What Champions Read

Lou HoltzThe first self-improvement book I ever bought was called, Winning Every Day by Lou Holtz. I was in college at the time and Holtz had recently retired as head coach at Notre Dame. I bought the book more because I was a fan of Notre Dame Football and Coach Holtz and less because I was seeking to change my life.

But that book did change my life.

Holtz’s book forced me to think about what I really wanted to do in life and what kind of sacrifices I was willing to make to get there. It made me realize the importance of every decision I make and it hammered home the fact that success isn’t an accident; it’s the result of positive thinking, hard work, grit, self-determination, and having a clear plan for where you want to go.

Lou Holtz based his book on the ten rules that guided him to a Hall-of-Fame coaching career, which included a National Championship at Notre Dame. I’ve learned that these ten rules are the basis for achieving any goal—as an entrepreneur, as a coach, as a writer, as a parent, in sports, in business, in any area of life. I still refer to these ten rules often to ensure I’m on the right path… [click to continue…]

Tommy LasordaAs manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda won eight division titles, four National League pennants, and two World Series championships during his 20-year career.

A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Lasorda is famous for his optimism and enthusiasm in all aspects of life.

A prime example of just how powerful self-confidence can be, Lasorda’s teams often overachieved thanks to his message of relentless optimism.

Colin Gunderson spent twelve years as Tommy Lasorda’s assistant and he saw first-hand the positive message Lasorda preached every day… [click to continue…]

Coach KThe difference between winning and losing—in sports, in business, and in life—usually comes down to the way you think. Big achievers think much differently than everyone else. They embrace a positive attitude while most people (consciously or not) develop a cynical attitude.

Positive thinking works. Study after study shows that optimists are generally happier, healthier, and wealthier than pessimists. Yet, people often get the wrong idea about what positive thinking is and how it works.

Winners don’t expect that if they just think positive thoughts they’ll never encounter any setbacks. That’s wishful thinking, not positive thinking—and it will only lead to discouragement.

No, winners expect to face adversity. And then they expect to learn from it and overcome it. They expect to get better because of it.

That’s how positive thinking works.

As a basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski has won 1,071 games, 14 ACC conference championships, five NCAA National Championships, and three Olympic Gold Medals. Here’s how Coach K explains positive thinking and the winner’s mindset… [click to continue…]

John WoodenNo coach in history has influenced more leaders than John Wooden. The winner of ten national championships as UCLA’s basketball coach, Wooden’s success philosophy goes beyond sports and leaders from all walks of life have embraced the lessons he taught.

At the center of Wooden’s philosophy is one important rule that the legendary coach repeated often: Make each day your masterpiece[click to continue…]

Buck O'NeilBuck O’Neil is an inspirational baseball legend. A star player and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, O’Neil would eventually become Major League Baseball’s first African-American coach.

Despite growing up in the era of segregation and having to fight ugly racism and unfair oppression throughout his life, O’Neil always exuded optimism and hopefulness. His determination to follow his passion and make a career in baseball never wavered.

One of my favorite stories about Buck O’Neil was one I included in my book, Think Like a Warrior.

The story takes place when O’Neil was just a teenager. He was living in the segregated South in a town where African-Americans were not allowed to attend high school. For three years, the young Buck O’Neil worked alongside his father doing hot, grueling work in a celery farm where he earned just $1.25 a day.  Eventually, O’Neil had seen enough and a conversation with his father would change his life forever.

Here’s how Buck O’Neil tells the story… [click to continue…]

Tim BrownTim Brown is a nine-time pro bowler, a member of both the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he has the fifth most all-purpose yards in the history of the NFL.

With those incredible credentials it’s hard to believe that halfway through college at Notre Dame, Brown seemed to be on the path to a very average football career. He was seeing limited playing time and had even questioned whether he was on the right path as a football player.

That’s when Lou Holtz stepped in. Shortly after he was hired as Notre Dame’s new head coach, Holtz told Brown he thought he could be the best player in the country. Such an idea sounded crazy to Tim Brown, but Holtz didn’t back down… [click to continue…]


It’s not a coincidence that the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, was also known for being one the hardest-working athletes of his generation. His relentless work ethic is legendary.

With Jordan’s work ethic in mind, it might seem odd to hear him say that he always tried to avoid “work.” Yet, it was exactly that approach which allowed him to consistently outwork his competition. Jordan explains… [click to continue…]

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