Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Story About Being Forced Out Of Your Comfort Zone


A philosopher and his disciple were strolling through the forest discussing the importance of unexpected encounters. According to the philosopher, everything around us provides us with an opportunity to learn or to teach. At that moment, they passed the gate of a small farm which, although well situated, appeared to be extremely run down.

‘Just look at this place,’ said the disciple. ‘You’re quite right. What I learn from this is that many people live in Paradise, but are not even aware that they do and continue to live in the most miserable conditions.’

‘I said learn and teach,’ retorted the philosopher. ‘It is never enough simply to notice what is going on, you must also find out the causes because we can only understand the world when we understand the causes.’ They knocked on the door and were received by the inhabitants: a couple and their three children, all dressed in ragged, dirty clothes.

‘You live in the middle of the forest with no shops anywhere around,’ said the philosopher to the father of the family. ‘How do you survive here?’ The man very calmly replied:
My friend, we have a cow who gives us several gallons of milk every day. Some of this we sell or exchange in the neighboring town for other food, and with the remainder, we make cheese, yogurt, and butter for ourselves. And that is how we survive.’

The philosopher thanked him for this information, looked at the place for a few moments, and then left. As they walked away, he said to his disciple: ‘Take the cow, lead it to that precipice and push it over.’‘But the cow is the family’s only means of support.’

The philosopher said nothing. Having no alternative, the young man did as he was told, and the cow fell to its death.

The scene remained engraved on his memory. Many years later, when he himself was a successful businessman, he resolved to return to that place, to tell the family everything, to ask their forgiveness, and to help them financially. Imagine his surprise when he found the place transformed into a beautiful farm with flowering trees, a car in the garage, and children playing in the garden. He was gripped by despair, thinking that the humble family must have been forced to sell the farm in order to survive. He hurried on and was greeted by a friendly servant. 

‘What happened to the family who used to live here ten years ago?’ he asked. ‘They still own the place,’ came the reply.

Astonished, he ran into the house, and the owner recognized him. He asked about the philosopher, but the young man was too anxious to find out how the man had managed to improve the farm and to raise his standard of living so dramatically.‘Well, we used to have a cow, but it fell over the precipice and died,’ said the man. ‘Then, in order to support my family, I had to plant herbs and vegetables. The plants took a while to grow, and so I started cutting down trees to sell the wood. 

Then, of course, I had to buy saplings to replace the trees. When I was buying the saplings, I thought about my children’s clothes, and it occurred to me that I could perhaps try growing my own cotton. I had a difficult first year, but by the time harvest came around, I was already selling vegetables, cotton, and aromatic herbs. I had never realized how much potential the farm had. It was a bit of luck really that cow dying!’

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Throwback to April 2016

Takeaways from How To Win Friends and Influence People

Leaders can learn so much from the past! Here is some of what leaders read about in the April 2016 issue of The Coaching and Leadership Journal.

  • Takeaways from How to Win Friends and Influence People 
  • Leadership lessons of golf
  • Inspirational stories about great leadership
  • Paying coaches not to work
  • Chris Mack’s interview
  • How champions think
  • The secret of effective motivation
  • Ways toxic people poison even the best programs
  • Kobe’s beef
  • Motivation must go beyond words
  • Notes from a SEAL
  • Bo-time—The Late Bo Schembechler on team meetings
  • Success can become a problem
  • Lessons from the wizard
  • And more! 
Buy this issue ($15)

Download a Sample Issue

More Information on The Coaching and Leadership Journal

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Lessons From A Terrific Book--The Alchemist

 The Alchemist is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho first published in 1988. Originally written in Portuguese, it has been translated into at least 67 languages as of October 2009. An allegorical novel, The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago in his journey to Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there. The book is an international bestseller. It has sold more than 65 million copies in 56 different languages, becoming one of the best-selling books in history and setting the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author. It is recommended by Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Bill Clinton, Oprah, and many others.

  • Empower yourself to dream.  Above all else, The Alchemist is about the power and importance of following your dreams. Before you can follow a dream, however, you have to actually have a dream. And to have a dream, you must want or desire something – whether it be an object, a place, a person, or something else – that you do not currently have. And to desire something outside of your current realm, you must have learned of it somehow. Maybe you saw it before. Maybe you read it in a book. Maybe someone told you about it. Maybe this, maybe that. The point is: you learned. And learning new things is essential for dreaming. By learning you empower the dreamer within you. Then, once you’ve learned, and once you’ve fixated on a particular thing, you can want it and dream about; and you should allow yourself to do exactly that. Do not be afraid to dream, do not be afraid to think big, and do not be afraid to believe that your dream and your big thoughts can come true.
  • Do not be afraid to fail.  For those who have not yet read The Alchemist, I will not spoil the ending and tell you whether Santiago finds his treasure or not, but I will tell you that one of the lessons I learned is that it ultimately did not matter. I will tell you that he goes after for it, and he does so with all of his heart and might. That’s what matters. The path to achieving a dream is paved with lessons and memories that will stick with you and shape you for the better, no matter what the final outcome is. Because of this, there is no reason to be afraid of “failure”. The only true failure is failing to go after your dream at all.
  • Relationships should never hinder the passionate pursuance of a dream. This is applicable for a boyfriend/girlfriend, a spouse, a family member, a friend, or any other person with whom you have a relationship. Anyone who would get in the way of you passionately pursuing a dream does not have your best interests at heart or their own. Such a person is, in fact, harming the "Soul of the World" by standing in the way of a person whose actions would serve to nourish it. True love will still be there, on both sides, once the journey towards a dream has ended and the dreamer has returned. Giving up a dream because of a contingency placed by a relationship may work out in the short-term but will become progressively negative over time.

