“Be Like THIS Mike too”

Michael "Mike" Vick, QB Philadelphia Eagles

Many a man has finally succeeded only because

he has failed after repeated efforts.

If he had never met defeat

he would never have known any great victory.

~ Orison Swett Marden

Thoughts from Coach O:

First of all; YES… I am on a Orison Swett Marden flow these last few days. The man was a great thinker. Check out more of his quotes here.

When I saw this Marden quote, I thought of Michael (Mike) Vick. He’s made an amazing comeback in his career & life! What a incredible journey the last three years of his life have been!! Yet, last week he was named to the NFL Pro Bowl and has been named one of the “Top Ten Comeback Stories of 2010” by Time Magazine! There is also another article in Time called, “From Prison to the Pro Bowl, the meaning of Mike Vick.” (click here to read)

What can WE learn from the Mike Vick story?

  1. Surround yourself with great people: several of the men that were involved in the Vick dog fighting scandal, were long-time friends from his past. When he moved to the next level (the NFL), he chose to bring them with him. Who you allow close to you affects your decisions & destiny. As Oprah Winfrey says, “Surround yourself with people that will lift you up.” When you are surrounded (inner circle) by people that “lift you up”, they influence you to stay on the “success grind” — because everyone around you desires to be GREAT!
  2. Find a mentor: What is interesting in the Vick case, the mentor found him! Former NFL head coach, Tong Dungy, went to visit Mike in prison (April ’09) and became his mentor. He became the missing accountability factor so needed in Vick’s life!  Once you allow someone to mentor you, you give them permission to “speak into your life.” There are not too many mentors better than Tony Dungy!
  3. Believe in yourself: I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be Vick and experience all the negative things said about him —  from the Atlanta Falcons to animal rights groups. That constant onslaught of negativity would have thrown most people way off course. But Vick believed in himself! He showed an uncanny determination to overcome adversity (failure & defeat) and now experiences “great victory”. Sugar Ray Robinson is quoted, “To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will.”

Now I know there are some that may never forgive his crimes, but that is not what I am addressing today… I am recognizing his ability to overcome this incredible adversity and get back on the road to success. I daresay, many would not have been so committed to do the things necessary to change… It will be a process for Vick, but I believe he has the right “tools” in his life to make it all the way back! I pray he has the strength & focus to stay on the “path.” Congratulations, Mike, for what you have accomplished so far!!

I end with a quote from MY mentor, Dr. AR Bernard, “Change is not an event; it is a process.”

“Be Like THIS Mike too & overcome the adversity in YOUR life!”

New Series: “14 Quotes”: Adversity

14 Quotes: Adversity

Note from Coach O: We all deal with adversity in our lives. It makes us frustrated because we would really like things to always go well, don’t we? However, like my most recent favorite quote says, “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere” (Frank A. Clark)

In my life, I have discovered that if I learn from adversity FROM adversity, instead of complaining ABOUT it; I always learn some valuable lessons and it actually makes me stronger! Here’s what I mean:

When I overcome a situation like; an unexpected roadblock in a plan (I call them “speed bumps”), it gives me a feeling of confidence. It motivates me to KEEP GOING!

Inspirational quotes are also a great source of motivation for me & I so each week I will chose a topic and share “14 quotes” with you for the week on that topic. That’s two quotes a day, to inspire you! If you have a topic that you would like me to cover, please email me at coach@coachotis.org!

Let’s grow TOGETHER, shall we?


“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~M. Kathleen Casey

“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.” ~Author Unknown

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.” ~Author Unknown

“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.” ~Harry Golden

“You can’t run away from trouble. There ain’t no place that far.” ~Uncle Remus

“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” ~Jewish Proverb

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” ~Oprah Winfrey

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” ~Kenji Miyazawa

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” ~Walt Disney

“Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records.” ~ William A. Ward

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” ~John Burroughs

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” ~ John Quincy Adams

“A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” ~ Unknown

“Adversity & tests can shape us. They can give us value, self-esteem that is priceless. Everything I have accomplished came from hard times.” ~ Unknown

March Madness Inspires Me

It never ceases to amaze me that besides all of the great basketball  drama; BUSTED brackets (especially this year on the men’s side), and upsets galore — there are always incredible stories of coaches and players that overcame adversity in their lives. These stories include tragedy, sickness, disappointments, and setbacks; but, the common thread is that through it all, these teams or individuals persevered!!   

Let’s take a closer look at this year’s tournament: 

  • University of Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball: In January, 2010: 4 Tennessee men’s basketball players were arrested during a

    Bruce Pearl, Tennessee head basketball coach

    traffic stop for speeding near Tennessee’s campus. They were later charged with numerous misdeamor counts including possession of marijuana and illegal possession of a firearm. Head coach, Bruce Pearl, suspends these players (sending a strong message) and plays several weeks with 7 only players!! At the time, the “Vols” were 10-2 and ranked 14th in the country. In spite of this adversity, Coach Pearl continues coaching, motivating, utilizing the team he HAS in front of him and they end up reaching the Elite 8 and losing to Michigan State in a one point thriller, 70-69.


