Learning & Development

Need Hope for the Rest of 2022? Tear a Page Out of Ted Lasso’s Playbook

It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives of the past two years. We’re all set for the COVID-19 outbreak to be over and for life to return to normal (or something closely resembling it). We’re ready to stop worrying about how the virus is going to affect our lives. Some of us are even chomping at the bit to be back in the office, but we continue to battle the pandemic’s effects, whether it’s depression, health anxieties, or just the frustration caused by the seemingly never-ending battle with the disease. So, do we have anything to be happy about? My short answer is “yes, a lot.”

First, a Confession

I’m going to admit something now: My latest guilty pleasure is watching the TV show Ted Lasso. Some of the guilt comes from the fact I’m in the middle of viewing the two seasons (22 episodes) for the third time. Yes, I said third time. It’s that good.

If you haven’t seen the show, it’s about an American football coach who is hired to manage an English soccer or (as they call it over there) “football” club. It stars Jason Sudeikis and is on Apple TV.

The show captured my attention because the lead character, Ted Lasso, is an optimist. Sure, the series is funny, well-written, and really clever, but in the end, I can’t help but like Ted because he’s such an optimist. It’s a joy to watch him interact with his colleagues and players because he always tries to be a positive force in their lives.

5 Lessons to Learn From Ted Lasso

Believe in hope. For starters, Ted teaches us we should always have hope. In one episode, he declares, “I believe in hope.” He has his challenges for sure. He doesn’t always succeed, but he always has hope. He always believes things will turn out for the best. It’s said hope is not a strategy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t pay dividends.

Spread positivity. Ted is so positive, and his upbeat attitude causes those around him, even the biggest skeptics, to buy into his philosophy. It’s contagious, and it infiltrates every part of the organization.

Care about others. Ted has tremendous love for his family but also cares about his players, coaches, and colleagues. He wants to really know them—their backgrounds, interests, and passions. He builds relationships and trust because he genuinely cares about others.

Embrace change.Having flown halfway around the world to coach a sport he knows nothing about, Ted certainly embraces change. His methods aren’t conventional. He’s willing to try new ideas. He does things that leave others shaking their heads, because he’s not confined to doing things the same way as others.

Put team first. Finally, Ted preaches team above self. It’s not what’s best for any individual—even the team’s stars—it’s what’s best for the group. Ted doesn’t allow his ego to get in the way. And he holds his players to the same standard. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when individuals put the team’s goals above their selfish interests.

I love Ted Lasso because he’s filled with optimism and so darned hopeful. In a world filled with bad news and negative stories, he provides an alternative. He demonstrates the impact you can make with a positive attitude and genuine care for others.

Pandemic Silver Lining: Rethinking Priorities

COVID-19 has taught us life is really precious. We began to focus on things we may have taken for granted and reexamine our priorities. Those are really good things we’ve learned from a really bad situation.

Rebecca Welton, the owner of Ted’s team, at one point says, “Every disadvantage has its advantage.” The pandemic certainly has its disadvantages, but it also has provided some advantages.

I’m not saying everything is going to be perfect. We’ll continue to have challenges and struggles. There will be difficult situations, sad moments, and bad news. But we’ll also enjoy some awesome experiences and witness triumphs and successes. And we all have the opportunity to make someone else’s life just a little bit better, be it with a kind word or a meaningful gesture. Those little positives add up in a big way.

My greatest lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is that I want to experience life with the people I love. That’s it. Not being able to be with family because of the health constraints or do the things that bring me joy has reminded me how important those things are. Therefore, I’ve decided to make a concerted effort not to miss out on doing them for as long as I’m able. It’s that simple. Without the pandemic, I’m not sure this seemingly simple thing would have been as apparent as it is now.

So, tear a page from Ted Lasso’s playbook and be a force for positive things. Let’s make the world a better place one person at time.

Dan Oswald is CEO and president of Simplify Compliance, which publishes this newsletter and many other educational materials and products for employers, HR managers, and other professionals. You can reach him at doswald@simplify.compliance.com.