“I’m pretty conservative and laid back, but the big thing is to just be careful,” Ben Roethlisberger told reporters in 2005. “I’m not really a risk taker.”
That’s one point of view. Others might disagree considering Roethlisberger has had a series of off-the-field problems. Known for his ability to dodge defensive lineman, linebackers —probably even bullets if you threw them his way — he hasn’t been able to dodge some idiotic mistakes that he’s made since entering the league in 2004. Along with his championships and $100-plus million contract, he defied his coach’s orders and rode his motorcycle without a helmet —- and wound up with a concussion, broken jaw and other injuries after a wreck in 2006.
When asked about the dangers of this, “It’s a choice,” Roethlisberger said. “I just get out there and relax, I don’t try to take too many risks.”
Now a civil suit accused Big Ben of sexually assaulting a young woman at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nev. Charges are pending.
Then news came that Roethlisberger once again was being investigated in an allegation of sexual assault at a nightclub in Milledgeville, Ga. This time the encounter took place after a night of bar-hopping in a quaint central Georgia college town about 30 miles from where the two-time Super Bowl winner owns a lake home. Charges were dismissed this week for lack of evidence but the court of public opinion seems unanimous that Roethlisberger is guilty of poor judgment — which puts his perception of not being a risk taker in sharp contrast to his team’s owner, coaches, fans and pretty much the rest of the world see it.
What is interesting, although not necessarily surprising, is that the same risk taking and reckless abandon the fans adored and teammates respected about Ben on the playing field is now being criticized as careless and stupid.
What is clear is how you feel about him not wearing a helmet, while riding what even the manufacturer has called the fastest street-legal motorcycle on the market, or his off-the-field birthday celebration behavior will depend on your point of view.
A point of view is merely the outcome of combining different beliefs into value systems that in turn drive our behaviors. Roethlisberger’s behavior unquestionably fits the Challenger personal value system. For the Challenger, “life is a bitch, then you die.” To the Traditionalist, the “antagonist” to the Challenger, you have an obligation to serve, honor and obey. Challenger and Traditional are just two of four points of view found when studying and discussing personal value systems.
Challengers, like Roethlisberger, place high value on personal satisfaction and self-preservation. They continually search for experiences that feel good to them, even if they seem risky or self-indulgent to others. Personal rights and priorities come first. Their approach to life is “get-it-while-you-can.” Challengers believe people should just do their own thing and delayed gratification is to be avoided.
Now let’s stop for a minute: how did you feel when you read about the Challengers? Where you thinking, “That sounds like a pretty good way to live” or was your blood starting to boil? If stupid, self-centered, and irresponsible were words that came to mind when you first heard about Roethlisberger, you might be a Traditionalist. Traditionalists are to Challengers what Laura Bush is to Sarah Palin
Responsible living is the key end value for Traditionalists. They live to do what is best for the family, organization, team, community, and so on. Their purpose: make the world a better place. As opposed to the “me” Challengers, Traditionalists value the “we.” They don’t mind giving more than get and believe it is their duty to work hard. Rewards come in time for Traditionalists.
Traditionalists value devotion, loyalty and dependability. They make commitments to others – and keep them! They play by the rules and expect others to do so. They pull their own weight, stick with you through thick and thin, and their word is their bond.
If my description of Traditionalists gave you goose bumps and you long for the good old days, there is a reason – you likely see the world from a Traditionalist point of view.
Which now brings me back to Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger described himself as “conservative, laid back, and careful.” These are not words that come to mind when I think about Ben Roethlisberger. But then again, that’s my point of view. The question that remains for many people including his employer is — can Roethlisberger change his ways? If personal value systems hold any credence, he might modify his behavior but the urge to push the envelope will remain forever strong. Without some behavior restraint and moral constraint, Roethlisberger will likely prove that past performance is strong indicator of things to come.
Remember, what YOU value is just YOUR point of view. And your point of view drives your behavior.
To learn more about Challengers, Traditionalists, and the other two viewpoints (In-Betweener and Synthesizer), I’d highly recommend reading “The Leader Within: Learning Enough About Yourself to Lead Others”.