Blog 26.2

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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 second blog will discuss the advice received from Buck O’Neill and Herb Brooks.

Buck O’Neill was a player and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League, and eventually a scout for the KC Royals. Despite the oppression that minorities often endure, O’Neill decided to use his minority status as an advantage to connect with a diverse group of players. When O’Neill visited Coach McNeely, he boldly challenged McNelly to stop thinking he was “special” and immune to disappointment. He told him, “The losing. The critics. My own self-doubt. It’s all taken the joy out of the game for me”….You can’t blame anything outside of you for taking away your joy. Only you can take the joy out of your life.” While it’s appropriate to consider how experiences and situations affect you, dwelling on it only keeps you stuck in the negativity. Instead, O’Neill encourages him to focus on his passion and love for his work, prompting Coach McNeely to write the following affirmation:


I am passionate about what I do for a living. I’m grateful for the talents and interests I’ve been uniquely blessed with; they lead me to my purpose in life. I am fully committed to doing something I love and something I was born to do. I do not wait for someone to hand me the life I want to live, I go out and create it on my own. My passion for what I do gives me a competitive advantage over those who don’t have the same level of passion. I zap negative thoughts and focus on the positive. I find opportunities in every obstacle. Life is good. I am grateful for all the wonderful blessings in my life.”

Legendary coach hockey, Herb Brooks, warned Coach McNeely about being complacent and “playing it safe.” His 1980 hockey team was never expected to beat the mighty Soviet Union team; however, their epic win shocked the world and was eventually the inspiration for the movie, Miracle. Brooks asked McNeely, “Do you realize how many great things have never been accomplished because somebody decided he needed to be more realistic?” Brooks challenged McNeely not to think small, and not let the fear of failure keep him from taking risks. He also taught him the difference between managing and leading a team. Managing is keeping the status quo, while leading it taking a group to places they have never been and encouraging them to dream big, which is an incredibly courageous act. He stated, “When you settle for mediocrity, you end up with even less. When your goal is to simply survive, you’ll never thrive.”


I set huge goals and fully commit myself to achieving those goals. I ignore those who tell me to be more “realistic” about my goals. Naysayers represent the voices of fear and cynicism and I will not listen to them. I remind myself all the reasons my dreams CAN come true. I will become the best version of myself and the only way to reach my full potential is to aim as high as possible. Every day, a person makes the choice to either move forward or backward. Today, I choose to move forward and chase my biggest dreams. Miracles will occur when I work hard to follow MY dreams.”

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