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Vince Lombardi’s Nine Principles of Success
Vince Lombardi’s nine principles of success:
“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” Vince Lombardi
1. Commitment – “A person’s quality of life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Vince Lombardi. Lombardi goes on to say, “A winner must be committed to discipline, committed to sacrifice and self-denial, and committed to hard work.”
How committed are you? If you are an athlete, are you the first one at training and the last one to leave? If you are part of an organization – do you worry that your efforts are helping the whole organization? Are you willing to jump in and help others even when “it’s not my job?” As an educator, do you take the time to visit other teachers in your field—to learn ways to become more valuable in the classroom? Are you willing to WIT? Whatever it takes to succeed?
2. Truth- “In football and business, a leader must be honest with himself and the people he works with. Loyalty and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.” Vince Lombardi
Are you being honest with your biggest fan and your biggest critic – yourself? Do you do things every day that will allow you to do more, be more, have more? Or are you being dishonest with yourself and those who count on you every day? With today’s business ethics, or lack thereof, people are looking to be able to deal with trustworthy individuals and organizations.
3. Excellence – “If you demand perfection from yourself, you will rarely achieve it. Fear of error is the biggest cause of error. Instead of striving for perfection, relax and strive for excellence.” Bud Winter
Lombardi stated, “Nobody’s perfect. But guys, if you don’t settle for anything less than the best, you’ll be amazed what you can do with your lives. You’ll be amazed how far you can go in this world.”
Perfection rarely happens…it’s the perfect game thrown by a baseball pitcher, but it requires the help and support of his teammates. That’s 300 games of bowling, which is rarely achieved by anyone but the best bowlers. It’s a hole in golf…a feat rarely accomplished. However, the pursuit of excellence should be the goal we all strive for.
4. Results- “Not everything is winning, but putting in the effort to win is.” Vince Lombardi
Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton had this to say about winning – “Winning means having the whole team on the same page.”
In team sports, usually one team wins and one team loses. A team that plays together can often overcome a lack of talent to be successful. A team without character may win games, but it will not be successful in the long run, and the success will be short-lived.
We always set goals for our teams, and winning was not the main goal. We felt that winning would take care of itself if we could achieve most of the goals set for each opponent. We wanted results. We wanted to improve every time. What do you expect for yourself and your organization?
“There are no limits when nobody cares who gets the credit.” John Wooden
5. Passion – “I learned that if you want it bad enough, no matter how bad, you can do it.” Gayle Sayers
Are you passionate about what you do? Do you have a first to the office, practice, classroom mentality, or do you creep in as things get started? Do you believe in what you do, in your teammates and/or associates, do you have it in your heart, mind and soul – and are you ready not to take excuses from yourself and your teammates? Does that fire burn deep within you?
“There is only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give everything. I work and demand from my players.” Vince Lombardi
6. Habit- “The difference between a successful person and others is not in the lack of strength, nor in the knowledge, but in the lack of will.” Vince Lombardi
It has been said that doing the same thing today as yesterday and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. A habit is an act we repeat. It can be good or bad. Psychologists estimate that 90% of the things we do are habitual. Think about it, starting with your morning routine, until you retire at night. There are hundreds of things you do the same way every day, often without thinking about them.
Robert Ringer, author of Million Dollar Habits says, “Success is a matter of understanding and religiously practicing specific simple habits that always lead to success.
7. Mental toughness – “If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and heart, he’ll never come off the field second.” Vince Lombardi
You often hear coaches tell their players, “We have to be mentally tough.” Just what is mental toughness? It’s one of those words that’s hard to explain. I think my definition of mental toughness is – the proper mental and physical preparation that allows you to forget the cost – the sacrifices you have to make to succeed. It’s what allows us to get back up off the mat after we’ve been knocked down. It gives us the ability to tend to the inspiration of pain and hurt that we may be experiencing. It is what allows us to bounce back from the temporary setbacks that life throws at us.
When I was the coach, we were up 92-75 with five minutes left in the game. I called a time-out and asked my players how much fuel they had left in the tank. I knew the other team was tired. I should have been told I could reach inside – give it my all until the end of the game. We started to press. Our attitude is that we will not lose. The gap closed, slowly at first, and then as if someone opened the floodgates, we were magically back in the game. With :08 seconds left in the game, we hit a 3-pointer and sent it to overtime. Our opponent was spent……but mentally we were ready for the challenge. We won the game 119-111 in overtime.
8. Discipline – “Some people think of discipline as work. For me, it’s a kind of order that frees me to fly.” Julie Andrews
Usually when we hear the word discipline, we associate it with punishment. According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, discipline can be defined as: to train or develop by instruction or exercise – especially in self-control; to bring the group under control. George Washington stated, “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable, brings success to the weak, and respect to all.”
For most of my coaching career, I didn’t burden my team with rules. Our basic rule was to be where you need to be, do what you need to do, when you need to do it – and do it to the best of your ability. By following that simple set of rules, my players have graduated, mostly grown into individuals that I can be very proud of today.
9. Perseverance – “Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men of talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated dropouts. Perseverance and determination alone are all-powerful. ” Calvin Coolidge
Perseverance and persistence may be the most common qualities of successful people. They refuse to lose, to give up. They know that the longer they stay, the better their chances of success. Thomas Edison failed to invent the light bulb more than 1000 times. Asked by the report how it felt to fail so many times, Edison replied that he had not made a mistake, that he had discovered ways not to invent light bulbs.
H. Ross Perot, Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate, says this about persistence: “Most people give up just when they are ready to succeed. They give up at the one-yard line. They give up in the last minute of the game, one foot from the winning touchdown.”
There will be times when it won’t be easy. People will doubt your ability, your effort, or your value to the organization. Maybe they don’t believe in your dream or have the same passion as you. They might think you’re in over your head or over the hill. What if Kurt Warner believed all the things people said about him before the Arizona Cardinals made a run to the Super Bowl?
I have been fortunate enough to know some people who have overcome overwhelming odds to achieve their goals. Kevin Saunders, bronze medalist at the Paralympic Games (Barcelona, Spain), wrote a book about the title of his journey appropriately: “There’s always a way… Never give up!
I leave you with this thought – “The power to persevere against all odds, the power to persevere – this is the quality of a winner. Perseverance is the ability to face defeat again and again without giving up – to continue in the face of great difficulty, knowing that victory will to be yourself. Perseverance means putting in the effort to overcome any obstacle and do what it takes to achieve your goal.” Anon.
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