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10 Lessons on Life, Love, and Leadership from Ted Lasso

January 25, 2022 | 20min read

Award-winning actor, comedian, producer, and writer Jason Sudeikis has inspired a revolution of optimism with his character Ted Lasso. While a good story and a strong mustache play a key role in the success of Ted Lasso, it’s also about hard work, the right attitude, and surrounding yourself with the best team.

Here are a few inspiring thoughts from Jason from the latest MX Visionaries Forum:

  1. Be a “yes, and..” person. “Yes, and..." is a rule-of-thumb in improv comedy that suggests you should accept what another person has stated ("yes") and then expand on that line of thinking ("and"). This works just as well in the business world, fostering the free sharing of ideas and open communication.

    You can make a living with “no, but…” — but you can change culture with “yes, and…”.

  2. Listen to people that know better. If your sketch gets picked at Saturday Night Live, you take it to all the different departments like hair and makeup, wardrobe, special effects, etc., and they tell you their ideas on how to make it happen. They are right 95% of the time because they know what they are talking about and have thousands of hours of experience.

    Listening to people that know better is a compliment to you as a leader because that means you hired the right people.

  3. Don’t play a jerk. “I don’t create something with the anticipation of its reception. I didn’t write it for the laugh. I just didn’t want to play a jerk.” When we did the initial commercials, we came up with ideas and just improvised. When we did a second one, it unlocked traits in the character. But then it was just fun to play.

    If we were making each other laugh, that was a good sign.

  4. Be a good leader, and a good human. Optimism, enthusiasm, presence, playful, open, vulnerable — each of those words is core to leadership. It depends on how you want to lead, but these are pretty good things to have even if you are not a leader but are a human being alive on earth.

  5. Have a crush on your boss. If you have a connection with someone at work, just like at school, it is more fun. What if you had a crush on your boss? I don’t mean a romantic crush, but someone you look up to and who inspires you. It makes a good vibe.

  6. Find your way back to positive. I have a better idea of how to get back to a positive mindset when I don't have it. Sometimes you gotta scream your brains out. Sometimes you gotta sing your heart out. Release allows for a chance for love to fill that space.

  7. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. When Ted forgives Rebecca for what she does, that is something that is not heroic or surprising to people who have watched the show. But it is heroic and surprising to people who live on earth during this time. Things have gotten so binary that forgiveness feels like weakness.

    Being able to truly forgive someone is powerful. You don’t have to forget but maybe forgive and stop carrying that weight.

  8. A great mentor is someone who sees something in you that your baggage doesn’t allow you to see. People can see something in you and encourage you. Some people do it directly like my basketball coach. He told me there’s no reason I can’t be the best point guard in this league. But, my baggage would have said there was no way. It makes you think and that’s a big thing.

  9. Build your culture with love. You can tell a lot about people by the way they talk about things they love versus what they hate. If someone had the capacity to love and to express it, that was the right fit for our writers. That enthusiasm was a good building block for us.

  10. Make it a virtue. Whenever something would go wrong, Charlie Day, one of the creators and actors of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, would say to make it a virtue. If we could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

You can watch the full MX Visionaries Forum replay by registering here.