Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Avoid the flash

A friend passed along a copy of the book "How to Succeed in the Game of Life," a compilation of interviews with 34 great coaches.

The author asked them questions about childhood heroes, how they view failure, overcoming adversity, etc.

Here's how a few of them responded to the questions: (1) How do you define success? (2) What's the best advice you ever received? (3) What are the qualities for success?


Brian Billick: "For me, it clearly is maximizing the talent that you have, whether it's personally or on a team." [at left]

Bill Cowher: "It's finding happiness, and how many people you touch along the way. How many people you can leave your impression on. To me, that's a successful person -- someone who can be a part of someone else's development, is happy with what they're doing, and has a passion for what they're doing."

Anne Donovan: "Success to me is the satisfaction of knowing that I've been prepared. I've done absolutely everything I could do that's in my control to be prepared."

Tony Dungy: "Doing the absolute best that you are capable of doing. That's not the same as winning every game -- it's being as good as you can possibly be."

Herman Edwards: "Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain and accomplish for yourself. It's really what you do for others that matters."

Jeff Fisher: "The hardest part of success is that you have to keep on being successful. You can't just flash. We're being evaluated day by day, week by week, game by game, year after year. So you want to avoid the flash. You want to strive to establish a winning expectation and maintain it."

Tom Osborne: "Doing the best you can with what you have. Having good character, a good work ethic, integrity."

Mike Scioscia: "Achieving your potential as a person."

Tubby Smith: "It's the satisfaction within each individual that they've given their best effort."

Joe Torre: "It's how you feel about yourself. Success is getting the most out of your ability."

Bill Walsh: "Success is progress. It's becoming better at what you do. That's what I always emphasize with the players, that if you can improve your skills and take advantage of it, that's success."

Lenny Wilkens: "If you help people to be better, to accomplish something, to succeed at something, then I think you see some success, and that's not easy to do." [at left]


Dusty Baker: "Roger Craig told me to try to put people in situations that they're most likely to succeed in."

Brian Billick: "Stay true to yourself. I think that people too often try to emulate someone specifically that maybe is not true to their character. And that inevitably is going to fail because you're not able to maintain a consistent level of interaction when it's not true to your demeanor."

Scotty Bowman: "A person has to be his own guy. You can take good ideas from a lot of people, but you also have to have some of your own."

John Chaney: "I always say to my guys, 'The most important day of your life is today. This very minute is the most important minute of your life. You must win this minute. You must win this day. And tomorrow will take care of itself."

Bill Cowher: "Never take yourself too seriously, particularly if you've had success. It takes more than one person to make your success -- that's an element of being part of a team."

Tony Dungy: "My dad...always told me to not complain about problems and look for solutions."

Brad Gilbert: "Don't ever be late. Ever. If you're late, you're not respecting the rest of the guys on the team."

Bela Karolyi: "Always be yourself. Don't try to copy anybody."

Bill Parcells: "One of the more difficult things to do is decide what you want. But decide what you want to do and then be willing to persist until you give yourself the best chance to achieve that."

Tubby Smith: "Just do your job. Do your job and finish it and everything else will take care of itself."

Bill Walsh: "Find something you're extremely interested in and become the very best you could be in that area. In my case, it was offensive football, so I just thrived on learning more and more about offensive football. Commit yourself to something you have a passion for." [at left]


Bill Cowher: "Pride in your work. Successful people take pride and become the very best at what they are given at that time."

Anne Donovan: "The ability to overcome adversity."

Scotty Bowman: "Attitude. I really think that there are a lot of things that you can't change, that are out of your control, but your attitude is in your control."

Herman Edwards: "Perseverance."

Brad Gilbert: "An incredibly positive attitude."

Carrie Graf: "Your ability to handle adversity."

Ken Hitchcock: "You have to be believable. People that play for you and that you work for have to trust that you know what you're doing and that you have a plan to get there."

Bela Karolyi: "Perseverance. To continue to move toward your goal."

Tom Osborne: "Sound character."

Bill Parcells: "Integrity."

Mike Scioscia: "Perseverance."

Tubby Smith: "Honesty." [at left]

Joe Torre: "Honesty."

Bill Walsh: "Patience. Tenacity. Passion."

Lenny Wilkens: "You have to be honest. You have to build trust with people."

John Wooden: "Industriousness and enthusiasm."