Whether or not you achieve your goals is on you. While it's true that there are external circumstances beyond your control, even the best situation in the world can't help you be successful if you don't bet on you, work on you, and count on you. You are not responsible for your circumstances, but you are responsible for what you do with them. Taking responsibility for your life and goals is on you.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics:
growth mindset, take responsibility, circumstances, agency, hard work, dependability, coachable, belief in self


You know that your goals require commitment. But do you know why commitment matters so much? It's because commitment is the catalyst for the actions that lead to success. Specifically, commitment wins because it creates a cycle of perseverance, growth, and execution.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: goals, commitment, challenge, perseverance, growth, take action, success, tenacity, grit, struggle, consistency


If you walk through life with no skin in the game, then there's nothing to anchor you when the going gets tough. If you want to succeed in sports and in life, then you have to pay the cost of your commitments; you have to take responsibility for your actions. In other words, you have to own it.

Pillar:  Work Ethic

Key Topic: take responsibility, agency, circumstances, commitment, confidence, entitlement, all in, buy in, choice, work ethic, consistency


When you think of a leader, you might picture someone who does the right thing and sets a good example for others, but that's not all there is to leadership. In fact, those two things have more to do with handling your own business than leading others. So, what actually sets leaders apart? When leaders see something, they say so. The main difference between being a teammate and being a team leader is that leaders speak up and say so at key moments.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topic: speak up, servant leadership, team leader, encouragement, relationship skills, expectations, standards, asking for help, teamwork, social skills, communication


How you win matters just as much (if not more) than if you win. How you win is a reflection of who you are. You can't win with class and integrity if you don't have class and integrity. Winning in athletics prepares you to win in life. That's why it's important that you learn how to win right.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: winning, success, celebrating achievement, right size, integrity, personal code, self management, discipline, respect


Adversity can help you move toward your goals, or it can hold you back. What determines whether adversity moves you forward or backward? You do. How you respond to adversity determines the impact it will have on your progress and goals. Adversity can be a gift if you say Yes to the right things.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: growth mindset, choice, responsibility, accountability, commitment, circumstances, mistakes, adversity, challenge, struggle, agency, consequences


Adversity can help you move toward your goals, or it can hold you back. What determines whether adversity moves you forward or backward? You do. How you respond to adversity determines the impact it will have on your progress and goals. Adversity can be a gift if you say Yes to the right things.

Pillar: Growth Mindset

Key Topics: growth mindset, choice, responsibility, accountability, commitment, circumstances, mistakes, adversity, challenge, struggle, agency, consequences


It's good to have big goals. The problems arise when you try to take big steps towards those goals. No matter how big the goal, you always have to start small to reach it. Dream about that big goal, but work backwards from it to find a step small enough to achieve now. The more you succeed at the small steps, the closer you'll get to the big goal. But as you progress, you've got to remember to start small.

Pillar: Goals

Key Topics: next step, little things, goals, responsible decision-making, progress, consistency, stay steady, celebrate you, truth teller, honesty


It costs nothing to set a goal, but it costs a lot to reach it. Committing to a goal is something to take pride in because so many people don't even make it that far. But setting a goal is not a guarantee of success, and the opportunity to succeed is not free. To actually reach a goal, you have to be willing to pay the opportunity cost of preparation, priorities, and practice.

Pillar: Personal Code

Key Topics: commitment, personal code, opportunity knocks, sacrifice, price of success, commitment costs, preparation, priorities, practice, 5 Ps, say Yes, hard work


What's the secret to success? What's the shortcut? There isn't one. The only secrets are widely known by the pros, and none of those "secrets" involve shortcuts. As any professional athlete can tell you: Success comes from doing the right things again and again. These are things like focusing on the fundamentals, seeing that the little things are the big things, and being willing to make mistakes along the way. You don't choose to do these things once, and then you're successful. You choose them again and again.

Pillar: Grit

Key Topics: grit, secret sauce, shortcut to success, pro advice, choices, habits, back to basics, focus on the fundamentals, little things, fail forward, learning from mistakes


Excellence means giving the best of you, to whatever is in front of you, always. When you identify your best AND give it, again and again, you enter the Excellence Loop. Excellence is not about perfection or comparison. Excellence is a mentality that focuses on you and your choices. When you choose excellence, you either win or you learn; you never lose.

Pillar: Servant Leadership

Key Topics: choice, decisions, choose excellence, excellence loop, motivation, your best, servant leadership, agency, responsibility


No matter how many times you're told that hard work is a good thing and that it pays off in the end, you'll still find yourself fighting against excuses, procrastination, and doubt, which all discourage hard work. When you face these de-motivators, remember: Hard work works.

Pillar: Work Ethic

Key Topics: hard work, work ethic, commitment, consistency, procrastination, excuses, discouragement, motivation, effort, long-term goals, doubt, belief


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