Did You Bring Lunch?

It’s March 6, 1971, in Madison Square Garden, New York City, and Muhammad Ali was attempting to regain his Heavyweight Championship title from Joe Frazier after three years out of the ring.

Ali had previously been stripped of the title and not allowed to box during those three years because he refused to join the United States Army. During that time, Joe Frazier had become the Heavyweight Champion.

After a gruelling first round, Ali came back to his corner and said to his trainer, Angelo Dundee: “Did you bring lunch?” “What?” Dundee asked, thinking maybe his fighter was suffering from a concussion. “Did you bring lunch?” Ali asked again.

“No,” Dundee answered, more uncertain than ever about the condition of his fighter. “Why?” “Because this guy hits harder than either of us ever imagined, and this is going to be a looooong fight!”

Ali would lose to Frazier by a technical knockout in the 15th round.

I thought to bring some light-heartedness to this issue, as that was a story told by the American sports journalist and author Howard Cosell, but behind the humour belies some essential points about a champion – having a sense of humour and being prepared for the journey.

We are on the last day of August 2021, and since March 2020 a lot has happened.

Tragedy, pain, and sorrow never seem far away; with news on Afghanistan, Delta Covid variant, Supply Chain issues and driver shortages, it can be a long four months or one filled with hope and optimism or much of the same. We have the power to decide.

If you’ve brought lunch – your planner, and a handful of contingencies if things don’t work out, you may well be able to turn the next four months into one where you survive and thrive for the rest of 2021.

If you need help with putting that lunch pack together, galvanizing your team or putting a Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder process in place, get in touch.