Every person you know is either having a bad day, coming out of a bad day, or heading towards a bad day. It's a normal human cycle; bad days happen to everyone. But the question to ask when a bad day comes is not "why me?" or "how is this fair?" or "why does the world hate me?" The question to ask is: So what am I going to do about it?

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: bad day, growth day, personal code, attitude adjustment, mindset switch, turn your bad days to growth, focus forward, control the controllables, take responsibility


When we hear the phrase "one up" most of us will think about competing against others to show that we're better than them. But what if we flip that? What if, instead of trying to one up each other, we tried to lift one up every day? What if instead of viewing competition as a chance to best someone, we saw it as an opportunity to give our best to someone?

The short answer is: you would become a better team. That's what will happen if you and your teammates work on using competition, encouragement, and connection to build each other up, rather than stepping over one another.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: encouragement, competition, connecting with teammates, team building, servant leadership, competition as service, lift up others, success, winning, teamwork, friendship


Good coaches know to take time outs when the game is getting out of control. Time outs give your team a chance to breathe, and they create an opportunity to interrupt the (usually negative) flow of the game, so you can get your focus back where it needs to be. There's no game clock in life, but we can and should use time outs in life, too.

If you feel like the game of life is getting out of control, it’s probably the right moment to take a time out. Whether you have a couple of days or a couple of seconds to do it, use the time out to step back, take a breath, and ask hard questions. Then, when you’re prepared, get back in the game.

Pillar:  Growth Mindset

Key Topic: time out, taking breaks, growth mindset, relaxation, rest, focus, control the controllables, focus forward, personal narrative, take action


To be a champion, you need both internal and external accountability. Internal accountability is the standard you set for yourself based on your own integrity. It’s what makes you take ownership for your actions. External accountability is the standard you set for your teammates, your friends, and your family, and that they set for you. Accountability, both internal and external, calls us to do the things we know we should be doing. It holds us to a higher standard than we might otherwise reach.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topic: champion, accountability, responsibility, internal and external accountability, standards, integrity, ownership, effort, holding others accountable, support network, goals


When you think about love, you might think of it as something sweet and soft, unrelated to goals or the game. But that’s a limited view of love. Love is so much stronger, tougher, and more durable than that sweet and soft viewpoint makes it appear. Love isn’t just something soft and fluffy. Love is tough. It’s tough enough to love somebody at their worst. It’s tough enough to tell them hard truths or push them to do hard things. It’s also tough enough to be on the receiving end of tough love. True love is tough.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: tough love, discipline, blind spots, growth, grit, love, caring for others, teamwork, be a good teammate


When you compare yourself to others, that comparison steals your joy in your own accomplishments. Instead of being inspired by what they have achieved, you just start to feel like you will never achieve the same things. Discouragement from comparison can stop you from achieving your dreams, but there's an antidote to discouragement: confidence. When you are confident in your preparation, in your teammates, and in your ability to make an impact, there's no room for discouragement.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: confidence, comparison, joy thief, trust, teamwork, coachability, work ethic, hard work, consistency, self-confidence, preparation


To be a great teammate, you've got to make some commitments. We call these the top ten commitments of a great teammate. The ten items are each important, but if ten is a little much to remember, know that they boil down to one simple idea: WE BEFORE ME.

This also forms a handy mnemonic device for remembering the top ten commitments, which are: Work, Encouragement, Belief, Effort, Friends, Optimism, Respect, Enthusiasm, Motivation, and Effort. If you really want to be a great teammate, just remember: WE BEFORE ME.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: good teammate, team bonding, building trust, respect, positivity, energy, motivation, encouragement, belief, friendship, hard work, effort, personal code


We live in a world of convenience. We try to make everything as easy as possible. Sometimes that's really helpful and great. The problem arises when we think that everything should be easy–including our goals. But resistance is what makes us stronger in the weight room, and it's what makes it possible to achieve our goals. If we are constantly rejecting hard days, hard truths, and hard conversations, then we're rejecting our goals. Instead of saying "no thanks" to hard things, let's learn how to welcome hard.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: hard work, growth mindset, perseverance, determination, resistance, overcoming obstacles, hard days, bad days, growth day, hard conversations, hard truths, trust


