Chasing Greatness Blog

Weekly inspirational examples of greatness that we can apply to our every day lives.

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A New Year's Challenge: Share Your Dreams

A New Year’s Challenge: Share Your Dreams

In a couple of days some of us will make New Year’s Resolutions and some of us will share them with others as a way to hold ourselves accountable.

But have you ever been challenged to share your dreams? Earlier this year I spent a grueling week on the basketball court, learning about teamwork and dreams at “K Academy” which advertises itself as “America’s number one college basketball fantasy camp.”

Laugh all you want at the idea of a motley group of middle aged men of varying degrees of basketball experience grinding it out in full court games. Playing on the famed court inside Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium under the watchful eye of the legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski with his former players as coaches is certainly above our athletic abilities.

But Coach K and his players offered valuable lessons...

We Can All Be Better: The Wooden Effect

We Can All Be Better: The Wooden Effect

Pam Hendrickson isn’t a sports fan but she’s been impacted by the greatest coach of all time.

After working with Tony Robbins for 18 years, rising to serve as his vice president of content and product development, Pam founded the Content Solutions Group. She’s also an excellent producer as I can personally attest after having worked with her on an exciting new project.

In recent months, in partnership with Success Magazine, our team has traveled across the country, interviewing some of the leading figures in the sports world, from Joe Torre to Steve Kerr, about how Coach John Wooden, the legendary teacher who led the UCLA Bruins to 10 national titles, impacted their lives. We also garnered insights from business and thought leaders, including John Maxwell and Dr. Mehmet Oz, on how Coach Wooden influenced them as they pursued Greatness.

After watching all of the interviews with these high achievers, Pam noticed the people Coach Wooden impacted were...different.

Have Fun On The Job: Lessons From The World Series

The Cleveland Indians opened the World Series with an impressive win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night but the American League champions almost didn’t get there.

During Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Indians looked like they were in trouble. Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer had injured his finger a few days before in an accident and the wound reopened during the first inning. Manager Terry Francona had to face a nightmare scenario in the opening inning by coming out to the mound and pulling his starter out of the game.

But Francona, who led the Boston Red Sox to two World Series championships, knew how to keep his team loose and keep their focus on enjoying the experience. Francona looked up to the scoreboard and saw an ad for a 50-50 raffle which had already pulled in $82,000 from fans in the stands. Turning to first baseman Mike Napoli, Francona pointed out the large pot of money which could be won in the raffle.

“Nap, we gotta get in on that,” Francona told his first baseman.

4 Lessons On Managing Sudden Leadership Transitions From One Of The Best

In the final seconds of a loss at the hands of Illinois State in October 2005, the Southern Illinois University football team experienced what appeared to be a nightmare.

Coach Jerry Kill, one of the masters of rebuilding college football programs, collapsed on the sidelines, his body convulsing as he suffered a seizure. Players panicked, not sure what to do, as Rebecca Kill, who knew that her husband had epilepsy, scrambled from the stands to be near his side. Coach Kill was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. In a moment which shows how perspectives change, he would later call the seizure one of the best things to happen to him.

Even as his cancer went into remission, in the years ahead at Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois University and, eventually, the University of Minnesota, the sight of Coach Kill suffering seizures on gameday would be repeated five more times. But, despite Coach Kill going down on the sidelines, his teams handled it far differently than his players did against Illinois State. Even as Coach Kill was being attended to during those games, Tracy Claeys, one of his assistant coaches, would put on his headphones and lead the team. It was the ultimate example of that core sporting (and business) principle: next man up.

Rare Air: John Maxwell, Urban Meyer Show Great Leaders Are Always Learning

The truly great ones, no matter their level of expertise, are always learning. Unlike many of us who grow complacent, the truly great are aware that there is always room to improve and ways to grow. They never believe they know it all.

Just as important, the best of the best know there are always places to go to learn more and people to learn from.

I experienced this lesson firsthand recently while recording the first episode of “Go Big,” a new monthly online learning series featuring John Maxwell, the top leadership expert in America, and yours truly discussing leadership with the greatest minds in sports.

“Go Big” launches on Sunday, November 20. To learn more about it and for a FREE opportunity to watch our first interview, go here. Full details on the program Maxwell and I will host are at

Bold Leadership Matters

Bold Leadership Matters

Thomas Jefferson was fed up. For more than 15 years, he had been fighting to convince the American government that something needed to be done about the hostage crisis along the Barbary Coast of North Africa.

For centuries, state-sanctioned pirates from Algeria, Tripoli (now Libya), Algiers, and Morocco, had been aggressively pursuing European and North American trading vessels, sometimes merely stealing the ships’ cargo, other times capturing the crews and holding them as slaves until exorbitant ransoms were paid. Other countries could pay an annual “tribute” to the leaders of each of the Barbary nations in return for a promise to be left alone, but the newly-independent United States (which could no longer claim protection under the British flag) could hardly afford to meet these demands. In 1795, more than ten years after Jefferson picked up the cause, tribute payments to Barbary rulers made up more than 16% of the entire national budget, and the demands continued to increase. The nation was on the verge of bankruptcy to pay off foreign terrorists.

Enough was enough. When Jefferson was sworn in as president in 1801, after a bitter and hard-fought campaign against John Adams, he was determined that the harassment and endangerment of American lives would not continue.

Some of the Winning Teams Don Yaeger works with

Hewlett Packard