My Three Rules

When I’m coaching, I always emphasize three foundational “rules” for my players to guide them towards success. These rules are not sport-specific, and anyone can follow them. If you do, you’ll find success — guaranteed.

Rule #1: Make a “Perfect Effort”

I don’t say “do your best,” because that’s something people hear so often it sounds trite. At best, it’s become an empty phrase, and at worst it‘s become a cop-out for failure.

Giving your “perfect effort” means that you poured every bit of energy you had into the task. You could not possibly have done more; you went above and beyond what anyone could have expected of you.

Rule #2: Say, “Yes, coach. I will.”

When your coach gives you instructions, respond that you understand. Then, follow them.

If their directions are unclear, ask them to explain another way. It is your responsibility to be sure you understand their feedback.

You should not assume that you know better than your coach — or your teammates. Trust that the people around you are trying to help, and do your best to respond to their feedback. That is how you will learn.

Rule #3: Maintain a Positive Attitude

Your attitude, positive or negative, is contagious and will spread throughout your team quickly. But while a positive attitude will help others around you to excel, a negative attitude will drag everyone down.

Put another way: You cannot be a good teammate and throw a tantrum at the same time.

As I grow older, I more clearly understand the lesson that sports are designed to prepare us for life. These same lessons that I teach my children can also inform my workplace interactions: with colleagues, clients, and competitors.

If I give my perfect effort, respond to feedback, and maintain a positive attitude, I will excel at whatever I do. But, if I fail to adhere to any of these three rules, I will inevitably fail.