Blog 26.1

Our next blog series summarizes a unique fable of a college football coach as he receives guidance from mysterious visits from legendary coaches. Think Like a Warrior: The Five Inner Beliefs that Make You Unstoppable by Darrin Donelly will show us how to develop a “Warriors” mindset through adversity. Our first blog will discuss the coach’s background and his first conversation with Coach John Wooden.

Chris McNeely reached the top of his profession and quickly lost it all. He was arrogant and reckless with his finances and ideals. McNeely stated about himself: “I was so full of swagger….I really did have some kind of mental edge that the rest of the coaching world would never catch up with. It was a gift, I believed. Something that couldn’t be explained.” McNeely’s mantra was win at all costs, even telling his team: “From here on out, every single thing you do and every single thing I do must be about one thing and one thing only: winning at all costs.”

While McNeely desperately tried to figure out what went wrong when his career, he had a mysterious “dream” that included a visit from former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. In McNeely’s conversation with Coach Wooden, Coach Wooden told the story of his early career struggles. Most people remember Wooden’s wins and few knew about the mistakes he made as a young coach. Wooden told McNeely that he often made excuses and complained about things that weren’t “fair,” and once he realized that things are not always fair in this world, he felt liberated because he could stop wasting time on things he couldn’t control.

Coach Wooden emphasized that how you handle the things that are under your control, determines your success. Coach Wooden encouraged McNeely to “do the most with what he has at any given moment.” Loving the process instead of focusing on the results allows you to play free in the moment. Wooden warned McNeely that this philosophy is easy to adapt when things are going well, but very difficult to maintain when faced with adversity.

McNeely’s “visit” with Coach Wooden inspired him to journal the following affirmation as a reminder of his sage advice:


By focusing on only what I can control, my effort and my attitude in the present moment, I will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing the results will take care of themselves. I will not lose myself in the past or worry about the future. I will focus on the present. If I truly give my maximum effort to be the best that I can be today, I will be successful. NOTHING can take that from me

  • I focus on only the things I have total control over:my effort and my attitude

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