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Sports And Business – How To Succeed At Both

My friend and mentor John Klymshyn shared with me this quote by legendary football coach Lou Holtz as he addressed his wide receivers and running backs (those most likely to get to the end zone and score)… “When you get to the end zone… act as though you’ve been there before.” The discussion was about pricing and how easily we give up naming the price we know we’re worth.

That made me think about coaches and athletes and what goes through their mind to psych themselves up to win a game. So I want to share some of these quotes with you and see if they inspire you in the same way they inspire me.

Let me start with the man who I think had the drive and determination you could see every time he played. Fearless is the word that comes to mind and that man is Michael Jordan who said, Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael, with seconds to go in a game, with the score working against you, you made the shot and won. I saw you do it. And I never forgot that moment of composure and confidence and the willingness to risk.

Vince Lombardi said, Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” Coach Lombardi, thank you. We all need to embrace those words.

Bear Bryant… Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.” 

And this one really resonates: Another quote from Vince Lombardi, Let me tell you what winning means… you’re willing to go longer, work harder, give more than anyone else.” Nothing in the world that I’ve ever encountered came easily. It took long hard hours, commitment and sacrifice.

Here’s one from the legendary Bobby Knight, The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

I had a lot of fun looking these up, and there are hundreds more. I looked for what would resonate in a career driven person. How does coaching and “playing” relate to our day to day lives where we work as leaders, as followers, as team members? The next time you hear from me, I’ll be talking about coaches as leaders and what we specifically can learn from them. This time I hope I shared some food for thought that moved me personally. I invite you to share your thoughts, and even to share quotes that inspire you.

So thank you, John Klymshyn, for giving me this platform to think about my business life and how to improve it through the eyes of sports.


Andrea Michaels is the founder/president of Extraordinary Events, a Los Angeles-based, multi-award-winning event agency. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower – Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and a contributor to numerous other business books. She may be reached via amichaels@extraordinaryevents.com.