COACHING FOR SUCCESS: Strong leaders in--and on-all fields develop winning cultures built on a shared vision and purpose.

Author:Roshong, Mitchell

PAUL "BEAR" BRYANT was a celebrated American football coach at the University of Alabama for 25 years. At the time of his tenure, he set a then-record in college football for wins and national championships: 323 victories, 15 conference championships, and six national titles, and he was named the College Football Coach of the Year three times. When Bear Bryant died, it was discovered that at all times he carried around a quotation from Texan motivational speaker and accountant Heartsill Wilson with him in his wallet.

It read:

This is the beginning of a new day. I have been given this day to use as I will. I can waste it--or use it for good, but what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss; good, not evil; success, not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.

Former players have stated that Coach Bryant would read this accountant's words to his teams as a reminder to focus on strength and opportunity as opposed to weakness and the past.

I played college football for a motivational coach and leader who replicated Coach Bryant's mantra. Every night at our team meetings during summer camp, our head coach would address the team by reciting another line of the quotation. Our coach would explain what those specific words meant to him and invite others to share their interpretations of each piece of the text. By the end of camp, the whole team had the quote memorized. The vision of the team was set.


Bear Bryant also carried a second slip of paper in his wallet. The scenario on this paper invites the reader to imagine having won a prize--every morning, the reader automatically has $86,400 deposited into a bank account. The following rules would apply:

  1. The money can't be transferred into any other account. The reader is only allowed to spend the money.

  2. Anything left in that bank account at the end of the day is removed; the next day begins with a new deposit.

  3. The prize distributions could be taken away at any time.

I'm sure you're already thinking of all the things you could buy with $86,400 a day. Knowing you'd get more money tomorrow, you may already be considering all the ways you'd take care of family and loved ones. But what if this is your reality now, if the only difference is that the $86,400 per day is actually time...

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