Week 19: The Swap

Many student-athletes carry heavy loads. These are things that they weren't meant to carry, yet the burden is dragging them away from their goals and dreams. These burdens are things like pressure to be perfect, fear of failure, and self-doubt. If you are carrying these things, then it's time for you to make the swap.Swap the pressure to be perfect for a best yet mindset. Swap the fear of failure for a growth mindset. Swap self-doubt for the belief that you are enough. The swap isn't necessarily easy to make. But when you make the swap, all those heavy things you're carrying stop weighing you down. Without that overwhelming load, you can move on to reach your goals, no matter how big they may be.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: pressure, expectations, perfection, become perfect, best yet, growth mindset, mentality, attitude, self-doubt, fear of failure, belief in self

Week 20: Even If

Everyone has experienced times when they just didn't feel like doing what they needed to do. Everyone has struggled with the question: How do you do what needs to be done when you don't want to do it? The answer is simple, but not easy: You do what your goals demand, not what your feelings want.You are not alone in the struggle to do what you don't feel like doing. When you don't want to do what you know needs to be done, remember to ask your goals what is required, and then go do that.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics:hard work, work hard, personal code, do what you can, don't stop the movie, perspective, how to do what you don't want to do, how to do what you don't feel like doing

Week 21: Leaders Lead

You don't have to be a great athlete to be a great leader. They are separate skills. Make no mistake, leadership is a skill. It's something that you can learn, just like you learned how to throw a ball or jump a hurdle.The best athletes aren't always the best leaders. They're two different skill sets that require different things of you. You don't have to be the best athlete to be a great leader; you just have to develop your skill to lead.

Pillar:   Servant Leadership

Key Topic: servant leadership, leaders always lead, leadership skill, hard work, sacrifice, speaking up, encouraging others, dependable, set the example

Week 22: One Minute

You've probably said "I don't have time" for something when what you really meant is "I don't want to." Not enough time is rarely a limiting factor; your will is the most common limit. It only takes one minute to make a change. If you decide that in this one minute you're going to work towards your goal, then the one minute becomes two and before long you've changed the way you use sixty minutes, so that you've worked towards your goal for an hour.Whether you reach your goals and dreams isn't about having enough time; it's about managing the time that you have. With the ABCs of time management, change the way you use one minute so you can change the way you use your whole day.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topic: time management, change, beyonce time, control the controllables, have to vs get to, goals

Week 23: Rise and Grind

Every morning you have to make the choice to either rise and whine or rise and grind. The morning is going to come whether you like it or not, but how you choose to greet the morning will determine how the rest of your day goes. Rise and whine is all about excuses and complaining--neither of which will get you anywhere. But rise and grind is all about getting up and doing the work anyway, which is the only way to succeed.The rise and grind mindset doesn't just apply to the morning, though. When your mindset is rise and grind, that translates to making your whole day better.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics:work ethic, preparation, toughness, attitude, perspective, mindset, morning routine, stop whining, no excuses, want to

Week 24: First Fight 

Your opponent is not someone across from you. It's someone within you. You are your own greatest opponent. This is especially true when we experience performance anxiety. That anxiety steals your potential and that which you can become. It holds you back from being your best.It's important to state right now that performance anxiety doesn't mean you're a weak-minded person or abnormal. Performance anxiety is a thing that breathing people deal with, so today let's look at some ways to deal with this performance anxiety so you can win the first fight against yourself.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: competition, growth, grit, determination, opponent, performance anxiety, stress relief, breathing exercise, visualization

Week 25: Bad Day

Bad days are guaranteed to happen. What’s not guaranteed, is what you do when it does. The way you respond to a bad day determines your success for that day and the following days. Don’t sit and wallow in self-pity. Instead, choose to view the struggle as an opportunity. Bad days will come. When they do, instead of thinking “It shouldn’t be this way,” think “This is a GROWTH day.”To change your bad day to growth, focus on shifting your mentality. Remember that you are still learning, but you are still accountable for your actions.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: PLAN, bad day, growth day, emotional intelligence, EQ, helping others, do your job, growth mindset

Week 26: Fire Failure

Student-athletes everywhere share a fear: the fear of failure. It's not just athletes, though. People of all ages fear failure. But that fear comes from an unhelpful definition of failure and success. If you think that failure is when you get something wrong or make a mistake or lose a game, then of course you're going to be afraid of it. If you think that success is only when you win, of course you'll fear not winning.Failure is not lack of success; it's lack of learning. Success is not winning; it's getting the next smallest thing right. Fear of failure will try to hold you back, so you've got to redefine success and failure, so that you can fire failure.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: Goals, failure, fear of failure, success, definition of failure, fear, little things, small wins, commitment to goals

Week 27: Today's Work

work ethic, hard work, work hard, worry, anxiety, finish strong, lead by example, procrastination, time managementYou can come up with all kinds of reasons to procrastinate and to put today's work off until tomorrow. But today's finish line is tomorrow's starting line. Where you stopped yesterday is where you start today. You can come up with all kinds of reasons for why you can put off today's work until tomorrow, but that negative progress is cumulative, just as positive forward movement is cumulative.The only way to make progress, the only way to consistently keep moving forward towards your goals and dreams, is to do today's work today.

