He Didn’t “Leave” Work Early – Maybe The Greatest Strength of the Great Peyton Manning

“You cannot retire from a commitment.”
Elton Trueblood


No, Peyton Manning did not have his greatest offensive game at the 2016 Super Bowl. But, he did not lose the game, either, which really is quite something.

As the speculation mounts about what’s next for Peyton, let’s marvel at the greatest aspect of his game – his preparation. He simply outworked other players in the “study” department.

Manning Studying FilmOf all the quotes I’ve read last night and this morning, this one from his father was the most revealing (from After the perfect ending, what’s Peyton Manning’s next rodeo?):

“Peyton’s always had a theory about this,” said his father, Archie Manning. “There are guys in the locker room who always seem to be planning their second career, which is sometimes smart, but he always felt like some of those guys ought to be studying their plays a little more and maybe playing a little better on Sunday.”

“Studying their plays a little more…” This quote reminded me of some great advice from Sheryl Sandberg in Lean In. I wrote about this in this blog post: If You Shouldn’t Leave before You Leave (Sandberg…), Then You Shouldn’t Retire Before You Retire – (Thinking About our Slippage in Innovation):

It reminds me of the counsel Sheryl Sandberg offers in Lean In.  She writes about women who kind of “leave work” when they first start thinking about having children.  That is, they leave work at least emotionally, and they no longer show up to work with the kind of drive they had before they started thinking this way.  This happens a few years before they actually have children.  Ms. Sandberg’s advice:

“Don’t leave until you leave.” 

In other words, work all-out, all-in, right up to the last moment you walk out the door.

Peyton Manning, Super BowlWe’ll know soon enough if this was his last game. But if it was, I’ve got a hunch that no one approaching retirement ever worked with more unwavering focus than Peyton Manning did right up to the end of his very last play.

And that may be the greatest strength of the great Peyton Manning.


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