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- “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Vince Lombardi. Lombardi goes on to state, “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 practice, and the last one to leave? If you are part of an organization – are you making sure that you efforts are helping the entire organization? Are you willing to jump in and help others even when “it is not my job.” As an educator, do you take the time to visit with other teachers in your field – learning ways to make yourself more valuable in the classroom? Are you willing to WIT? Whatever it Takes to be successful?
2. Truth- “In football and business, a leader must be honest with himself and the people he is working with. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.” Vince Lombardi
Are you being honest with your greatest fan and your strongest critic – yourself? Are you doing the things on a daily basis that will allow you to do more, be more, have more? Or, are you being dishonest to yourself and those who count on you on a daily basis? With today business ethics or lack of ethics, people are looking to be able to deal with reliable, trustworthy individuals and organizations.
3. Excellence- “If you demand perfection of yourself, you’ll seldom achieve it. Fear of making a mistake is the biggest cause of making one. Instead of pushing for perfection, relax and pursue excellence.” Bud Winter
Lombardi stated, “No one is perfect. But boys, if you’ll not settle for anything less than the best, you’ll be amazed at what you can do with your lives. You’ll be amazed at how much you can rise in this world.”
Perfection rarely happens…it is the perfect game thrown by a baseball pitcher, but requires the help and support of his teammates. It is a 300 game in bowling, rarely reached by anyone but the best bowlers. It is the hole in one in golf…a feat rarely accomplished. However the pursuit of excellence should be a goal we all seek.
4. Results- “Winning is not everything, but making the effort to win is.” Vince Lombardi
Hall of Fame basketball player, Bill Walton, stated this about winning- “Winning is about having the whole team on the same page.”
In team sports, there is usually one team that wins, and one team that loses. The team that plays together can often overcome a lack of talent to be successful. A team with lack of character may win games, but will not be successful in the long run, and success will be short lived.
We always set goals for our teams, and winning were not a major goal. We felt if we could reach the majority of the goals set for every opponent, the winning would take care of itself. We wanted results. We wanted improvement each and every time out. What is it that you expect for yourself and your organization?
“There is no limit when no one cares who gets the credit.” John Wooden
5. Passion- “I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.” Gayle Sayers
Are you passionate about what you do? Do you have the first one to the office, practice field, classroom mentality, or are you dragging in as things are starting? Do you believe in what you are doing, in your teammates and/or co-workers, do you have it in your heart, your mind, and in your soul – and are willing to take no 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 it everything. I do, and I demand that my players do.” Vince Lombardi
6. Habit- “The difference between a successful person and others in not a lack of strength, nor a lack of knowledge, but rather the lack of will.” Vince Lombardi
It has been said that doing the same thing today as you did yesterday and expect different results is a definition of insanity. Habit is an act that we repeatedly do. It can be good or it can be bad. Psychologists estimate that 90% of the things we do is habitual. Think about it, starting with your morning routine, and ending to when 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 states-“Success is am 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 a lot of heart, he’s never going to 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 is one of those words that are difficult to explain. I think my definition of mental toughness is- proper mental and physical preparation that enables you to forget the price- the sacrifices that you must pay for success. It is the thing that allows us to climb off the mat one more time after we have been knocked down. It gives us the ability to strive on inspire of the hurt and the pain that we may be experiencing. It is what allows us to rebound from temporary failures that life sends our way.
When I was coaching, we were down 92-75 with five minutes left in the game. I called a timeout and asked my players how much gas they had left in the tank. I knew the other team was tired. I needed them to tell me that they could reach down inside – give it their all for the remainder of the game. We began to press. Our frame of mind is we were not going to lose. The gap closed, slowly at first, and then like someone had opened the flood gates, we were magically back in the game. With :08 seconds left in the game we hit a three to send it to overtime. Our opponent was spent……but mentally we were ready for the challenge. We wound up winning the game 119-111 in overtime.
8. Discipline- “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” Julie Andrews
Normally 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 a group under control. George Washington stated, “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable, procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”
For most of my coaching career, I did not saddle my team with rules. Our basic rule was to be where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to be doing, when you are supposed to be doing it – and doing it to the best of your ability. By following that simple set of rules, my players graduated, for the most part grew into the individuals I can be very proud of today.
9. Perseverance- “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge
Persistence and perseverance may be the single most common quality of successful people. They refuse to lose, to give up. They know the longer they hang in there, the greater the chance for success. Thomas Edison failed to invent the light bulb over 1000 times. When asked by a reported how it felt to fail so many times, Edison responded he didn’t fail, he discovered ways not to invent the light bulb.
H. Ross Perot, Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate says this about perseverance- “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.”
There are going to be times when it isn’t easy. People will doubt your ability, your effort, or your value to the organization. They may not believe in your dream, or have the same passion you do. They may think you are over your head or over the hill. What if Kurt Warner had believed all of the things people were saying about him before the Arizona Cardinals run toward the Super Bowl?
I have been fortunate to know some people who have overcome tremendous odds to reach their goals. Kevin Saunders, bronze medal winner in the Para-Olympics (Barcelona, Spain) wrote a book about his journey title appropriately enough, “There’s Always a Way…Never Give Up!
I leave you with this thought- “The power to hold on in spite of everything, the power to endure-this is the winners quality. Persistence is the ability to face defeat again and again without giving up-to push on in the face of great difficulty, knowing that victory will be yours. Persistence means taking pains to overcome every obstacle, and to do what’s necessary to reach your goal.” Anon.