Pillar: Work Ethic

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

Week 28: Zero Talent

When we place an outsize value on talent, it becomes a convenient excuse for when we lose or fall short of our goals. When the focus is on talent, we lost because how could we possibly compete with the other team's stats and natural talent? When the focus is on skill, we lost because we weren't prepared or we didn't try hard enough or they out-worked us. Either it's not our responsibility so we can't do anything about it or it's fully our responsibility and we can do better next time.Instead of focusing on talent and abdicating our responsibility, we can focus on cultivating zero talent skills. These are things like preparation, positivity, and coachability—skills you can learn that don't require any natural ability or athletic talent.

Pillar: personal code

Key Topics: Positivity, coachability, preparation, zero talent skills, skill vs talent, natural vs learned ability, personal code

Week 29: Character Wins

Character matters because character wins. Character is not a consolation prize. It's not the thing you get because you weren't talented enough to be a champion. It's the thing that allows you to become a champion at all. If you want to win on the field and in life, you must win in your character first. There are three reasons this is true:
1.Character is a talent amplifier.
2.Character is your foundation.
3.Character is the truth about who you are.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: character matters, success, winning, character vs talent, servant leadership, foundation, integrity

Week 30: Stay Steady

No matter how chaotic life gets, you have the power to stay steady. When you take responsibility for your actions, you take the power away from your circumstances and you give it to yourself.Life will be like a roller coaster most of the time. There will be great days and horrible days. You will feel awesome and you will feel terrible. Life is chaotic. But when life comes at you, when you are praised, or when you are criticized, do your best to stay steady.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: grit, steadfast, reliable, even-keeled, chaos, hard times, praise, criticism, good days, bad days, responsibility

Week 31: Take Responsibility

What's your superpower? The greatest power you can have is the strength to take responsibility. When you take responsibility, it doesn't matter what you lack in talent or resources because taking responsibility puts the power to change your situation into your hands. As Marvel's Uncle Ben said in so many versions of Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility." But the reverse is also true: With great responsibility comes great power.There are three main ways that taking responsibility transforms your life: It helps you own your mistakes. It helps you learn how to learn. And It helps you do your job.The ability to take responsibility is a superpower that will transform the way we act. Let's take responsibility today.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: responsibility, duty, do your job, work ethic, strength, ability

Week 32: Slow Down

We live in a fast-paced society. Everything and everyone seems to be moving at the speed of electricity. But sometimes that breakneck pace can actually break our necks, or at least, it can break our goals and dreams. Life is too short to run through it like it's a race. Instead, we need to learn to slow down.When we slow down, we give ourselves the opportunity to give our best to what's right in front of us. That doesn't mean the end goal doesn't matter to us; it just means that we're able to be where our feet are. We need to slow down, so we don't miss receiving something in this moment that will help us reach our goals in a future moment.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: Grit, slow, fast, growing up, progress, rest, recovery, rehab, patience, learning from mistakes

Week 33: Only You

Everyone has a responsibility. Only you can take care of your responsibilities as a student, as an athlete, or as a son or daughter. Responsibility means doing what you have been trusted to do. The moment you fail to do your job and someone else tries to do your job for you, there's two jobs that aren't being done. Your team counts on you to do what only you can do.This applies to all areas of life, even when you think you're "just a" freshman, teenager, etc. You have responsibilities that only you can handle. Take responsibility for what you have been trusted to do because only you can do it.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: take responsibility, do your job, handle business, accountability, personal code

Week 34: Be Uncommon

In a world full of common, let's be uncommon. Let's think differently and act differently than the norm, especially where it really matters, such as when we see others being devalued or when we speak negatively to ourselves or when we're stuck after we get knocked down. The norm in those situations is not the way we want to live. We want to create a new norm by being uncommon.Being uncommon isn't about being a special snowflake. It's about going against the grain to do what is right and what is best (for you and the team). The norm isn't always a bad thing, but when it is, choose to be uncommon.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: growth mindset, common people, uncommon courage, integrity, doing what is right, stop devaluing others, get up when you get knocked down, negative self-talk

Week 35:  Take Action

If you want to reach your goals, you must take action. Nothing will work unless you do. When you take action, you move towards your goal. And at the same time, you move away from things that will derail you from your goals, such as entitlement, unearned praise, and unsuccessful attempts.Your goals will never become reality if you do not take action.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: goals, focus forward, letting go of mistakes, entitlement, action steps, goal setting, unearned praise

Week 36: Second Place

It's not about you. Too often, we hear that and go "yeah, right. Of course it's about me!" That's the ego talking. It's the part of you that thinks only about me, myself, and I. But as a servant leader, you've got to learn to make the ego take second place to the team. We before Me. The goal of leadership is not to have other people help you achieve your dreams; the goal is to help others achieve their dreams.There are three things that happen when you fight for second place: When you fight for second place, you replace entitlement with gratitude. When you fight for second place, you don't take criticism personally. When you fight for second place, everyone succeeds together as a team.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: me before we, servant leadership, service, teamwork, go first, ego, relationships



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