Episode 244: Bill Curry – The 6 Characteristics Of A Champion (Lombardi, Starr, Unitas, Shula, Bryant)

Bill Curry is a two-time Super Bowl Champion. As an NCAA coach, Bill was named National Coach of the Year at Alabama and later became the first head football coach ever at Georgia State. As an ESPN commentator, he regularly shared his thoughts with a worldwide audience of millions. When Bill talks of discipline and success, his life experience is proof-positive of the effectiveness of his methods.

Bill played for some of the greatest coaches of all time, including Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, and Bobby Dodd. His teammates included legendary players like Willie Davis, Bart Starr, and Johnny Unitas. Bill has studied the lives and methods of his personal heroes from past generations, ranging from Helen Keller and Rudyard Kipling to Theodore Roosevelt and Goethe. When Bill talks of leadership and success, his is a personal message molded by his extraordinary mentors and role models.  He is also the best-selling author of TEN MEN YOU MEET IN THE HUDDLE: LESSONS FROM A FOOTBALL LIFE. 

Episode 244: Bill Curry – The 6 Characteristics Of A Champion (Lombardi, Starr, Unitas, Shula, Bryant)

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“Everyone has the will to win, but not everyone has the will to prepare.”

Show Notes:

  • The 6 common characteristics of champions:
    • Show up – on time, be early, every time, be punctual, read to be your best
    • Singleness of purpose – Vince Lombardi, “his focus was powerful”
    • Unselfish – Bart Starr – “he literally gave the shirt off his back for others”
    • Tough – Don’t make excuses, be great in the 4th quarter, never blame anyone else
    • Smart – Prepared, always last person off the field.  Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry did this
    • Never quit – Never give up
  • FEAR?  Prepare out of fear? – “There is some truth to that.”  “Everyone has the will to win, but not everyone has the will to prepare.”
    • Personality, GRIT, Heart, Soul — “Keeping prepping when others aren’t”
  • The difference between good and great coaches?
    • Bobby Dodd (Georgia Tech) was a great coach.  A great coach can change your life.  They study the game so intently.  They intimidate other coaches with their brain.
    • Vince Lombardi would not tolerate prejudice or racism.  He had more African-American players than anyone else.  He was so precise in his methodology.
    • Don Shula had the ability to build relationships with each player
  • How can this be translated to the business world?
    • Reach inside the souls of the leaders — the gift we have is “Magna Nimitas” — Greatness of spirit.
      • Each person has a unique spirit – it’s beautiful.  WE have brilliance within us.
      • Directly challenging the leaders to understand their people
      • Narcissism destroys leaders
  • Bill sat down with his players and went over their goals
  • We all need to have our own board of personal advisors, mentors
  • Bill’s 4th year at Georgia Tech — John Robert Bell said “I know you can play/” –> The impact that had on Bill was immense
  • Bill as a mentor — He loves doing it.  He hears from at least one play every single day
  • Being humble — “I know two types of people.  People who are humble and those who are about to be humbled.” — “Ray Nitschke humbled me pretty good”
  • The huddle – We need every teammate on every play to survive.  The huddle is a metaphor for our culture.
    • Why does the huddle matter?  “You can’t be racist, sexist, everyone is part of that huddle.”
  • Unique exercises Bill does at companies — Understand each individual unique finger print, joining hands across aisles
  • The importance of intellectual curiosity and asking questions — “People ought to be skeptical… Ask questions”
  • “There is a fellowship of the miserable.  I love them, but I avoid them.”
  • Success?  His wife has helped him understand what success is… It used to be winning games.  He was miserable when he lost.  She taught him that’s not a rational way to live.
    • Now success is “Am I making a contribution to the well being of others?”
  • Important marriage advice — Do what you’re told and what you say you’re going to do.  Learn to listen.
  • Learning Leader – “I love that title!”

“Success = Am I making a contribution to the well being of others?”

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