somehow knowing to travel across the road rather than along the road where it would have surely been squashed by the oncoming truck. I wondered what was so compelling on the other side that it felt the need to cross the road? Maybe because I was there, cheering it on, saying…

“Good for you!”