Failure is a part of life. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you’re doing, you’re going to fail.When we are terrified of failure, we end up paralyzing ourselves. We become so afraid to fail that we end up sitting on the sidelines, watching as the game, and our lives, pass us by.When you’re more concerned with the way that you fight than you are the outcome of the fight, you begin to realize the real victory is in the struggle. The real victory is in the process, not just the outcome.You were made to be in the arena. Fighting. Striving. Pushing yourself to the absolute limit. The arena is where you’re going to make your impact on the world.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: fear of failure; process; outcome; results; seeking perfection; success; struggle; what gets rewarded gets repeated; be better than good enough; failure is an event not a person; criticism;

Week 20: ONE DAY

Do you live life with a “one day” mindset, or a “someday” mindset? With a “someday” mindset, it’s far too easy to go into the workout thinking, “this workout is just one of many. It is one of the 300 workouts between now and next season. What is really valuable is my max, or my rank, or how I play when the lights shine brightest.”But with a “one day” mindset you understand one very simple fact: You understand that today is all you have. Your effort is not diluted by a date on the calendar. You only get one chance to do today’s workout...learn today’s today’s kindness. You only get one chance to give your all today.Whether you give your best or not, that opportunity is gone. Today is all you have. Do not neglect the work of today. Do not put it off until tomorrow.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: one day vs someday mindset; today is an opportunity; how to tackle big goals; selfish vs selfless leadership; servant leadership; next step best step; deadline; due date; preparation;


True humility is possible when you find your identity not in what you do, but in who you are. Your worth comes not from things like looks, or strength, or brains. Your worth comes from who you are and the reality that there is breath in your lungs.A humble person is someone who is so secure in who they are that their confidence becomes contagious. They become someone that everybody wants to be around. They become a leader that everybody wants to follow. Everywhere they go, they’re so confident in who they are that they just look for other people to lift up and celebrate, never afraid that someone else is coming for them.When you live your life with true humility, you become absolutely undefeatable. You will develop a spirit that is utterly unbreakable.

Pillar:  Servant Leadership

Key Topic: humility; meekness; who you are; self-worth;


We are hardwired for greatness. Everything in us longs for and fights for greatness. When you start to believe that greatness is found on a scoreboard, or in your status or in an ability, you buy a lie and miss the true definition of greatness. Greatness isn’t found in comparison, stats, or fame. And that is a good thing!True greatness, however isn’t an exclusive club. It is an inclusive one. That’s because true greatness is found within you, and within your ability to serve. Dr. King put it like this:“Anyone can be great. Because greatness is defined by service.” Your capacity to serve, and thereby become great, is not limited by what someone else can do. Instead, it is only limited by what you are willing to do.Greatness is not found in a scoreboard. It is found within. Because it is within that you have the ability to serve.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topic: servant leadership; greatness; success; then what; team brand; give back to the community; community engagement; community service; high standards; character; goal-setting

Week 23: PLUS ONE

Champions don’t just win championships. Too often, people believe they can “hack” their way to champion status but cutting out the “fluff” and only focusing their efforts on making the “big changes” they see champions make. While there is no doubt value in learning from the greats --after all, success leaves clues-- we must learn about all the champions do, not just the big things.It will always be the commitment to and execution of the unseen and difficult fine tuning that separates the best, from rest. If you want to reach your goals in sports or in life, you’ve got to commit yourself to the small, incremental, fine tuning.This week, and every other, let’s commit to steady, consistent, incremental growth. To the Plus One.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: champion; effort; incremental change; improvement; growth; sir dave brailsford; one percent; marginal gains; face reality; own the challenge; work until its done; visualize; execute;

Week 24: SO WHAT?

When hard times come, the most important question you can ask yourself is a simple one: So what? Not “So what? I don’t care...your pain doesn’t matter,” but “So what am I going to do about it? Something has to be done, so what am I going to do about it?”Consider this: when you focus on things you can’t control, it negatively influences the story that you tell about yourself. And the story you tell about yourself, determines the choices you make.But when you focus on what you can control, it positively influences your story. Rather than a woe is me story, you start to tell a story that sounds like, “I can’t control what happened to me, but I can control what I do with what happened to me.”

