Chasing Greatness Blog

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

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Apply The 60-Minute Rule To Avoid Getting Fired… Or Embarrassing Your Team

It took all of fifteen minutes for sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson to bring up Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live locker room fiasco during CBS’s nationally televised broadcast of the AFC Championship game. And while her broadcast booth cohorts quickly refocused viewer attention on the Tom Brady special unfolding on the field, the mention of Brown’s week-old off-field antics underscore a topic I’ve been thinking about for a while now.

Consider this: What happened to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin could happen to any boss across America. Brown’s unauthorized live streaming of his coach’s post-victory pep-rant from inside the locker room, provided the world with an unfiltered view of the team’s most intimate interactions. It also accentuates how distracting and damaging a single player’s (or employee’s) indiscriminate use of a social media platform can be to the collective efforts of a team (or company). The Steelers should be been single-mindedly focused on surmounting the very real (not real-time) challenges that crop up on the road to a Super Bowl championship. instead they were swept up in a self-induced maelstrom.

What Nick Saban Taught Me About Greatness And It’s Worst Nemesis: Complacency

As I sat in my living room watching the final seconds tick away—and the Clemson Tigers posted a dramatic come-from behind victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide to claim the NCAA Division 1 College football championship—I got to thinking about my favorite topic: Greatness.

I’ve studied Greatness for more than 25 years—interviewed the world’s top athletes (Michael Jordan, Walter Payton and John Smoltz) and most acclaimed coaches (John Wooden, Tony Dungy and Joe Maddon). I can say, unabashedly, that I consider myself a bit of an authority on the subject.

Yet as I watched Clemson’s Dabo Swinney embrace Alabama coach Nick Saban at game’s end I felt like a giddy novice—an armchair amateur mesmerized by the unmitigated greatness of two men who had each commanded a crew of some one hundred young athletes to compete for college football’s loftiest summit.

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...

What Saturday’s Belichick – O’Brien Showdown Taught Me About Winning

As Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien trudged across the field through a postgame swarm of players, coaches, photographers and security guards to congratulate Bill Belichick, who had just dealt him the most painful blow of his nascent head-coaching career—a soul-crushing 34-16 loss that jettisoned Houston from the playoffs, just two wins shy of a Super Bowl appearance—I couldn’t help but wonder two things.

First. Wow! I wouldn’t want to have walked in Bill O’Brien’s shoes last Saturday—even for a minute. As if coaching a high stakes NFL playoff game weren’t harrowing enough, he had to go up against his former boss—a man he spent years imitating and adulating, whose wildly successful career he can only hope to one day emulate. O’Brien must have been racking his brains, wondering—“What did I do to deserve this? I finally arrive on football’s biggest stage—in the most critical game of my coaching career—and I have to outwit the very man who has been my greatest source of inspiration. And who—it just so happens, is the most decorated coach in the NFL today. And among the best ever!”

A Lesson From Ronda Rousey: Don’t Let Your Job Define You

Not that long ago, UFC star Ronda Rousey was billed as “the world’s most dangerous woman” and with commercial endorsements and movie appearances seemed poised to make a major impact on pop culture. That was before two "setbacks" in the Octagon. While her star has dimmed considerably in those last two fights, Rousey’s story offers valuable insights and serves as a warning for those of us who get too wrapped up in our jobs.

Stringing together a series of twelves straight wins, Rousey rocketed to the top of her sport while her looks and charisma helped her transcend her brutal sport. News stands across the country featured magazines with Rousey on their covers, including the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She was selected as the Best Female Athlete Ever by voters at Hollywood came calling as Rousey appeared in “The Expendables 3,” “Furious 7,” with other projects also lining up.

Then it all came crashing down....

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.

Some of the Winning Teams Don Yaeger works with

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