  •   Coach Frank Martin, now head coach of Kansas State’s men’s basketball team, was a newly hired assistant coach under Bob Huggins, at Kansas State, in March of 2006. While on the recruiting trail Frank Martin began to feel sick and he took some Advil, drank some water 

Frank Martin

and thought he could “sweat it out.” Before long, his temperature rose and he was shaking uncontrollably. Another assistant coach checked on him in his hotel room, saw his condition and Martin was rushed to the hospital, where his temperature soon rose to 105. Frank Martin was told he had pancreatic cancer, which has a survival rate of 4%. Devastated, he called his wife who had returned to their home in Cincinnati, of the news. Later the doctors returned with a prognosis of pancreatitis, and not cancer and that he would be ok. Pancreatitis has two high triggers of alcohol and high-fat foods and so through discipline and determination he has it under control. This year as head coach of Kansas State’s men’s basketball, he led them to the winningest season in Kansas State basketball history (29-3) and a birth in the Elite 8!!

  • Finally, Tiffanie Shives, a 5-10, junior guard for Gonzaga University, was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 10 years old. Tiffanie overcomes adversity on a daily basis with the need to constantly check her blood sugar, take medication, monitor her diet; IN ADDITION

    Tiffanie Shives, Gonzaga point guard

    to being an outstanding student/athlete on one the most improved women’s basketball programs in the country! On top of the diabetic condition, Tiffanie also overcame a season-ending knee injury that caused her to sit out the ‘Zags, 1st win in the NCAA’s last year. Talk about overcoming adversity!!


These are just a few of the many incredible stories from this year’s tournament alone. I have been collecting stories like this for several years because they have inspired me! When I hear of these stories — it always reminds me of my favorite quote, Adversity causes some men to break; and others to BREAK records” – William A Ward.  How do you respond to adversity? Do you hide in a closet and lament “woe is me?” or “WHY me?” Or do you, like Bruce Pearl, Frank Martin, Tiffanie Shives, use that adversity to motivate you to persevere and WIN??!!! These people show me what’s important:  

It’s not about what happens to you; but what you DO about what happens to you” – AR Bernard  

“March Madness Inspires Me” — to overcome “Life’s Challenges” 

Persist Until You Succeed

Coach Bob Starkey, LSU Associate Head women's basketball coach


The following is from Coach Bob Starkey’s blog: http://hoopthoughts.blogspot.com. He shared Brian Tracy’s thoughts on discipline and persistence and I share them with YOU! I have already mentioned how great Coach Starkey’s blog is (more info on ALL his blogs below)…so read and apply to your life:

Many thanks to Coach Starkey!

 A wonderful writing from Brian Tracy that is a great read for coaches, players and everyone else in all other walks of life:

The most important single quality of success is self-discipline. Self-discipline is having the ability within yourself, based on your strength of character and willpower, to do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution after the enthusiasm with which the resolution was made has passed.

Persistence is Self-Discipline in Action
Perhaps the greatest display of self-discipline is persisting when the going gets tough. Persistence is self-discipline in action. Persistence is the great measure of individual human character. Your persistence is, in fact, the true measure of your belief in yourself and your ability to succeed. Each time that you persist in the face of adversity and disappointment, you build the habit of persistence. You build pride, power, and self-esteem in your character and your personality. You become stronger and more resolute. By persisting, you become more self-disciplined. You develop within yourself the iron quality of success, the one quality that will carry you forward and over any obstacle that life can throw in your path.

Get Going and Keep Going
Orison Swett Marden wrote in his book, “There are two essential requirements for success. The first is ‘go-at-it-iveness’ and the second is ‘stick-to-it-iveness'” Referring to the quality of persistence he wrote, “There is no failure for the man who realizes his power, who never knows when he is beaten; there is no failure for the determined endeavor, the conquerable will. There is no failure for the man who gets up every time he falls, who rebounds like a rubber ball, who persists when everyone else gives up, who pushes on when everyone else turns back.”

Persistence is Your Greatest Asset
Perhaps your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay at a task longer than anyone else. B.C. Forbes, who founded Forbes magazine and built it into a major publication during the darkest days of the Depression, wrote, “History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeat.”

Adversity is What Tests Us
Throughout history, great thinkers have reflected on this paradox and have concluded that adversity is the test that you must pass on the path to accomplishing anything worthwhile. Herodotus, the Greek philosopher, said, “Adversity has the effect of drawing out strength and qualities of a man that would have lain dormant in its absence.” The very best qualities of strength, courage, character, and persistence are brought out in you when you face your greatest challenges and when you respond to them positively and constructively.

For more from Brian Tracy visit:



Visit Coach Starkey’s blog: http://hoopthoughts.blogspot.com
Visit his blog for all players: http://hoopboost.blogspot.com
Visit the LSU women’s basketball team blog: http://lsuladytigerway.blogspot.com
Follow Coach Starkey on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LSUCoachStarkey

Mistakes Are Life’s Teacher


Jennifer Capriati: fought back from mistakes & adversity to win Australian Open in 2002

Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life,

don’t look back at it too long.

Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you.

Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals.

No one wins them all,

and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth.

Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure?

Never quit. Your turn will come.

— Og Mandino