288: Vince Lombardi: What It Takes
Nearly everyone treats acting on the environment as a burden or chore—especially would-be leaders who don’t do what they say others should. They lead people to inaction.
Effective leaders don’t discourage. I find role models to inspire me.
Vince Lombardi tops many people’s lists of all-time top coaches. The NFL named the Superbowl trophy after him. His teams dominated the game.
He shared the core of his ethos in a short essay, What It Takes to Be Number 1. It is an ethos of integrity, of finding your best and living your best. Acting on the environment in this time of crisis brought out my best and continues to. I am acting to bring out the best in you and everyone. I haven’t accomplished what Lombardi has, so I’m sharing his message and applying it to acting on the environment.
I won’t tell anyone to stop spreading facts, figures, doom, gloom, and coercion, but I think they’ll get more results sharing something more like Lombardi did.
I believe it will be more effective. It will be a lot more fun too.
Here’s his essay:
What it takes to be number one
By Vince Lombardi
Winning is not a sometime thing; itâ€™s an all the time thing. You donâ€™t win once in a while; you donâ€™t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and thatâ€™s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I donâ€™t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.
Every time a football player goes to ply his trade heâ€™s got to play from the ground up â€“ from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. Thatâ€™s O.K. Youâ€™ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, youâ€™ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If youâ€™re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, heâ€™s never going to come off the field second.
Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization â€“ an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win â€“ to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I donâ€™t think it is.
It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. Thatâ€™s why they are there â€“ to compete. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules â€“ but to win.
And in truth, Iâ€™ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didnâ€™t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.
I donâ€™t say these things because I believe in the â€˜bruteâ€™ nature of men or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any manâ€™s finest hour â€” his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear â€” is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle â€“ victorious.