Heart of A Leader: Handling Success & Failure


Don Shula, Hall of Fame football coach

Note from Coach O: More nuggets from Ken Blanchard’s book, “The Heart of A Leader”. Great stuff on handling success and failure. Enjoy!

“Success is not forever and failure isn’t fatal” ~ Ken Blanchard & Don Shula, from “Everyone’s A Coach”

This was Don Shula’s favorite quote when he was head coach of the Miami Dolphins. It drove a great deal of his behavior during his long and distinguished career as the “winningest” coach in the history of the NFL.

Don had a 24 hour rule. He allowed himself, his coaches and his players a maximum of 24 hours after a football game to celebrate a victory or bemoan a defeat. During that time they were encouraged to enjoy the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat as deeply as possible. Once the 24 hour deadline had passed, they put it behind them and focused their energies on preparing for the next opponent. This is a principle well worth noting.

Don’t get a big head when you win or get too down in the dumps when you lose. Keep things in perspective. Success is not forever and failure isn’t fatal.

Coach O’s “3 Pointers” | Three things for us to consider:

1. Have you been a “big headed winner” or “down in the dumpster” loser? Think of 3 ways you can handle the highs and lows better.

2. Leaders/Coaches: Do you have a “24 hour rule” (love this concept) for your team? If not, you should consider implementing one, no?

3. What principle(s) can you proactively teach your team to prepare them for the inevitable successes and failures on and off the court?

Think on these things….and get to work!


I’m your partner in the pursuit of perfection!

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