We all have different things that help us to get fired up to do something difficult. Maybe it’s a song, a secret handshake with a workout buddy, or a chant. Whatever it is, you probably already know that thing can fail you. Sometimes, when you really don’t want to do what you need to do, the secret motivation sauce doesn’t work, and you’re left asking: How do I find motivation to do what I don’t want to do? 

The answer is choosing your standards over your feelings. Or in a single word: discipline.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: work ethic, discipline, motivation, how to do what you don't want to do, standards, want to, core values


Anger is an emotion that we all experience. There’s nothing inherently wrong with anger (or any other emotion). The thing we too often get wrong about anger is how we react to it. Anger is fleeting. We can’t let this short-term emotion stick us with long-term consequences. Instead, we want to respond to our anger in constructive or helpful ways. When we get angry, we need to take five.

Pillar: Goals
Key Topics: goals, anger management, controlling emotions, constructive anger, frustration, count the eyes, disagreement, breathing exercises


We’ve all had competitive moments where we go from only giving half effort to being GAME ON. For Coach Mackey, one such moment was with his oldest son Harrison, when they were playing a video game against each other. The way that they competed with each other while playing the game showed how much they value each other.
When you compete, it shows who you value and how much you value them, based on the way that you do it. When you value someone a lot, you’ll go GAME ON when you compete against or alongside them, no matter where you’re competing and what competition means in that place.

Pillar: Growth Mindset
Key Topics: Growth mindset, total effort, competition, value, respect, FAMILY, Forget About Me I Love You, caring for others


Your motivation for pursuing your goals matters. If you are driven by external factors like praise and recruitment, that’s different from being driven by internal factors like a desire to be your best or to help your team do something great.
External motivation isn’t bad. But it’s not as effective as internal motivation. For one thing, external motivation is frequently based on performance, which is influenced by many factors other than you while internal motivation is based on your core values. When you chase greatness, chase internal greatness first. Be motivated not by what you can get, but by who you are.

Pillar: Personal Code
Key Topics: Greatness, success, winning, championship, champion, external motivation, internal motivation, personal code, integrity, service, excellence, core values, value, you are enough


When adversity comes, you’ll think “this is bad bad.” The shift here is to go from “bad bad” to “good good.” It’s good that adversity is here because it gives us a chance to grow and become better today than we were yesterday. It’s good that adversity is here because without it, we can’t progress. When we make the shift from thinking that this bad bad situation is against us to realizing this good good situation is for us, it changes everything.

Pillar: Grit
Key Topics: adversity, obstacles, growth, failure, challenges, mindset, attitude, grit, determination, overcoming adversity, setbacks


When you think of someone who is in charge, what comes to mind? Is it someone who uses their power and authority to make his or her life easier? Is it someone who acts with entitlement because they’ve earned all the perks of life through talent or skill? That’s one type of leader, but maybe they aren’t as in charge as they think they are.
See, being a leader is about more than what perks you get with the position or who you get to boss around. Being a leader is about loving, encouraging, and serving others. That is what you are in charge of: Loving, encouraging, and serving. The more people you love, encourage, and serve, the more of a leader you become.

Pillar: Servant Leadership
Key Topics: servant leadership, entitlement, privilege, how to be a leader, how to lead, serving others, service


Sometimes in a game, it seems like everything is against you. But then, a game changer steps up, and the momentum shifts back to your team. This happens in life, too. The difference is that in life, the game changer must be you. When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or when circumstances carry you in a direction you don’t want to go, you can choose to change the game.
When the game tries to get away from you, take that as an invitation to take back control. Instead of giving up and pouting, seek to be a game changer.

Pillar: Grit
Key Topics: grit, change the game, momentum shift, attitude, mindset, take action, take responsibility, control the controllables, total effort


The best athletes are the smartest athletes. That’s not because they have a higher IQ or more common sense. It’s because they’re willing to ask for help.
Too often we think that asking for help means we aren’t strong enough to handle things on our own. Too often we think that asking for help is synonymous with being weak. But that can’t be further from the truth. In fact, the smartest thing you can do is to ask for help when you are out of your depth.

Pillar: Goals
Key Topics: Goals, asking for help, helping others, strength, weakness, mental health, mental wellness, mental illness, support, feedback


Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The good news is, there’s a pretty simple way to reduce that feeling. We just have to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. See, when we’re having a bad day or dealing with things that other people don’t have to deal with, it’s really easy to get locked in on the struggle. But the struggle is just one small part of your life. If you look at the bigger picture, you’ll see that this struggle is only temporary.
Everyone gets overwhelmed. But that feeling of “too much” can be handled if you remember to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. The struggle will still be real, but it will be more manageable.

