Leadership One Liners: Peter Vermes

Peter Vermes is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and is the long time coach of Major League Soccer perennial powerhouse, Sporting Kansas City. Being a small market team has it’s challenges, but even with comparatively smaller salary dollars, Vermes is consistently able to put a squad on the field that is able to contend for the MLS Cup. So how does he do it? What is the secret to his ongoing success? One word.


Vermes has taught his team that victory will come through relentless effort. Of course they take time to celebrate big goals, but soccer is a game that doesn’t stop. It keeps going. Victory is built off of a series of successive wins both on and off the field. For Vermes,

“The most important play in the game is always the next one.”

-Peter Vermes

This is a helpful perspective to take into any arena of life because it keeps you focused on going forward. As Vermes also says, “Looking back is wasted energy on my part.” Looking back on accomplishments for too long has the same effect as focusing on our failures, it blinds us to what’s next. Of course we should celebrate and learn from past victory and failures, but there is a time and place for those things to occur, after the game is over and as you are preparing for the next. Failure to keep this perspective can lead to our downfall.

By Ryan Knapp (Flickr: Sporting KC v San Jose Earthquakes) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
If you are a fan of combat sports then you know that we are often the most vulnerable immediately after landing a major hit. The lust for victory and the sweet triumph of the moment can cause our guards to go down as we look for the knock out blow. It also serves to make us vulnerable to the counter attack that can lead to our defeat. Focusing on what’s next keeps our attention dialed in on the long term goals without sacrificing the pleasure of amassing accomplishment along the way.

Do you spend more time celebrating successes of the past, or working towards a win in the future? What is one thing you can do today to increase your tenacity as you march towards victory?

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