It's easy to get overwhelmed and worried when we try to change the past or control the future because neither of those things is possible. The past is already written, and the future is not here yet; your energy can only affect things in the present. That's why you have to be here. To be here is to give your best to the moment you're in. To be here is to learn the most that you can from this moment. When you learn to be here, in the moment you're in, it's harder for life to overwhelm you.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: be present, be where your feet are, future tripping, can’t change the past, mental game, mental health, growth, goals, improvement, mindfulness, overwhelmed, stress, pressure


Do your actions communicate that you are committed to your teammates as a friend or fan? A fan's support goes up or down depending on how things are going in the game. They don't have any skin in the game. A friend is there for you through thick and thin. They care more about you than they do about your performance. To build a great team, you've got to be committed to one another as friends.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: commitment, friendship, relationship skills, building relationships, making friends, encouragement, support, servant leadership, team building, love


Have you ever felt like your thoughts are out of control? Like you just can't stop focusing on the negative and unhelpful thoughts that lead to pressure and stress? In those moments, you can't "control" your thoughts, but you can refocus them. It's going to take effort and willpower, but you can get a handle on your thoughts, no matter how out of control they may seem. In the face of seemingly uncontrollable thoughts, Focus Refocus gives you the power to change your thinking.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: mindfulness, positive thinking, emotional control, effort, willpower, taking action, stress, pressure, grit, focus


The person in the driver's seat determines where the bus is going. So what's in the driver's seat of your life? Letting fear or rewards drive is exhausting because the trip never ends; there's always a new fear in the rearview mirror or a new reward on the horizon. When you let love and gratitude drive the bus instead, you'll find success because you already have it. Where you go and in what time frame depends on who's driving the bus. When you think about your goals and dreams, who (or what) is in the driver's seat?

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: motivation, hard work, work ethic, love, gratitude, fear, rewards, success, effort, you vs you, thankfulness, trust, do your job


What's the firm foundation that great teams are built upon? Trust and integrity. When those two things are present in every aspect of a team, it serves as a foundation that cannot be shaken. On that firm foundation of trust and integrity, your team can build talent, skill, strategy, and success. A team is made of its individual members. If you want your team to have a firm foundation, then you must have a firm foundation for yourself.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: trust, integrity, commitment, responsibility, duty, coachability, teachable, personal code, responsible decision-making, teamwork, values, honesty, truth-telling


We all fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. But, no matter how far you go or how much you achieve, you will never consider yourself big time enough if you compare yourself to others. Instead of comparison, challenge yourself to make where you are the big time. Big Time is a mindset. You are big time when you live big time.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: comparison, competition, growth mindset, learning, talent, skills, self-awareness, success, progress, worth it


A lot of people don't reach their long-term goals because they're sitting in a rocking chair. A rocking chair is comfortable and gives you something to do, but it doesn't help you move anywhere. If you want to get out of the rocking chair, you've got to be willing to be uncomfortable doing hard work. You are worth more than the time wasted sitting in a rocking chair. Your goals are worth more.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: goals, self-management, stop waiting, initiative, motivation, worry, anxiety, overthinking, coachability, next step


Everybody leads at some level, including you. We all lead, but we don't all lead our teammates towards the goal. So the question to ask is: Am I a leader worth following? You make the choice for how you will lead, whether you promote enthusiasm, positivity, and passion through your leadership or negativity, apathy, and a lack of accountability. When everyone on the team takes ownership for their leadership, it helps the whole team move forward. But first each team member has to decide: What kind of leader are you going to be?

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: teamwork, leadership skills, leader worth following, social awareness, servant leadership, self-control, positivity, negativity, enthusiasm, apathy, accountability


It is possible to live, lead, and compete with no pressure. You just have to choose no pressure. Pressure comes from believing that your best is not enough or believing that giving your best is a consolation prize for when you fail. It's not. Giving your best is the only way you can succeed, and even if you fall short of your goal, no one can expect more of you than your best--not even you. If you want to live and compete with no pressure, then you've got to accept that your best is enough.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: pressure, expectations, failure, success, grit, self-awareness, toughness, hard work, your best is enough, worth it


If you aren't pushing yourself to do the best you can, what are you waiting for? If you aren't leading your team, what are you waiting for? When you wait to push yourself or to act like a leader, you are paving the way for entitlement to enter your life. Entitlement dilutes your talent, causes you to compare yourself to others, and makes mole hills into mountains. To avoid entitlement, stop waiting and start working.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: hesitation, waiting, rocking chair, work ethic, self-management, hard work, accountability, responsibility, leadership, initiative, your best



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