Bill Belichick’s 6 Lessons for Success

Bill BelichickBill Belichick is the NFL’s most successful current head coach. As leader of the New England Patriots, Belichick has won five Super Bowls, which ties him with legends Vince Lombardi and George Halas as the only head coaches to win five NFL titles. He is currently the longest-tenured coach in the NFL and he ranks fourth all-time in number of victories.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Belichick shared his thoughts on leadership and success. He offered these six lessons for finding success and happiness in life…

No. 1: Don’t Chase the Money, Follow Your Passion

From ultra-successful entrepreneurs and CEOs to legendary coaches and athletes, the world’s top achievers repeat this piece of advice again and again: don’t chase the money; find something you truly love to do and the money will find you.

Not surprisingly, Belichick shares this sentiment.

“If there is something that’s your passion when you’re young, do it,” Belichick said. “Let everything else take care of itself. Don’t pick a career for money or some other reason. Do what you love, because it will never feel like work.

No. 2: Trust the Process

Echoing legendary coaches ranging from John Wooden and Bill Walsh to Dean Smith and Nick Saban, Belichick stresses that you have to stay focused on only the things you can control. You can’t get caught up living in the past or worrying about the future. You have to focus all your energy on doing the best you can in the present moment and trust that the results you seek will take care of themselves.

“You can’t look back,” Belichick said. “We don’t talk about last year. We don’t talk about next week. We talk about today, and we talk about the next game. That’s all we can really control. The rest of it will take care of itself.”

No. 3: The Battle Is Won before It’s Fought

Vince Lombardi famously said, “The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.”

Belichick wholeheartedly agrees with this principle. He says the only sign the Patriots have in their locker room is a quote from The Art of War: ‘Every battle is won before it is fought,’”.

It’s a constant reminder that games aren’t won or lost on Sundays, they’re decided during the preparation that precedes them. To properly prepare for the current battle, Belichick wants his players and staff to follow these four rules at all times:

1- Do your job.
2- Be attentive.
3- Pay attention to details.
4- Put the team first.

No. 4: Trust Your Instincts

Once you’ve put in the proper preparation, it’s important to trust your instincts. Most people are afraid to take risks and try something different, but Belichick (like so many other great leaders from so many other professions) knows that risk-taking is essential to success.

“Don’t talk yourself out of ideas just because somebody else hasn’t done it, or just because it’s not normal,” Belichick said. “If you believe in it, don’t be afraid to use it.”

No. 5: Develop Positive Personal Relationships

Bill Belichick says he owes his success to all the coaches and leaders who have helped him along the way. He also despises how much time young people spend on social media. These two points aren’t mutually exclusive.

Belichick believes people today are so caught up in their impersonal online connections that they’re missing out on the opportunity to build positive, real-world relationships.

“In the end, success is more about who you know than what you know,” Belichick says. “Because everyone teaches you something. You listen to everyone, and bit by bit, you figure things out.”

No. 6: Character Is More Important than Talent

Talent alone is never enough to be successful. Lou Holtz may have said it best when he declared, “Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.”

Urban Meyer has similar thoughts on the role that talent plays in our lives. He said, “Toughness can achieve things that talent by itself can never accomplish… Relentless effort (not talent or intelligence) is the key to achieving great things in your life.”

In other words, talent and natural ability will only take you so far. It’s only the first step. How high you climb after that is up to you.

To be successful, you have to go beyond talent; you need character, grit, and a positive attitude.

“Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling,” Belichick said. “Success is not all about talent. It’s about dependability, consistency, being coachable, and understanding what you need to do to improve.”


These six lessons from Bill Belichick made him one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL and they will lead you to success in any other endeavor as well.