Recently I attended the Coaches Leadership Network put on by my church, 12Stone. This event was for local youth sports coaches, to encourage and pour into the people who are pouring into our youth. Ernie Johnson Jr. hosted the event, while John C. Maxwell, Jeff Saturday, and Tony Dungy graced the stage. Although I’m not coaching a Girls on the Run team this year, I couldn’t pass up such an insightful line of speakers for the price of free-99! The information these guys shared was so fantastic. I have compiled a few of my key takeaways here but feel free to shoot me a message for more information!
John C. Maxwell
If you are a leader or manager or have any desires of being one, I highly suggest you pick up any of Maxwell’s numerous books. He is a very successful author and leadership expert. At the CLN he spoke about this question, “Is there a finish line?” Although as coaches our games end and are finite, our leadership and legacy is infinite.
To lead a life and legacy, Maxwell encouraged us to “live an intentional life.” He said, “Most people don’t lead their life, they accept their life.” Is that you? He recommended to pick something and do it every day. “Hope isn’t a strategy, growth isn’t automatic.” If you want to do something, you have to be intentional about it and make a plan.
Whatever you want to be known for, whatever you want your legacy to be, figure out how to do something every day that relates to that.
To accomplish this, he provided us with his Rule of 5:
Know what you want to accomplish. Clearly define your goal.
Have the right tool. If you want to cut down a tree, use an axe and not a baseball bat.
Stay focused. If you want to cut down a tree, focus on one tree. Don’t go taking chops at a different tree everyday because you it will take you much longer to chop down a tree.
Be consistent. Do whatever it is every day. Don’t skip a day. Make a habit out of it.
Stick with it until it’s finished. Don’t give up. Finish the job.
I’ve seen Tony Dungy on TV and know of him, but I didn’t really know about him. After listening to him speak, it’s hard for me to picture him as an NFL coach or even a coach in general. I’m used to coaches who get passionate and loud and raise their voice. Dungy is passionate, but he doesn’t raise his voice.
He also doesn’t lead by barking orders, but rather by setting boundaries and an example. He attributes his legacy to living his life for a higher purpose. Jeff Saturday played for Dungy as an Indianapolis Colt during their Super Bowl victory. Saturday said of Dungy’s leadership style, “The greatest testimony is when he was the same faithful, god-fearing person at his highest high and his lowest low.”
Dungy led by “knowing his players, being honest with them at all times and never compromising his values.” He prided himself on getting to know his players as people and individuals. He encouraged them to go home to their families at a reasonable time and to bring their families out to practice once a week. He would tell them, “You’re getting paid to play football. That makes it your profession- not your life.” He was always honest with them. Every player has an important role and a different role. No team can function with 53 quarterbacks. Everyone knew their role and executed to the best of their ability. Dungy didn’t believe he had the “53 best players in the league” but he believed he had “the 53 best players for this team.” Lastly, Dungy stayed strong in his beliefs. For him, “it was more than just winning a superbowl.” He said, “If he was a better football player when he leaves but not a better person- I’ve wasted my time.”
I was in awe of the quiet and calm way Dungy commanded the crowded room when he spoke. After listening to him, I have no doubt he had the same effect on a room full of Super Bowl winning-NFL players. Unfortunately for me, I will never be described as quiet. But I do hope to affect people positively like Dungy.
Here’s one last hard-hitting Dungy quote, “To know an the impact you have on a person is a great responsibility but it is also a huge gratification.”
So, what’s your legacy going to be? Are you going to be a sports coach or a life coach?