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: story; narrative; bad day; life isn't fair; fair is not equal; struggle; overcoming; why me; perspective

Week 25: WORTH IT

The day you choose to believe that you are worth it-- worth the sacrifice, the investment, the hustle, the fight-- is the day your life will change. Whatever it costs; whatever it takes; whatever lengths, you are worth it.The day that you decide that your value isn’t found in what you DO, but in who you ARE is the day that everything will change for you. That will be the day you start to realize that it’s not about what you BRING to the table, but the fact that you’re AT the table. When that happens, you will begin to value yourself based on the INTERNAL, not the EXTERNAL, and as a result, you begin to raise the standard of what you DO-- both on and off the field.You will never find success if you don’t believe that you’re worthy of being successful.Your coaches believe you are worth it. Your teachers, counselors, and family believe you are worth it. The question is, do you?

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: who you are; you are enough; sense of self; belief in self; sacrifice; delayed gratification; respect for self and others; self-respect; doubt; insecurity; self-worth;


Success is NEVER GIVEN.
If you’re not willing to work your tail off for something, how valuable is that thing? Probably not very. It ought to be hard to reach your goals. They’re supposed to be difficult. They’re supposed to take sacrifice and struggle. They ought to cost you something. If they don’t, you’ll throw in the towel as soon as things get difficult.Success in sports and in life is never given, and that’s a good thing. It’s always earned. Always chosen-- and that is a great thing.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: success; entitlement; hard work; work hard; success is earned; Should mindset; preparation; learning from others; gratitude; taking ownership

Week 27: LOVE WINS

No matter where you go in the world, if you were to ask the question, “What is the most powerful force and emotion on earth?” 9 times out of 10 you’ll get the same answer. Love.
Love is patient. Have you ever known a champion who wasn’t willing to commit to something?
Who wasn’t willing to put in the hard work and wait for what they were striving for? Of course not! Champions are patient, and so is love.
Love is kind and kindness is strength. Kindness is going all in for your teammates. Even if you’ve got a beef off the field. It’s going all in for them not because of who THEY are, but because of who YOU are. Champions are strong and kind, and so is love.
Love doesn’t have a swelled head. Love doesn’t score and say, “Look at me!” it scores and says, “Look at y’all! I wouldn’t be here without you!” Champions don’t have a swelled head, and neither does love.
Love never gives up. Nobody has ever quit their way to success. Nobody has ever won a gold medal by throwing in the towel when things got tough, things didn’t go their way, or people told them that they wouldn’t make it. Champions never give up, and neither does love.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: unconditional love; we not me; put others first; love your goals; goal-setting; growth mindset; patience; kindness


People will always interpret your actions based on your attitude. When people trust your attitude, they trust your actions.
Think of a heated moment on the field or the court. The game is close, and the referee calls you out for your attitude on the field, tells you that you need to calm down. What’s your reaction? It’s likely to be something along the lines of “You don’t know me. You don’t get to tell me how to react. You’ve got something against me.”
The hard part is that you can’t just stand up and proclaim, “my actions are right and my attitude is trustworthy, so if you don’t like it I don’t know what to tell you. This is the way it is.”
You know that your coach is on your

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: attitude; belief; trust; reaction vs response; extra attention; open door; personal development; 7 Cs; commitment; care; culture; consistency; communication;


Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? It may sound like a silly question, but it has some serious implications for your success on the field, and in the game of life.
A thermometer can only respond to, and be influenced by the elements around it. When the temperature goes up, so does the thermometer; when it goes down, so goes the thermometer. A thermostat, however influences the environment around. Things get too hot? Then the thermostat cools things off. Are things too cold? Then the thermostat warms the room up. The thermostat influences the environment around it.
Everyday, you must ask yourself, “Did I set the temperature of my life, or did others set it for me?

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: diligence; energy; reliability; effort; ethos; culture; planning; impact; influence; change


Successful people are always OK with, and made better by, the uncomfortable. The friction of discomfort moves them forward. That’s because they understand that perseverance in trial develops character, and that character leads to a competitive advantage.
When we do something new, seemingly impossible, or hard, we receive a make-you-better-gift! If we can learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable, then we can learn the power of delayed gratification-- saying no to comfort today, to receive greater reward tomorrow. Our lives will be changed, and we will have the power to take on whatever comes our way.
Make no mistake, life will be uncomfortable. Grit helps us get through. By choosing to do the difficult and hard things, we become better. GET UNCOMFORTABLE!

