I offered my hand and said, “I’m so honored to meet you.” Lou Holtz, with an easy smile, looked at me with sparkling eyes and said, “I don’t know who you are, but I thank you so much.”
I was in the presence of a genuine, quality human.
The following morning, the gentle guru was the conference keynote speaker. His endless football coach accolades and his numerous books are worth a Google search, but he impressed me most with his wisdom, humor, attitude, and humility.
His quotes were both entertaining, and wise:
“I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth because I was born in this great country.”
“I didn’t coach football, I coached life.”
“My players didn’t like me. My obligation was to my wife and family. If they found me murdered, they would never find the murderer because there would be so many suspects.”
“Speak soft, don’t yell.”
“Attack the performance, not the performer.”
“I don’t discipline, I enforce. Choices have consequences.” (If the rules are clear)
“If you’re not growing you are dying.”
“If you want to do something bad enough you will find a way…(solution) If you don’t really want to do something you can find excuses.“
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
“You’re never going to achieve greatness without sacrifice.”
“If you’re on the bottom, you have two choices….stay down or get up.”
“No one has ever drowned in sweat.”
“If you’re bored with life — you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things — you don’t have enough goals.”
His message included three rules for success:
Do what is right. “There is never a wrong time to do the right thing and never a right time to do the wrong thing.”
Do everything to the best of your ability. We have obligations and responsibilities, not rights and privileges. Focus on why we can do something instead of why we can’t.
Show people you care. His wife is very ill, and after the family joined forces in her support, her eyes filled with tears, and she said. “I didn’t know you all cared.” Lou said, “We always loved her, but we didn’t show her.” Trust, commitment, and love are how you show you care.
He closed with, “We only need these three rules…we don’t need a fourth rule.”
If I could share dinner with any person of my choice, one who has a philosophy I support and admire, it would be Lou Holtz.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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