There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.

Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

Simon Sinek, Start With Why


Driving back from picking up a piece of equipment, heavily caffeinated, I started reciting the talk I would give when I arrived back at the school. It was honest, off the cuff, from the heart, and flowed like a great talk should. It was in the moment. And it started getting louder. My voice was raising. The words were flowing better than before. Ideas coming together and connecting in ways I wouldn’t have been able to do if I was writing it. And everything came back to WHY.

Every morning (90 percent of the time) the alarm goes off and I’m ready to attack the day. Maybe it’s knowing how great coffee tastes and makes me feel. Or maybe its how refreshed I feel after downing 30-40 ounces of water. It could be brushing my tongue and teeth and waking up with a shower. But I think they are contributors, not the cause.

Attacking the day happens because of my WHY. Driving back I felt like I had one of those “a ha” moments. You know the ones where an epiphany occurs. Where hours and hours of work, reading, effort, and sweat culminate into a visionary experience. I clearly saw my WHY more than ever before. I put it into words and saw it in my mind’s eye. It’s not always that clear.

My WHY is to be better than yesterday. To grow, to learn and do something new today, to fail forward, to exhibit courage in the face of fear, obstacles, and challenges AND to use everything I learn to help those I serve.

Strange thing happened after articulating this statement out loud. My goals became much more clear. I felt the shift in my body. It was an amazing feeling, almost miracle like. But this wasn’t the only thing that thrust me into a passionate frenzy filled with emotion. There was something else.

Average. Mediocre. Those two words are the equivalent to immediate death. I’ve told the my athletes the following:

My biggest fear is being average; mediocre. I’d rather die than be average or mediocre. It’s the worst thing I can think of being. Nothing in this world will crush me more than being mediocre. And that is one of the biggest driving forces in my life. Everything I do is meant to be of the highest order; excellence in nature. You see, it’s the process and the approach, not the result I’m concerned with. Average people think about the result, the challenge, and the obstacle. They see what they want (result) and fantasize over it. But when the challenges and obstacles come they cower. They run. They make excuses. Excellent people revel in the process and approach to getting to where they want to go. They see every fear, obstacle, challenge, and failure as an opportunity to grow. They learn to love being uncomfortable. I’ll never be average. I’ll die before that ever seeps into my existence. 

I never did give the talk today. Nobody showed up. It was a funny joke by the Universe. Trying to get me riled up. I laughed. “I had this perfect talk ready to go and no one showed up” was what I could have said. But I didn’t. I was tired anyways. And some things needed refining too.

Everything that happens in life can utilized in a positive way, eventually. It’s really all in how you approach each situation.

So what is your WHY? Why do you get up in the morning?



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