Thought Of The Week – W. I. N.

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Thought Of The Week

Thought Of The Week

A few years ago Ross and I were able to travel to International Convention and Lou was one of the speakers.  I enjoyed his humour and insight that was so simple to apply in every day life.  ENJOY the read and the Thought of the Week.

W.I.N. is a simple but powerful acronym that comes from the famous Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. It stands for ‘What’s Important Now?’  

Lou Holtz is considered one of the best college football coaches in history, working with teams at The College of William and  Mary, North Carolina State, University of Arkansas,  University of Minnesota, University of South Carolina, and, most notably, Notre Dame, where he led the team to nine post-season bowl games and a national championship over his 11 seasons there. For a brief stint, he was also the head coach of the New York Jets. Currently an ESPN analyst, author, and motivational speaker, Holtz’s latest book, the best-selling “Wins, Losses, and Lessons,” tells the story of his life and faith, and how the success and struggles he’s had both on the field and in his personal life have made him the person he is today.

Holtz instructed his players to ask themselves this question 35 times a day. He wanted them to think about it when they awakened, while they were in class, study hall, the weight room, the practice field, standing on the sidelines during a game and while on the playing field at a game. Holtz wanted his players to be able to learn to focus on what mattered most at any given time.

Head Football Coach Lou Holtz


Wise Words From Lou

Wise Words From Lou

His Philosophy

  • Setting Goals: “I’ve always felt it was extremely important to set goals for yourself. After the 1967 season, our entire staff was fired at South Carolina where I was an assistant. My wife bought me a book entitled The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. So I sat down and made a list of all the things I still wanted to accomplish in life, and there were 107 of them. Some of them involved traveling, some of them were a little crazy, some I’ll never reach – I don’t know if I’m ever going to learn a foreign language. I’m not going to be a scratch golfer. Some of them have happened, like appearing on The Tonight Show and being invited for dinner at the White House. But my life changed after I made that list. I think I’ve accomplished 95 of them. My wife disagreed about the list, though. She thought I should have added something about getting a job. I’ve been amazed at how many people have wanted to talk about my list over the years. I can’t believe more people don’t have a similar list of goals. Some of them are personal things-like ones pertaining to being a father or those of a financial nature. They’re just something to shoot for-to experience. That’s why I say to our athletes and my children – be a participant, don’t be a spectator. Do things. Just decide what you want to do and then ask the question, ‘What’s important now?’ Now what do I have to do to accomplish such and such? And that will tell you the action you have to take. It’s not a wish list, it’s a set of things I wanted to accomplish and it really hasn’t changed that much.”


  • Caring: “I don’t know how you can be involved in anything and not care. I hate to be around people who don’t care and when they don’t care, they don’t try to do things the right way. The greatest thing in the world is to be around people who genuinely care about what you are doing – there’s enthusiasm and positiveness. I don’t care it it’s important to anybody else, as long as it’s important to those who are involved in it.”


  • Being a Self-Starter: “You have to be a self-starter in today’s world. Motivation is nothing more than having a sense of purpose of what you want to do. When you are at a place like Notre Dame, with a great tradition, you don’t come here to enjoy the tradition. Your obligation is to the coaches and the players to add on to that tradition. The standard at Notre Dame has been set. It’s our obligation to maintain that standard in all areas -not just on the field, but off the field as well. If you have a sense of purpose, it’s easy to be motivated. I think if you have a strong religious belief, it’s easy to move in the right direction.”


  • On Criticism: “The only people who aren’t going to be criticized are those who do absolutely nothing. And the critics, the people who just observe, are never on the inside, never really had to make decisions that affect people’s lives. It’s easy for people on the outside to stand back and constantly second guess. I welcome all the suggestions in the world from people who have been involved in doing something … but somebody who has never done anything except observe and criticize, I don’t weigh that at all. I think when you get near the end of your life, you don’t regret what you’ve done … and I don’t regret anything I’ve done. The things I regret are the things I didn’t do. Maybe I didn’t spend as much time with my family or wasn’t as patient with coaches and players as I’d like to. But the higher up you go and the more things you try to accomplish, the more people try to find fault. There are so many things in life that are not fair. You work all your life to do something and people try to tear you down. You can’t control it or do anything about it. When you look at the options of dealing with criticism, there’s really only one option – to pray to God that you have the courage and the strength that you won’t become bitter and move on with your life.”


  • Building Success: “Notre Dame presently has more players in the NFL than any other college. I believe that is not by accident, nor do I believe it is predominantly because of talent. The combination of hard work, discipline, fundamentals, intelligence and character must be the cornerstone of any organization. When these ingredients are in abundance, people will succeed.”


  • Motivation: “I was never a great athlete as a kid. I wasn’t very big to start with. I played on some teams that got beat pretty badly, where the other team was frolicking on the other side. It wasn’t fun. The pain of losing goes away. The pain of embarrassment lasts longer. Those kind of things happen, and they give you that fervent desire to excel at everything you do. If you don’t want to do something at maximum ability, you’re in the wrong society.”


  • Principles: “We have instant coffee, instant tea and instant restaurants. Everybody looks for a quick fix. There isn’t any. You build it day by day. You don’t panic. You don’t overreact. You don’t change your principles. If you preach the same thing over a period of time, and it doesn’t change, one of two things is going to happen. They are going to believe in you or they are going to leave.”

One of your favorite quotes is “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity. “What would you tell someone who says he’s never had any opportunities and uses that as an excuse for his poor station in life?

I think that we have opportunities all around us–sometimes we just don’t recognize them. That was never more obvious to me when I accepted a job as head coach with the New York Jets, which was maybe one of the best jobs in America. But because of the attitude that I approached it with, I didn’t see the great opportunities that I had. All you see are problems and difficulties and obstacles. We get discouraged far too easily.

You aren’t going to find anybody that’s going to be successful without making a sacrifice and without perseverance. Things don’t always work out easily, but those are the things that are the most gratifying once you achieve them.