What Champions Read

Why You Should Aim for Perfection

Don ShulaVince Lombardi famously said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

Well-intentioned people will often remind us that “nobody’s perfect.” They tell us this after a disappointment, encouraging us to bounce back quickly and to not beat ourselves up for failing to be perfect.

However, we have to be careful that we don’t lose the competitive edge that comes from striving for perfection. We don’t want to use the fact that perfection is unattainable as an excuse for not striving to be our very best.

Only once in the 96-year history of the National Football League has a team finished a season perfect—with no losses and no ties. That team was the 1972 Miami Dolphins, which won Super Bowl VII and finished the season with a 17-0 record.

Don Shula, the legendary coach of that team says that aiming for perfection was one of the keys to all of his teams’ success—even those teams that failed to finish undefeated… [click to continue…]

Villanova 2016 National ChampsVillanova basketball coach Jay Wright chronicled his team’s 2016 national championship season in the book Attitude. In this book, Coach Wright gives an inside look at everything the team went through during its national-title run while also sharing the most important lessons he’s learned—lessons that lead to success both on and off the basketball court.

Throughout the book, Jay Wright gives credit again and again to a man he says was vital to the success his team had. This man was not a fellow coach nor was he a key player on the team. This man was the team chaplain and his five spiritual keys to success served as the foundation for everything the Wildcats accomplished…

According to his résumé, the Reverend Rob Hagan is Villanova’s Associate Athletics Director in charge of Sports Medicine and Strength and Conditioning. To us, he is simply “Father Rob.”

Father Rob is our team chaplain—our go-to spiritual adviser—and as such he plays a key role in our pre- and post-game rituals. He is an integral, indispensable, and undeniable part of any success we have as a team.

He may wear a white collar, but Father Rob is a guy’s guy—able to move effortlessly in any circle without drawing attention to himself. He graduated from Villanova and went on to become an attorney, working in a prosecutor’s office before becoming a man of the cloth. He radiates quiet strength.

Father Rob is a source of constant inspiration to the Wildcats. Here are a few of his key messages.

1- To win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket. In other words, you have to be willing to put forth the effort to get the result.

2- Give your two cents. It doesn’t matter how big your contribution is: What matters is how much heart you put into it.

3- In the words of Saint Augustine, do not be content with what you are: Push yourself to become what you are not.

4- Do not have a stiff neck. Allow yourself to look around for the larger opportunities to grow.

5- There is a sunrise after every sunset. Eventually you’ll see the lessons you’ve learned from disappointments.

— Jay Wright, from his book Attitude

These five principles serve as the foundation for success in any endeavor. Put another way:

1- Nothing happens until you start taking massive action. You can pray and meditate and visualize your goals (all important keys to success), but until you get off the couch and start taking massive action to reach your goals, nothing will happen.

2- Whatever your current role is, put your heart into it and do it to the very best of your ability. No matter what your job title is, there will be times when you have to do things you don’t particularly want to do. The attitude you choose to have when doing these tasks makes all the difference in how well you do them and the impact you can have on others along the way.

3- Keep pushing yourself to become the very best you can be. The quest to become the best version of you never stops, no matter how many past successes you’ve had.

4- Set your sights on a clear goal, but be open to change along the way. The path to success is never a straight line. Be willing to take detours and adapt to changing conditions along the way. And remember to enjoy the journey—bumps and all.

5- Something good can come from every defeat and disappointment. The adversity you encounter is intended to make you stronger and wiser. A setback is only permanent if you fail to learn from it. Hidden within every disappointment is an essential lesson you’re supposed to learn. Ask yourself what that lesson is. Make sure you learn from every failure while remembering that tomorrow is a new day full of new opportunities.


Lou HoltzWhen you study the lives of high achievers, you’ll find that the happiest and most successful people are those who find their true calling and pursue it relentlessly. The career they pursue is much more than a job for them; it’s a purpose. What they choose to do for a living is far from just a way to pay the bills; it’s a calling they believe they were born to do.

Knowing this, we all want to find our true calling in life. We all want to find that one career we were made for.

It’s not always easy to find your calling, but when you do magic happens.

Finding your true calling is not to be taken lightly and there’s more than one way to find it. (See this article on how Mike Leach discovered his calling.)

Lou Holtz, the legendary college football coach who led Notre Dame to the national championship in 1988, has a simple three-step process for finding the career that will be your calling… [click to continue…]

The Best Way to Motivate Yourself and Others

Tom Coughlin“People often say that motivation doesn’t last,” Zig Ziglar, the late great inspirational speaker and business leader, once said. “Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”

We all need to be motivated and motivated regularly. Motivation is the fuel for charging forward, especially when we face adversity. If we’re going after anything worthwhile, we know our willpower will be tested again and again along the way. Regular motivation is what keeps you moving forward when times get tough.

But how do top achievers motivate themselves and the people they’re leading? What’s the best way to get results? Is it through fear? Is it through money? Is it through inspirational speeches? Or, is there another way, a better way?

John Wooden famously said, “Pride is a much better motivator than fear. It produces far better results that last for a much longer time.”

Especially early in his career, two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin would sometimes motivate with a tough-love, fear-based approach. But after four decades of coaching, he came to recognize that pride was the best motivational tool available… [click to continue…]

Mike LeachLess than 4% of the 128 current FBS head football coaches have never actually played college football. Mike Leach is one of those rare few.

And while those odds alone are enough to discourage most from pursuing such a career path, Leach is even more unique in the fact that he planned on becoming a lawyer and earned a law degree BEFORE deciding to become a football coach.

What’s more, when Mike Leach decided to chase his dream of becoming a football coach, he was already married with a child, he was broke, and he had $45,000 in student loan debt.

Most people would have looked at Leach’s situation and told him it was way too risky to pursue coaching as a career. But, most people don’t view risk the same way Mike Leach and other high achievers do[click to continue…]

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