Life is All About Key Plays

Steve Glaveski
4 min readJan 10

Life is like a game of football.

For most of the 90 minutes, the teams cancel each other out.

It’s the key moments and plays that differentiate winners from losers.

And these plays can make heroes or villains out of us.

Argentina went into the 2022 World Cup Final not having lifted the coveted trophy since 1986, when Diego Maradona was at the peak of his powers.

For a country plagued by internal political and economic strife, the exploits of its national football team are a universal outlet, and Argentina’s Lionel Messi serves as deity.

And at 3–2 up, deep into the second half of extra time, it looked like Argentina’s drought would finally come to an end.

But with only several minutes left on the clock, a forward run by France resulted in Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel handling the ball in the penalty area.

The ensuing penalty was neatly tucked away by French wunderkind Kilian Mbappe, breaking Argentinian hearts, and sending the game into a penalty shootout.

This was a key moment and an own goal for sudden villain, Gonzalo Montiel.

This was to be the World Cup that Messi finally lifted, propelling him into the realm of football immortality, alongside the likes of Pele, Beckenbauer, and of course, Maradona.

Had Montiel sacrificed it all with a foolish handball inside the area?

In life, we go about our days, and so many of them blur into the last.

We wake up, maybe we exercise exercise, prepare breakfast, get the kids ready for school, go to the office, try and make time for family and friends, and for the most part, do our best.

But if we’re honest about it, looking back on our lives, it’s the key moments that made us who we are today.

If I look back on the past 15 years of my professional life, despite showing up to the office about 4,500 times in that span of time, there are several key plays that got me to where I am today.

  1. Getting fired from my first post-college job, at the age of 22

This forced me to reflect on my approach to work, pursue work aligned with my strengths…

Steve Glaveski

CEO of Collective Campus. HBR writer. Author of Time Rich, and Employee to Entrepreneur. Host of Future Squared podcast. Occasional surfer.