Calm, Cool, Collected (& Humble)


Butler basketball coach Brad Stevens has become the image of being ice cold in college basketball.  Most of the coaches you see don’t stand there with their arms crossed and that in control of their emotions.  Most of them like to be seen and gyrate around like they missed their morning Zoomba class.  Brad admits to modeling himself after Tony Dungy and others. 

In your work, if you need to blow your own horn a lot, then maybe you’re not having quite the impact you should be.  People will notice your good work without needing to point it out.


When you are confident and collected, you also earn the respect of the rule makers (officials in their case) you don’t have to go ballistic to gain their attention.  Sometimes it is natural for some people to be more mellow or subdued.  But Dungy writes in his books that he had quite a temper and decided in college that his temper was a liability for him to succeed.


Before Roger Federer achieved his greatest heights, he too had an amazing temper.  Driven people who become successful are very passionate about winning and perfection.  They dislike losing as much or more than anyone.  But they have learned that composure is critical.  And even more so in tennis.  I can attest that I struggle with staying cool in tennis.




Preparation is also another key to Brad Stevens’ and Tony Dungy’s (and Roger’s) success and why they are models of composure.  They have a strong faith that their teams will perform as they have prepared.  They believe that they must effectively teach during the week or in practice and not have to do so much guiding during the game.  If your non-profit or ministry is looking to do something new, do your research and homework.  Practice.  But don’t be afraid to get in the game.


In Haiti last summer I was asked to paint a new building for an orphanage with a dad (Jeff) and his daughter from Indiana.  We spent the next 3 hours getting entirely covered in paint (head to toe).  We were painting the ceilings, as well as, the walls.

Jeff and I talked for hours about how we got connected to the ministry, that his wife and daughter play tennis like me, my sons academic pursuits.  He told me that he was “involved” with a thing called EdgeMentoring where solid corporate men mentor other younger new businessmen.

What he didn’t ever tell me is that he leads a $2 billion business!  He is CEO of Elanco.  In Dungy’s third book Uncommon he has a whole chapter on humility.

Clothe yourself with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.


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