Pillar: Growth Mindset
Key Topics: Growth mindset, struggle, adversity, overwhelm, stress, perspective, motivation


Nobody wants to be a bad teammate, but too often, athletes settle for being a good teammate. What’s wrong with being a good teammate? Good is not enough when great is possible. The difference between being a good teammate or a great teammate is a simple choice, and that choice is love. When you love your teammates, it makes you a better teammate.

Pillar: Personal Code
Key Topics: personal code, teamwork, how to be a good teammate, love, friendship, relationships, trust, team building, sacrifice


Life is fast-paced. Sometimes the pace is so fast that you think you don’t have time to rest. But if you don’t take the time to rest and recover, then you won’t make it for the long haul. Think about a truck going down the highway. If you don’t stop for gas sometimes, you’re going to end up on the side of the road unable to continue. If you’re going to make it for the long haul, you’ve got to take time to rest.

Pillar: Work Ethic
Key Topics: Work ethic, success, rest, recovery, rehab, overwhelmed, chaos, refuel, how to weekend, energy, effort, time management, control the controllables


A leader doesn’t have to be a speaker or an extrovert. A leader’s actions speak loudly whether they talk aloud or not. Things like showing up prepared and on time, standing tall when you’re tired, and smiling just in general, all tell your teammates more about your leadership abilities than your words ever could. If you want to be a leader, don’t worry so much about speaking loudly with your words; instead, speak loudly with your actions.

Pillar: Servant Leadership
Key Topics: Servant leadership, extrovert, introvert, actions speak louder than words, take action, body language, smile, how to be a leader, be prepared


Adversity can be hard and unfortunate, but it can also be a gift. The gift comes from making the choice whether you will be defined or refined by adversity. When you let adversity define you, it boxes you in and limits you. But when you let it refine you, it becomes a tool and a way for you to be more than you already are. To be refined by adversity, you’ve got to forget the loss, remember the lesson, and move forward.

Pillar: Grit
Key Topics: Grit, adversity, overcoming obstacles, getting over a mistake, grief, loss, learning from mistakes


If you settle for the work that is required or mandatory, you will fall short of your potential. It is the unrequired work that challenges your talent and helps you to become the best you can be. Required work is what everybody has to do. Unrequired work is not laid out for you. No one is going to check that you’ve done the unrequired work. No one will even know if you do it. It is the unseen and unpraised work. Required work qualifies you to be in the game, but unrequired work permits you to become a champion.

Pillar: Goals
Key Topics: work, goals, unrequired work, required work, mandatory work, hard work, champion, mindset, talent, character, going the extra mile


An over believer is someone who believes strongly in something. For example, an over believer in generosity and humility will be guided in how to act based on those beliefs. Growth Follows Belief. What you believe determines what your actions are, and your actions determine what you can do. If you don’t believe that you can accomplish your goals, then you won’t. But you can choose to be an over believer in yourself and your team. You can choose to be an over believer in hope and teamwork. Every day you are an over believer in something, and you get to choose what that is.

Pillar: Growth Mindset
Key Topics: growth mindset, over believer, growth follows belief, where you focus you finish, focus forward, hope, teamwork, generosity, humility, take action


You get great at what you get reps at. If you’re constantly getting reps at eyes down and distracted, then that will be your default response when adversity comes on the path to your goals. With everyone’s eyes down and glued to their phones, it’s easy to think that there isn’t another way to be. But there is. Instead of eyes down and distracted, you can choose to be eyes up and focused. You can choose to be eyes up and present where you are developmentally and physically. And you can choose to be eyes up and truthful when the doubts come.

Pillar: Personal Code
Key Topics: personal code, consistency, practice, positivity, negativity, doubt, hope, truth, honesty, self-awareness, focus forward, be present


A lot of people spend more time looking for a secret sauce or a cheat code to success than they do working towards the success they seek. The truth is: there is no cheat code. The only secret sauce you will find for success is a blend of hard work and consistency. When you show up day after day to put in the required and unrequired work, you earn your success. That’s the secret sauce for success: consistent hard work.

Pillar: Work Ethic
Key Topics: work ethic, hard work, work hard, success, cheat code, overnight success, long-term goals, consistency


If you want to be a great leader and a great teammate, then you’ve got to lose yourself in service to your team. When you lose your ego and pride and selfishness, you are better able to serve. And the better you serve your teammates, the more you will win their hearts. When you can’t wait to go out and help your teammate become better, then you’ve lost yourself in service.

Pillar: Servant Leadership
Key Topics: servant leadership, service, serve others, help others, encouragement, pride, selfishness, selflessness, how to be a great teammates, how to be a great leader



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