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: perserverance; character; success; grit; determination; delayed gratification; time; hope;


Our body language will communicate things that our words never will. Words can be misun-derstood, misinterpreted, or manipulated, but our body language will always tell the truth. It will always give us away. It’s a universal language.
Your legs are burning, lungs on fire and your primary instinct is to bend over, put your hands on your knees, and catch your breath. At that moment, what does coach say? “Stand tall!” Why? Because when you bend over, you’re communicating much more than you think: “I’m giving up”, “My circumstances are winning”, or even “You can’t count on me.”
But when you decide to stand tall, it communicates to everybody around you that you can be trusted. That you will be there when things get difficult.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: body language; communication; belief; limiting beliefs; enabling beliefs;

Week 32: X FACTOR

What does it take to win? Lots of people will point to things that they see in those that are at the top of the game. In the champions. In those basking in the spotlight. They’ll point to strategy, or talent, or execution. And they wouldn’t be wrong to do so-- all of those things matter. If you’re going to play sports at a competitive level, it certainly helps to know what to do, how to do it, and to be talented enough to execute on it.
But as anybody will tell you, talent alone doesn’t win titles. Strategy and execution alone don’t win championships. They are merely your tickets in the door. The difference between where you and where you want to be is not in those things, but in the X factor.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: hard work; work ethic; grit; character; humility; belief


To maximize the impact you can have on the world, yourself and your team, It’s not complicat-ed; it’s as simple as two words: character vs. talent.
Too often we’re disproportionately focused on talent over character. We view talent as the way to make it. We strive to develop our talent; maximize our skill; because we think it’s the thing that will drive us to succeed in life. All the while it’s easy to neglect character.
How many division one athletes do you know who are untalented? You see, at a certain level, talent levels out. To maximize your talent, you have to must maximize your character. The strength of your character will determine the success of your talents.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: talent; character; effort; self-discipline; accountability; selflessness; humility; emotional intelligence; EQ

Week 34: AND LEAD

Setting the example is important but it’s not the whole story. When we stop at “lead by example” we miss out on the fact that leadership requires the ability to move people further than they thought they could go. What if we saw it all the way to the end. We set the example, AND lead. We do OUR job then we help OTHERS do their jobs.
It’s true in sports, and it’s true in life. When you find yourself in a situation that isn’t living up to the standards and morals you’ve committed to adhering to, you could set the example and do what’s right for you, and hide in the corner and let everybody else screw up. But how much of a leader would that make you?

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: leading by example; modelling behavior; hypocrisy; influence


In everything you do, whether in sports or in life, in order to succeed, there’s one thing that you need to bring. One thing that you need to summon from deep within yourself. One thing that will make all the difference.
You’ve got to bring your total effort.
Not A LOT of effort. Not more effort than you brought last time. Not more effort than the player to your right or to your left. You’ve got to bring total effort. You can give more effort than the person on your right and left, and still not give TOTAL effort.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: effort; standards; structure; all in; integrity;


We live in a world that is obsessed with proclaiming all that they’re going to do. What they want to do. Our world loves the “gonna” and the “wanna.” They talk non stop about their goals, so much so that they begin to be praised for it because they talk about it so much that people believe they’re getting something done.
You see thunder in the weight room. People who show up so they can post that they were there. People who spend more time trying to get the right angle for their selfie than they do actually working out.
But as it turns out, that old Chinese proverb is true: “Mere talk does not cook rice.”
When you’re willing to do the work no matter the praise, you’re suddenly qualified to do the work.


Key Topics: work; praise; casting vision; action; goals; growth mindset; empty gym; influence; impact



Stephen Mackey, CEO & Founder

Stephen Mackey is a player development coach, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and founder of 2Words Character Development, one of the top Leadership and character curriculums in the country. Building on the Six Pillars of a Championship Character – Toughness, Integrity, Belief, Excellence, Effort, and Service – Mackey equips teams and organizations to elevate their performance by building a culture of character.
Patrick Jones - Course author