This is not a post to inspire aspiring footballers. But people who have followed the career of Zinedine Zidane will be able to relate to it.
Zizou, as he is fondly known, was one of the most decorated footballer of his generation.
He had won it all. His heroics at Stade de France, Paris brought France the glory that they had been waiting for, FIFA world cup in 1998.
That was apparently the first football match I had seen on TV.
Ever since, Zizou had a meteoric rise in his stature in the world of football.
8 years later the day arrived again. This time in Berlin. Another world cup final. It was supposed to be his final career match too.
With game tied 1-1in extra time, Zizou having scored for France early, something unexpected happened.
The calm, monk like personality (not just because he is bald) headbutted the opponent who provoked him.
That’s it. Zizou was red carded, he went into the tunnel expressionless, France lost 15 mins later.
The world was shocked on Zidane’s behavior. Few months later, when it was revealed what was said to him by opponent, the reasons for inner anger of Zidane started becoming even clear.
All his career, Zidane encapsulated football fans and pundits with his mesmerizing football. He also maintained a very calm and composed personality. This calmness was also evident in his football style.
But, maybe it wasn’t as natural as it seemed. Maybe it was a pure demonstration of control of emotions and focus towards display of skills required on the field.
The problem when transformation is not natural is that at some point the natural instincts will surface out. The sad fact about these instincts is they do not care about the occasion or surrounding or the price at stake.
Imagine a snake right near your leg and you choose to stamp it before it raises its hood to bite you. If you are suppressing snake’s hood with you leg, you are only safe till you lift your leg.
I can relate to it very closely now. I have had my headbutt moment this week.
As you might have read in my previous blog, me and my anger were born together. Over the last decade, I have worked very hard in understanding my anger, being mindful about the outlet of this anger.
But somehow, as in case of Zizou, may be it was more of suppression than actually understanding and overcoming the emotion.
I had built a very good reputation and relation across teams. I had been working in a role which mandated bridging the differences in two teams (who had egos flying all around the board room)
And finally this week, I succumbed to my natural instinct and vented out while a question was raised. This was right in the middle of board room with all key stakeholders around me.
This was my headbutt moment. Many people were shocked seeing that kind of behavior from me.
That is the thing with expectations, you are as god as your last mistake. All this while, people were ok tolerating the same from others because they had no hope from others. But with me, I had set high expectations.
With that one moment I am now in the same ship as others.
This moment is blessing for me though. I now truly understand that partial suppression and partial transformation is no good.
The milk has to turn to butter… complete metamorphosis has to happen. Else the Zidane in you is waiting to headbutt
Jai Shri Hari!