  • A dream worth chasing most likely involves something you are naturally good at doing. A terrific passage in The Alchemist is: “Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested. It is an oft-repeated theme in the book. The lesson here is quite simple: when you embark upon the journey towards your dream, you will experience good fortune at the beginning. The specific reason for this cited most often in the book is the notion that the universe conspires to help those who go after their dreams. Look at it from another angle. We all have natural skills, natural talents, and things that we naturally enjoy doing and naturally do well. There must be a reason for this, and the reason is that these natural abilities are all part of our Personal Legends. So as much as that “beginner’s luck” maybe the universe conspiring to help us, it also is partly the manifestation of our true dream through the natural talent we possess that, when developed and harnessed, can lead us there. So we all should pay attention to what we are good at and enjoy it naturally. It is, most likely, a clear path towards what we are naturally passionate about.
  • --Adapted from by Jerod Morris

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Elderly Advice---Go For Your Dreams


A recurring theme from elderly people in their last years of life was to follow your dreams. Studies have shown that older people who tried to achieve their dreams were happier with their lives.

None of us will ever achieve all of our dreams. If we do, we will just make up new ones! If we go for it, we can at least say at the end, "I tried!" instead of, "Why didn't I at least try?"

 --Adapted from

A Season In Words:
A Coach's Guide To Motivation From The Preseason To The Postseason ©

​Contains Over 2000 Quotes For Coaches Of All Sports
by Dan Spainhour

Product Details
Paperback; 154 pages
ISBN: 978-1461187592
Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.3 inches

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A Culture Of Maximum Effort

I got a call from a coach from a neighboring county who wanted to visit to discuss how I got my players to play so hard. I had never met the coach but he had watched our team play and had heard from other coaches how hard our teams played. 

According to him, I have a reputation for getting young people to play harder than a lot of other teams. I’m not completely sure it’s justified because there are several times during every season when I don’t think my team is giving everything they have. But I agreed to meet with the coach. He came in with a list of prepared questions such as are there any specific drills that we do, do we punish our team more than others or how many sprints do we make our players run. He was searching for the one thing that would make his players work harder.

Throughout the conversation, I explained that I didn’t think there was any one thing we did. I believe that young people have to see themselves as being part of something bigger than themselves. A part of a community and the culture of that community should be maximum effort in all things. The atmosphere that we continually try to create is one of not “making” players do something but having them do something because they want to. 

We try to create this culture of maximum effort in all things, not just specific drills. Simply using the words, “maximum effort” signals to a player that we are not pleased with the effort being produced. We also continually point out when the effort is unacceptable and not up to our program’s standards. When our players hear “maximum effort” or “that is unacceptable” then they know their effort is not up to par.

It’s important that this culture extends beyond the court or playing field and into the classroom and at home. We hope that before long maximum effort will become a way of life and not just something that takes place in a certain drill. I don’t know if I answered the coach’s questions but I hope he felt the visit was worth his time.
--Dan Spainhour

Coach Yourself: A Motivational Guide For Coaches And Leaders

About This Book

Coach Yourself is a unique book, compiled exclusively for coaches to provide you with physical, mental and spiritual motivation throughout the season. In his follow-up to A Season In Words, veteran coach Dan Spainhour arms you with quotes and motivational ideas to help you achieve peace of mind throughout the season from how to stay motivated to handling critics.


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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A Story About Judging Others

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside.

“That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry, the young woman made the same comments.

A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?”

The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look. So don’t be too quick to judge others.

Leading Narratives: 
The perfect collection of stories, jokes, and wits of wisdom for leaders

By Dan Spainhour

6 x 9; 124 pages

The book is available from our website & any place books are sold.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Look to the Present


The great Western Disease of "I will be happy when …" is sweeping the world. You know the symptoms. You start thinking: I will be happy when I get that … that promotion … that status … that money ...that win. The only way to cure the disease is to find happiness and meaning now.

When older folks who were in their last years of life were asked what advice they would give to younger people there was a theme that was present over and over--find meaning and be happy now! You may work for a wonderful company and believe that your contribution is very important. But when you are 95 and you look around your death bed, very few of your fellow employees will be waving goodbye! Your friends and family will probably be the only people who care.  Don't get so lost in pleasing the people who don't care that you neglect the people who do.

--Adapted from

Coach Yourself: A Motivational Guide For Coaches And Leaders
by Dan Spainhour
Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780615172798
Pages: 178
Dimensions: 11 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches

About This Book

Coach Yourself is a unique book, compiled exclusively for coaches to provide you with physical, mental and spiritual motivation throughout the season. In his follow-up to A Season In Words, veteran coach Dan Spainhour arms you with quotes and motivational ideas to help you achieve peace of mind throughout the season from how to stay motivated to handling critics.