The first rule of Marcus Mariota is that he does not talk about himself. He can do many things—roll out and throw across his body, hang in the pocket and zip the ball down the field, run past linebackers when he must—but self-praise is not one of them.
It is a good thing, then, that everyone has a Mariota story.
So begins Kevin Clark’s story on The Ringer about our quarterback here in Nashville. Clark provides us with our first lesson in the lede:
Great leaders don’t talk about themselves.
Who are the leaders in your organization? The quarterbacks? They may not necessarily be the CEO or VP or Sales Manager. They’re the people who lead by example with a consistency and responsibility and sense of duty for others on the team.
Clark’s story includes countless stories from teammates, coaches, and executives about not Mariota’s words, but his actions.
Darnell Arceneaux, Mariota’s high school coach, said there was a tradition at Saint Louis High School in Hawaii in which the lowest quarterback on the depth chart would pick up equipment after practice and carry it to the locker room. That tradition stood until Mariota wouldn’t let anyone else pick up balls and cones at practice.
“So we’ve got this guy who has already committed to Oregon and he’s bringing in as many footballs as he can,” he said. “It was amazing.”
Mariota was born in Hawaii, and there’s a word that runs deep in the Islands:
After spending some time there, I researched the word and its significance.
It’s a deeply-rooted part of Hawaiian culture that means “family,” but it also means more than that.
Family in Hawaii includes blood relatives, but it also includes anyone in the true inner circle of your world.
What’s more? Ohana insists that families be cooperative and honor and remember one another. They are bound to serve and bond together.
That’s what Mariota grew up believing. Clearly he continues to practice his beliefs. Just (as writer Clark did) ask his former teammate at Oregon (and now Kansas City Chief) De’Anthony Thomas:
“Shout-out to Marcus’s parents. Great job.”
Read the article (there’s one F-bomb). You’ll hear story after story about my quarterback’s actions, but you won’t hear any of those superlative stories come from my quarterback himself.
He doesn’t talk by example.
He doesn’t think by example.
He leads by example.
As Gandhi said:
As Jesus said in Matthew 25:40:
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” (ESV)
Are you letting your actions speak for you?
Are you modeling the behavior you wish to see in others?
Are you doing for the least of your brothers and sisters?
Are you living a life of humility and grace and (using a phrase my new friend Terese Main coined) overt kindness?
Mariota can clearly answer “yes” to these questions. Who on your team could do the same?
Find those people. You’ve found your quarterbacks… regardless of what the org chart might say.