Every great idea that’s ever changed the world found its genesis in two words: “What if?”People who choose to ask “what if?” are the brave and the bold. They choose to look beyond what is because they aren’t going to settle for how things have always been. To stop settling for what is, so that you can strive for what could be, ask yourself: “what if?”

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: dream big, ask what if, overcome fear, zero waste mindset, growth not perfection, possibility, hope, growth mindset, perseverance


You will only spend eight percent of your time competing. But, you spend 92 percent of your time practicing, watching film, working on the fundamentals and lifting in the weight room.If you want to outscore your opponent on Friday night, you’ve got to outwork them Saturday through Thursday. Victory isn’t just for the playing field; it's also found on the practice field. If you want to win in the game, you’ve got to win in practice.Remember the Five "P"s: Prior Preparation Permits Proper Performance.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: 168 hours in a week, preparation, prior preparation permits proper performance, work ethic, hard work, best work, embrace the process


You've got to go pro in your mentality long before you go pro in reality. Otherwise, you might not get to the professional stage at all. Pros have three key things in common. They look for the next great challenge to overcome. They understand the concept of "garbage in, garbage out." And, they work when it is required, not when they feel like it.When you go pro in your mind, it allows you to go pro in your body. Go pro is a mentality. It's a mindset. It's a mantra. Stop thinking like an amateur and go pro today.

Pillar:  Goals

Key Topic: grit, tenacity, perspective, focus forward, goal-setting, perseverance, goals, professional, amateur, mindset, grit, champion mentality, grow up, hard work


There are thousands of voices out in the world telling you to be someone other than who you are. Some of the voices are external. Other voices are internal. These voices all have one thing in common: They are 100% wrong.You don’t need to be what anyone else tells you to be. And you don’t have to let negative self-talk hold you back from expressing yourself. You are enough.

Pillar:  Personal Code

Key Topic: personal code, be yourself, do your own thing, creativity, imagination, belief, self-confidence, self-esteem


Whether it’s running, swimming, weight lifting, or any other exercise that requires persistence and endurance to keep going, somewhere during the exercise we feel like we just can’t go another step further. Our legs and arms are shaking, our breathing is labored, and our muscles are screaming at us to please just stop already. We can either accept that we’ve hit our limit and give up, or we can push that little bit further, dig that little bit deeper, and find additional strength we never knew we had.When we refuse to give up at the end of our first wind, a second wind rises up and we discover that we are capable of more than we ever believed.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: perseverance, four Cs of parenting, positivity, consistency, grit, tenacity, dig deep, persistence, endurance, never give up


Humility, or meekness, sometimes gets a bad rap because so many people think meekness and weakness are synonyms. And nobody wants to be weak. Despite the rhyming, meekness and weakness are in no way related. In fact, to practice meekness, you cannot be weak. Only the strong can be truly humble because humility requires self-confidence and security in who you are. When you live your life with true humility, you elevate and celebrate your teammates, and you demonstrate an inner strength that can’t be beaten.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: meekness, humility, strength, weakness, celebrating others, teamwork, building a team culture, self-worth, worth it


Internet celebrities, musicians, and pro athletes have given us a skewed view of what it means to be successful. So often, those big careers make it seem like success just happens overnight. It doesn’t work that way, though. Success isn’t something that just happens.Overnight success takes years to achieve. It starts with small steps that lead to bigger things. Overnight success is a long game with a lengthy build up and a big finish.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: hard work, success, embrace the process, work ethic, winning, how to win, next step, aim small


Tomorrow’s leaders are built in today’s locker rooms. The young people playing on your teams are the nurses, teachers, politicians, lawyers, and doctors of the future. But becoming tomorrow’s leaders requires a willingness to assume a leadership role—not just tomorrow, but also today.Our athletes can be the leaders who are willing to get in it and take care of business. The leaders who jump right in to help others become their best selves. They’re already leaders because they are athletes, but if they are willing to get in it, then they will be leaders worth following.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: sacrifice, servant leadership, communication, all in, effort, excellence, mental toughness, get involved


The most important step we will ever take towards reaching a goal is the next step. It doesn’t matter if we’re on step 15 or if we haven’t taken a single step toward the end goal. No matter where we are on the present journey, the most important step is the one we are about to take.Instead of stewing on the past or trying to predict the future, we should be focusing on the one thing we can control: how we handle the next step. Are we going to take the next step with excellence and focus?

