What Champions Read

Emmitt SmithIt’s one thing to set big goals and dream big dreams. It’s another thing entirely to make a total commitment to pursuing those goals and dreams.

Lots of people dream about what they want to achieve and what type of life they want to live, but very few people are willing to go ALL IN on chasing their biggest dreams.

You can’t tentatively pursue a major goal and expect to achieve it.

The odds of success will be stacked against you if you’re not willing to sacrifice other opportunities and distractions.

Too often, people get so worried about what will happen if they pursue their dream and fail that they spend most of their time and energy creating backup plans and building safety nets in case their dreams don’t work out. They always have one foot out the door as they cautiously pursue the thing they really want to do. This approach makes it too easy to quit whenever inevitable challenges and setbacks arise.

At some point, you have to have the courage to go ALL IN on your dreams. At some point, you have to decide that you will FIND A WAY to make this dream come true…no matter what.

The NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, recognized the importance of going ALL IN on a dream early in his career… [click to continue…]

Vince LombardiVince Lombardi is famous for saying, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” And for years there’s been some controversy over how the legendary coach intended the statement he is now synonymous with.

While it is true that Lombardi did indeed repeat the statement often throughout his career, it’s also true that he spent a lot of time trying to explain that his words were taken out of context.

“I wish to hell I’d never said the damned thing,” Lombardi once told a reporter. “I meant the effort… I meant having a goal… I sure as hell didn’t mean for people to crush human values and morality.”

So why did Lombardi repeat the phrase so often if it was something he knew could be easily misunderstood? [click to continue…]

Jim TresselTo live a successful and fulfilling life, you must work for a purpose greater than yourself.

I talked a lot about this principle in my book, Old School Grit. The main point is that you have to have a compelling reason for WHY you’re doing what you do. This reason has to be a driving force that carries you forward when the going gets tough.

A paycheck isn’t a good enough reason. Personal glory isn’t a good enough reason. Proving someone wrong isn’t a good enough reason.

In the short-term, these reasons can fuel you forward. In the long-term, that motivation will dwindle and you’ll lose your enthusiasm.

You have to live for a purpose much greater than yourself.

Jim Tressel, the former football coach at Ohio State and Youngstown State, illustrates the power of purpose with the following story… [click to continue…]

Bear BryantLegendary college football coach Bear Bryant valued perseverance above everything else. He pushed his players further than they realized they could go…and then pushed them some more. He wanted his players equipped to perseverance through the season’s toughest games and through life’s toughest times.

Throughout his 38 seasons as a head coach, Bryant instilled these two lessons again and again:

1- You’re capable of much more than you think you are.
2- One of the worst things you can do in life is quit.

Bear Bryant despised the idea of quitting.

“The first time you quit, it’s hard,” Bryant once said. “The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don’t even have to think about it.”

Bear Bryant was convinced that perseverance was the key to success both on and off the football field… [click to continue…]

Pat SummittAccording to Pat Summitt, the legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach who won 1,098 games and eight National Championships, there is one important quality that separates achievers from everyone else.

In sports, in business, and in life, this is the quality that separates those who rise to the top from those who are content with being average… [click to continue…]

Bo SchembechlerWhenever things aren’t going your way, whenever business is slow, whenever health issues arise, whenever you find yourself in the middle of a losing streak; there’s a tendency to go searching for a quick and innovative fix.

You pay for some innovative marketing system to help your business grow, you buy some magic pill that promises to cure all your health issues, or you go searching for the latest self-help fad everyone is talking about.

While it’s important to adapt to changing conditions, a “quick fix” innovative solution will rarely solve your problems. The solution to whatever problem you’re facing will usually be found in execution, not innovation.

Hall of Fame college football coach Bo Schembechler won 13 Big Ten championships during his 21 years as head coach at Michigan. In the passage below, Bo explains why execution always trumps innovation… [click to continue…]

Mike Leach

Labor Day weekend is one of my favorite times of year. It’s the start of the college football season and it’s also a time for all of us to step back and reflect on what it is we’re doing for a living.

Is my work fulfilling and am I doing my job to the best of my ability?

Is my current profession the job I was born to do?

Am I doing what I truly WANT to be doing for a living?

It’s important to reflect on these questions from time to time. Your calling at age 30 may be a lot different at age 40, 50, or beyond.

With these questions in mind, here’s one of my favorite stories about a man who found his true calling and wasn’t afraid to go after it—regardless of what the naysayers told him. [click to continue…]

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