“We won because of LOVE!”

-Dabo Sweeney

Project Rise SPOTLIGHT: Dabo Swinney

Project Rise SPOTLIGHT: Dabo Swinney

What if you made the emotion of LOVE a competitive advantage?  Well, that is what the leader of the Clemson Tiger’s and 2017 National Champions did.  As a young boy, Dabo Swinney received his name from his brother who while trying to say “Dat boy,” created “Dabo.”  Coach Swinney is a breathe of fresh air and has modeled a leadership style and culture within his program that has drawn me into studying his methodology.

Dabo and I have two things in common: 1. We both share the middle name Christopher (his birth first name is William), and 2. We both have the same word of the year (I had no idea about this until his post game speech with Sam Ponder that rocked me): LOVE.

With not much time on the clock and trailing Alabama, Dabo gave some bone chilling advice on how to be clutch:

“Let the light inside you shine brighter than the light that’s on you.”

Many leaders and coaches believe they need to motivate by fear.  I believe that discipline, hard work, and accountability are definitely needed – but what if we switch up the phrase “tough love” and instead “love tough?”  Dabo has modeled that his entire career.

There is a reason why Dabo is one of the top recruiters in the nation: LOVE for people.

There is a reason he walked on at Alabama and earned a scholarship: LOVE to compete.

There is a reason that after taking a few years off of coaching to sell real estate, he didn’t give up his dream of being a head coach: LOVE of the game.

There is a reason he has won Coach of the Year in the ACC and Nationally: LOVE to lead.

Here are my 4 Pillars of Being a LOVING Leader and creating a winning team culture…inspired by Dabo:

  1. Energy – loving energy is contagious.
  2. Vulnerability – take ego out of the equation and big things will happen.
  3. Sacrifice – imagine how far we can go if no one cares who gets the credit?
  4. Trust – we are stronger together – do your job and trust your teammate will do theirs.

How can you incorporate more LOVE into your home, workplace, or team?  Love is the most powerful emotion one can feel and give to others.  Like Dabo displayed, love might be the missing link to creating the environment or outcomes you have been looking for. 

Because in the end, love is as much a choice, as it is a feeling. 

If you didn’t see Dabo’s post game interview moments after winning the National Championship vs. his alma mater Alabama on the final drive…it’s one for the ages and a must see.  Oh, and one final thing…I LOVE you guys!