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: next step, focus forward, future-tripping, effort, encouragement, next play best play, let go, own your mistakes, growth mindset


Confidence is built, not born. It's like any skill on the field. Confidence comes from letting go of the outcome because you know that all you can control is your response. Confidence comes from getting reps at things that you aren't good at and seeing how much you improve over time. And, confidence comes from knowing who you are and living out that identity.If you want to be more confident, these are three things that can help you to build confidence.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: confidence, self-confidence, competition, building confidence, skills, get reps, surrender the outcome, preparation, effort, 5 Ps, goals


In the game of sports and the game of life, there will be critics. You can’t avoid critics entirely, but you can prepare to ensure that the arrows they shoot at you can’t derail you. You prepare by developing a thick skin.You prepare for criticism by holding to your convictions, keeping a solid sense of self independent from success or failure, and seeking the whole truth in the criticism.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: constructive criticism, how to grow a thick skin, accepting feedback, praise, criticism, improvement, growth, staying grounded, personal code


Pressure is meant to catapult you forward, not to crush you. The difference lies in how you choose to view and use pressure in your life. Pressure by itself is neutral. It is your choices which change that neutral state to a positive or a negative. This includes the pressure of both internal and external forces, and it includes the pressure that you place on others.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: pressure, you are enough, peer pressure, decision-making, punishment, correction, positivity, expectations, servant leadership


It’s easy to say “Never give up.” It’s a lot harder to back it up. It’s hard to refuse to quit when the sun is blazing overhead, or you’re sinking into the mud, or you hurt all over. It’s hard to stand firm in your belief that you can achieve your goals. It gets tempting to just let it go, to just pick an easier dream.You are worth so much more than that, though. You are worth the struggle. You are worth the fight to keep going. Nothing is impossible if you keep trying because success always lies in trying just one more time. Stand firm behind your dreams and keep chasing them because you are worth it.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: work ethic, never give up, refuse to quit, perseverance, grit, tenacity, asking for help, finding a mentor


When someone tells you to do your best, does that encourage you? When you realize that you can do nothing better than your best, it can be encouraging. But for many students, and maybe for you, "do your best" isn't encouraging because it translates to "you can't win, so just try not to get beat too badly."That thinking can lead to some dark places in your mind where you start to believe that your best isn't enough. If you believe your best isn't enough, you might start to believe that you are not enough. Know this: You are enough just as you are. And, when you do your best yet, whatever that is, that is enough.

Pillar: Growth mindset

Key Topics: do your best, encouragement, positive pressure, growth mindset, try your best


You are part of multiple families: your parents and siblings, your team, your friend groups. However you define your family, they should be first in your mind at all times. FAMILY means Forget About Me I Love You. You put your family first because you love them. Their well-being is important to you. Family should always be first and foremost in your mind because together you are stronger than you are alone.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: growth mindset, goals, alignment, family goals, personal goals, mudita, your role, FAMILY


If someone asks you to go one mile with them, go two instead. In fact, don't wait for them to ask. As a servant leader, be willing to go the extra mile for others because of who you are, not who the other person is. But before you can go the extra mile, know that you've got to have humility. It is impossible to go the extra mile without being humble.That's because humility is giving the best of me for the best of you, even if it costs me.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: personal code, call up, see the best in others, going the extra mile, go first, count other first


If you want to reach your individual and team goals, you’ve got to be all gas, no brakes. From the locker room to the classroom to your house—the little things always matter. It’s not easy to always be all gas, no brakes. But if you start tapping the brakes on the little things in life, you’re going to end up coming to a screeching halt on the big things.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: all in, discipline, effort, hard work, team unity, teamwork, goals, little things


“Humble warrior” might seem like an oxymoron at first glance, but the definitions of both words mesh really well. Humility is giving the best of me for the best of you, even if it costs me. And a warrior is someone who deploys their talents and energy for the good of others, for a cause greater than self. Warriors act not for their personal good, but for the greater good.Humility gives you the strength to work for others even when it costs you, just as a warrior does.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: servant leadership, humility, modesty, confidence, warrior way, be the right size, lead



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