“Be Like Mike”


Mike Tomlin, Steelers head coach

“Unless you have prepared yourself to profit by your chance, the opportunity will only make you look ridiculous. A great occasion is valuable to you just in proportion as you have educated yourself to make use of it.” ~
~ Orison Swett Marden

Thoughts from Coach O:

When I read the above quote today, I thought of Coach Mike Tomlin (“Coach T”, as many of his players call him), head coach of the Super Bowl-bound, Pittsburgh Steelers.

When Mike Tomlin applied for his 1st job in NFL, he had NO NFL experience! He hadn’t even played a down in the NFL!! Nonetheless, when Tony Dungy was hiring staff in 2001, as then head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he decided to take a chance on Tomlin and hired him as an assistant coach..(Read the short article here)

Ten years later, Tomlin is taking the Pittsburgh Steelers to their 2nd Super Bowl in his fours years as their head coach! Simply put, Tomlin took advantage of his chance when he got it…

What can WE learn here? Learn to prepare diligently for your chance! You should be studying your craft, whether it is coaching, accountant, or lawyer. Study every day & be insatiable for knowledge. “Great leaders are life-learners!”

Too many of us sit around complaining that they haven’t gotten the “Tomlin-like” chances and we just sit there, wishing things were different. Many times, what keeps us from taking the “Tomlin-type risk” is fear. Fear that we won’t get a chance because we don’t have the experience for someone to give us a chance. Well, Coach Tomlin didn’t have the experience either, did he? LOOK at him NOW!

Dale Carnegie says. “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

So, what is it that you really want to do & haven’t taken that “Tomlin-type risk?” Are you prepared? Have you been preparing?

If you answered yes, then “be like Mike — Coach Mike” prepare, take the risk, take advantage of your chance & GO FOR YOUR DREAMS!!

Coach Tomlin has really inspired me…how about you?

Hidden Mentors


Coach Kevin Eastman, Boston Celtics


Note from Coach O: We have talked about the importance of mentors before. (see my post on 12/28/09 ) The following is the latest newsletter from Kevin Eastman’s (Boston Celtic’s asst. coach) newsletter that I receive on a regular basis. He is actually one of MY hidden mentors, who has been teaching me from observation. Read, Enjoy, LEARN!!


Hidden Mentors – April 15, 2010

We all hear and read about the importance of mentors, yet many of us may not have anyone to take that role. Others may be too young to know people they feel comfortable asking to be a mentor.  I was once in that situation.

I didn’t let this deter me from learning and improving.  I chose a few people (who may not have even known they were actually teaching me) I knew I could learn from and got mentored by observation.  One of these was George Raveling, now one of the more intelligent and powerful voices in the game of basketball, and currently a leader for Nike Basketball.  To me, at the time, he was one of the most well-read, well-respected, and innovative people I could have ever learned from (he still is by the way, but now I’m lucky enough to call him a friend).

Back then I didn’t know George very well but I knew enough to recognize that I wanted to learn from him and about him.  Not only did I read about him and ask him questions when I was in his company, but also asked many others about how he operated. 

How much can you learn like this? Well, here are some things George taught me:

  • If you say you’re going to do something–do it first class
  • Doing things for others is most important.  In the long run, it will come back to help you even more; (I might add here that George is the most giving individual I have ever met; if you have a chance to meet him, you must!)
  • Be organized, be very detailed.  Top projects need thorough attention; you can’t afford to miss anything – take the time to cover it completely
  • Read, read, and read some more; learning is a lifelong quest
  • Make people feel that they are a valuable part of what you’re doing
  • Take time to talk to people.  It’s amazing how much of an impact two minutes can make.
  • Hire the best if you plan to be the best
  • Be an even better listener than talker
  • Be thoroughly prepared for meetings and presentations
  • If you have to get up at 3 a.m. to do the job the right way and the best way, then get up at 3 a.m.
  • Be on constant lookout for new trends.  Know about them before anyone else and then put sustained thought to how they will affect you and what you’re doing


So, do YOU have a Hidden Mentor? It doesn’t matter what your chosen field is, you need to seek out mentors!

  • Who have you learned from lately?
  • Who have you taken the time to learn about and how they operate?
  • As Kevin Eastman said, you don’t necessarily have to meet the person. Between books, articles, the Internet, and talking to other people; you can learn ALOT from observing!


  1. Find a hidden mentor and make the commitment to learn from him or her.
  2. Write down what you learn in your “success journal”,  and find out ways to implement them in your life.
  3. Share what you’ve learned with someone else & help them learn the importance of finding a mentor too!

YOU will be amazed at how fast you will rise to the next level if you are disciplined about learning!!



To learn more about Kevin Eastman and sign up for his newsletter and blog visit http://kevineastmanbasketball.com